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Daily Digest: September 8, 2008
Messaging & Collaboration

Viettel: First to Offer Mobile Email in Vietnam Selects Critical Path's Memova Mobile Email Solution  

Survey of Archiving Products -- Let us know what you think about the archiving products you use. If you add your own data, we will send you a summary of the findings. The survey just started--great if you can help get this off the ground by contributing your own policies

Axway Inc. Merges with Tumbleweed Communications as Parent Company, Sopra Group, Completes Acquisition of Tumbleweed Shares  

Zemana Teams Up with Sunbelt Software to Offer Robust Antispyware Protection
Next-generation AV Technology Extends Security of Anti-Logger Appliance

Blog Item(s)

Beware Using CNAME and MX at the Same Time

Here's a cautionary tale about DNS configuration. A chap who shall remain nameless recently reconfigured his domain, in a way that caused some of his incoming email to go missing.

He controlled the domain example.com, which was set up something like this:


If you already understand how DNS records work, this is pretty straightforward stuff (albeit a simplified example). To explain:

  • There's a Web server at (that's the first two A records).
  • The Web server is accessible with or without the www (that's why there's two A records for the same IP address).
  • There's an email server at (that's the third A record).
  • The domain advertises that email should be sent to the email server (that's what the MX record does).

Our friend looked at this and thought, "That's messy. Why are we specifying the IP address of the Web server in two places? Wouldn't it be simpler to use an alias?" So, he changed the first DNS record so that www.example.com is an alias of example.com. Now it reads:


(A CNAME record basically denotes an alias -- it stands for canonical name.)

All seemed well. Web browsers connected to the right place and a test email message worked fine. However, he soon discovered that some email wasn't reaching him any more.

To cut a long story short, it turns out that some mail servers ignore the MX records if there's a CNAME. Instead, they simply follow the CNAME pointer and try to deliver the email there. In other words, they were trying to deliver email to his Web server!

This cautionary tale is a classic example of why you shouldn't mix CNAME and MX records. ... Richi Jennings, with thanks to Cloudmark's Dave Kelly and Oracle's John Haxby



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About Ferris Research

Ferris Research studies messaging, and the control of electronic information. More specifically, we help IT staff evaluate and implement products and services that:

  • Provide messaging and collaborative technologies
  • Archive electronic information
  • Ensure compliance with corporate policy, industry regulations, and laws
  • Facilitate e-discovery, and contain its costs
  • Reduce the dangers of information leaks

Email is the most important type of electronic information that requires control today. Other important types include instant messages, Sharepoint teamspaces, images, voice, video, and miscellaneous desktop files.

We've been in business since 1990--longer than any other analyst firm in our field:

  • Clients include 300 of the world's 1,000 largest organizations, and computer vendors from the largest corporations to small startups
  • While other analysts have come and gone, we've published more than 200 formal reports and 1,100 short bulletins
  • Our news service covers more than 2,000 highly specialized announcements annually
  • We have nine experts in our research team, sharing many decades of experience in our core competencies

In short, our technology and industry depth helps you understand today's products, where they've come from and where they're going.

Have news you want to share with us or product or interest area that you would like us to cover? Send press releases to releases@ferris.com.

Copyright © Ferris Research 2008.


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