Maintained by: NLnet Labs

[Unbound-users] Queries and responses "serialized" when using forwarder

W.C.A. Wijngaards
Mon Feb 13 09:44:20 CET 2012

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Hi Ondrej,

Unbound is capable of working on multiple queries at the same time.
There is no real limit from the software point, but there is CPU load
and number of network sockets to consider.  This is like a couple
thousand for an ISP-resolver.  A local resolver, more like tens or
hundred, from a practical perspective.

On 02/10/2012 03:43 PM, Ondrej Mikle wrote:
> Hi,
> I've noticed that when I set forwarder in unbound or libunbound
> (via forward-zone or ub_ctx_resolvconf, respectively), the
> resolution seems to be always serialized, no matter what settings
> of *-slabs, threads or target-fetch-policy is (i.e. "nicely"
> alternating query-response). Without forwarder, requests seem to be
> parallelized, at least to some extent.

There must be something else going on, that make it serialized.

> I couldn't find any explanation for this behavior in documentation,
> RFCs or googling.

That is because it is explicitly supported, you need no special
config, on thread is enough, all defaults would work.  Just perform
multiple queries via the asynchronous interface.  And they are done at
the same time.  (you can do the config you talk about, this just
increases the resources that unbound has).

> For example, resolving A record of using
> forwarder looks like (latest unbound 1.4.16, empty cache):
> No. Time      Info 5 0.731801  Standard query A 
> 6 0.921957  Standard query response A RRSIG 7
> 0.922192  Standard query DNSKEY <Root> 8 0.922689  Standard query
> response DNSKEY DNSKEY RRSIG 9 0.923067  Standard query DS org 10
> 0.956492  Standard query response DS DS RRSIG 11 0.957263  Standard
> query DNSKEY org 12 0.957761  Standard query response DNSKEY DNSKEY
> DNSKEY DNSKEY RRSIG RRSIG 13 0.957945  Standard query DS
> 14 0.958194  Standard query response DS RRSIG 15
> 0.958298  Standard query DNSKEY 16 1.045979  Standard
> For example, after retrieving response for "IN A
>" we know which zone to ask for DS and DNSKEY and
> could ask for DS and DNSKEY for root, org and in
> parallel. Would that be against some RFC, best practices or it's
> just not implemented for some other reason (like me overlooking a
> reason why it wouldn't work in a general case)?

Well, is your code perhaps waiting for the first answer before it asks
the second question (via the libunbound API) ?

> Why I am asking: on a slow line (e.g. mobile phone, Tor) the number
> of necessary round-trips makes quite a difference.
> Related question: Suppose I'd want to work around this by hacking
> libunbound a bit - client sends "IN A" and
> receives all the necessary packets for validation in the usual DNS
> format as if client's cache was empty (DS a DNSKEY for root, org,
> One obvious issue is size: with a CDN that chains via CNAME/DNAME 
> through multiple zones, the response can be rather big.
> Size aside, is there other issue that can make the implementation 
> difficult to do correctly? I've seen Adam Langley's
> DNSSEC-stapling draft, but that's more complex since it tries to
> adress more issues at once.

The things you need to include (also for insecure stuff that has a
chain of trust ending in an NSEC (or NSEC3)), is very complicated.
And the algorithm used by the sender, bottom-up or top-down, can make
it request different items.  This for empty-nonterminals in reverse zones.

So this is very difficult.  And if you want to validate it you might
need to rewrite the validation routine to a new paradigm.

Best regards,
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