OIT Networking & Monitoring Services

Host Database: Unsubscribing from Dormnet Now Clears Fields

OIT Network Systems
April 2 2008

The Host Database has been enhanced to change what happens when you "Unsubscribe from Dormnet".

Previously, when you specified that a Host Database should be "Unsubscribed from Dormnet", although the ENTRY-TYPE was changed to append "-INACTIVE", most other information in that Host Database entry remained in the entry. In particular, the hardware address(es), IP address(es), system-type, operating system, alias (if any), and OIT netgroups remained in the entry. This was to make it easier for you to resubscribe the same device to Dormnet in the future.

Starting April 2 2008, the Unsubscribe from Dormnet form clears all those fields, returning the Dormnet Host Database entry to a "pristine" condition.

On that day, OIT also automatically cleared those fields in all currently-unsubscribed Dormnet entries. We did not send email to the owners of those Host Database entries when we changed the entries on that day, because clearing those fields had no effect on their network service. (The devices were unsubscribed at the time, so were receiving no service; sending email to these customers about the database change would likely only confuse the customers.)

At the same time, we have eliminated the Clear Dormnet Hardware Addresses form that customers previously used if they wished to remove the hardware addresses from a currently-unsubscribed Dormnet entry. As we now clear hardware addresses automatically when the entry is unsubscribed, there is no longer any need for this form.


The old behavior made sense when Dormnet subscriptions needed to be unsubscribed at the end of each Dormnet billing period to ensure customers were not billed for service they did not want. As customers were expected to resubscribe each billing period, leaving the information in the unsubscribed entry reduced the amount of information the customer needed to re-enter when resubscribing.

With the elimination of billing for Dormnet subscriptions in September 2007, the need to unsubscribe (and thus to later resubscribe) is far less. This eliminates a major justification for the old behavior.

Clearing these fields -- particularly the IP address(es) -- now allows OIT to reclaim OIT Static IP Addresses that are not being used. This helps the University preserve a supply of IP addresses.

Clearing these fields also makes it easier for customers who wish to re-register a formerly-subscribed device in a different Host Database entry. After unsubscribing, they no longer must use a Clear Dormnet Hardware Addresses form before re-registered the hardware addresses in a different entry. This saves the customer one step.

Under the old scheme, when a new Dormnet entry was created in the Host Database, an OIT Static IP address was assigned to its Ethernet interface. It remained assigned to this Host Database entry for the life of the entry, regardless of whether the entry was subscribed or unsubscribed. (If later the customer subscribed the entry and specified the device had a wireless interface, another IP address was added to the entry for the wireless interface.) Under the new scheme, when a new Dormnet entry is created in the Host Database, no IP address is assigned to the entry. If the customer later subscribes the entry, appropriate IP address(es) will be assigned to the entry as needed. Those IP address(es) are removed if the Host Database entry is ever unsubscribed.

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The Office of Information Technology,
Princeton University