I have always been a big fan of the Olympics, as I was growing up it was a huge family event, another occasion to get together, eat, shout, and laugh. In the US, to keep up with the medals you have to rely on NBC, as they are the official broadcaster for TV and Web.

This weekend I was going over previous examples of bad DNS configuration in preparation for the “Operation Tales” presentation for the June 5th Web Perf Meetup in SF. During the research I came across an example from November 2009 with www.nbcolympics.com. At the time I reached out to the NBC team to notify them of the bad configuration and figured out it would have been resolved. I checked the DNS configuration again and to my surprise and huge disappointment the problem was still there. We are only a few days away from the start of the games, yet a 3-year-old DNS misconfiguration is still there!

For the www.nbcolympics.com, 2 out of the 8 authoritative NS servers are either not working properly or should not be there

nbcolympics.com. 172800 IN NS pdns3.ultradns.org.
nbcolympics.com. 172800 IN NS pdns4.ultradns.org.
nbcolympics.com. 172800 IN NS pdns1.ultradns.net.
nbcolympics.com. 172800 IN NS pdns2.ultradns.net.
nbcolympics.com. 172800 IN NS pdns5.ultradns.info.
nbcolympics.com. 172800 IN NS pdns6.ultradns.co.uk.
nbcolympics.com. 172800 IN NS ns1.netbcp.com.
nbcolympics.com. 172800 IN NS ns2.netbcp.net.

Output of a Dig request to ns1.netbcp.com:

; ;>; DiG 9.7.3-P3 ;>; +norec +trace @205.173.93.213 www.nbcolympics.com
; (1 server found)
;; global options: +cmd
;; Received 17 bytes from 205.173.93.213#53(205.173.93.213) in 68 ms

The server responds with “Query Refused”, which would cause a resolver to query a different server to get the IP address. We have previously written about the impact of an NS server issue in this article ” When DNS Sneezes, Web Speed Catches a Cold“, a failure on a DNS query has the cost of an additional query!

In technical terms this is called “Lame Delegation“. Both ns1.netbcp.com and ns2.netbcp.net belong to GE which makes sense – however they have no records of ” nbcolympics.com”. Maybe they never got the memo? What happened to the Six Sigma quality process?

The modern Olympic Games are about celebrating the human body, mind, excellence, endurance, team work, spirit, participating… In the world I live in (Web Performance, Infrastructure Monitoring), it is also about speed, availability, reliability, and excellence….

So do you site a favor, NBC / GE, get it in shape and win a GOLD MEDAL in Web Performance, FIX YOUR DNS!

An Olympics fan!

Mehdi – Catchpoint

 

== Update As of July 6 2012 ==

I was happy to see that the DNS issue with the nbcolympics.com web site was fixed today. NBC has moved the entire DNS resolution to Akamai:

nbcolympics.com. 172800 IN NS asia3.akam.net.
nbcolympics.com. 172800 IN NS eur4.akam.net.
nbcolympics.com. 172800 IN NS eur3.akam.net.
nbcolympics.com. 172800 IN NS use3.akam.net.
nbcolympics.com. 172800 IN NS usw1.akam.net.
nbcolympics.com. 172800 IN NS aus1.akam.net.
nbcolympics.com. 172800 IN NS asia2.akam.net.
nbcolympics.com. 172800 IN NS ns1-161.akam.net.
nbcolympics.com. 172800 IN NS ns1-102.akam.net.

 

Mehdi – Catchpoint

 

 

Author Mehdi Daoudi

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