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System, method, and article of manufacture for maintaining and accessing a whois database

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Title: System, method, and article of manufacture for maintaining and accessing a whois database.
Abstract: Methods and systems are provided for maintaining and accessing a whois database. In one embodiment, modifications to a registrar database that includes information about domain names are tracked, and based on the tracked modifications, one or more records that include modified information about the domain names are identified. Unique identifiers for the identified one or more records are determined and are used to reflect the modifications in the whois database. The modifications are tracked on a real-time basis and are reflected in the whois database on an hourly or a real-time basis. ...


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Inventor: Steven C. Monroe
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120084320 - Class: 707769 (USPTO) - 04/05/12 - Class 707 


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120084320, System, method, and article of manufacture for maintaining and accessing a whois database.

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RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a divisional of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/894,904, filed Jun. 29, 2001, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/215,763, filed Jun. 30, 2000, the content of each of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to a whois database, and more particularly, a system, method, and article of manufacture for maintaining and accessing a whois database.

2. Background Information

In recent years, the Internet has experienced explosive growth and success mainly because it provides users with quick access to a vast array of resources through web sites setup by organizations and individuals. Each web site may have a web address or a hierarchical address (e.g., www.networksolutions.com) that a user may use to access the web site. A hierarchical address may include a host name and a domain name (e.g., networksolutions.com).

Before a domain name is activated, however, one must register a domain name with a registrar (e.g., Network Solutions, Inc.) and provide to the registrar registration information, such as domain name, name, address, administrative contact, technical contact, billing contact, and name server information, The registrar may store the registration information in a registrar database and provide some or all of the registration information to the Internet registry responsible for maintaining registered domain names.

The registrar may also store some or all of the registration information in a whois database, which many users use to obtain domain name information. For example, one may query the whois database to determine if a domain name has already been registered by someone else or to obtain other information, such as contact information for the administrator of a domain name. Domain name information may include registration information and other related information, such as the date and time when a record is last updated. Although the whois database is generally used for obtaining domain name information, it may also be used to obtain information about persons, name servers, hosts, etc.

One problem with the present whois database, however, is that its information may not be current because of delays in copying current registration information from the registrar database. For example, on a given day, the registrar may process several new registrations. In addition to new registrations, a registrar may modify or delete several records existing in the registrar database. Then, at the end of the day, the registrar may make a copy of the entire registrar database, and from the copy of the registrar database, the registrar may copy the registration information for each record into a whois database. This two-stage copy process may take a substantial amount of time (e.g., a few hours or even days in some instances) depending on the size of the registrar database. Moreover, in some cases, the registrar database may include other information in addition to registration information, such as information on products and employees, and thus the copying process may take even more time. Furthermore, in some cases, the registration information may need to be converted into another format before it is copied into the whois database, thus causing further delays in transferring the registration information to the whois database.

SUMMARY

OF A FEW ASPECTS OF THE INVENTION

To address the above and other problems of the prior art, methods and systems are provided for maintaining and accessing a whois database. Such methods and systems track modifications to a registrar database that includes information about domain names. Based on the tracked modifications, one or more records including modified information about the domain names may be identified. Then, identifiers for the identified one or more records may be determined and the modifications may be reflected in the whois database based on the determined identifiers. The modifications may be tracked on a real-time basis and may be reflected in the whois database on an hourly or a real-time basis. The whois database may be accessed using, for example, a Java database connectivity (JDBC) interface.

A flat file database and index files from the whois database may also be generated so that information, including domain name information, can be retrieved from the flat file database instead of the whois database.

Both the foregoing and the following description are exemplary and explanatory and are intended to provide further explanation of the claimed invention as opposed to limiting it in any manner.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, and together with the description, explain the principles of the invention. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is an exemplary block diagram of a system, in accordance with methods and systems consistent with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exemplary block diagram of a registrar computer, in accordance with methods and systems consistent with the present invention;

FIG. 3 is an exemplary block diagram of a whois computer, in accordance with methods and systems consistent with the present invention;

FIG. 4 is an exemplary block diagram of a service computer, in accordance with methods and systems consistent with the present invention;

FIG. 5 is an exemplary flowchart illustrating the steps performed by an update process in a whois computer, in accordance with methods and systems consistent with the present invention;

FIG. 6 is an exemplary flowchart illustrating the steps performed by a whois service process in a service computer, in accordance with methods and systems consistent with the present invention;

FIG. 7 is an exemplary block diagram of another whois computer, in accordance with methods and systems consistent with the present invention; and

FIG. 8 is an exemplary block diagram of another service computer, in accordance with methods and systems consistent with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following detailed description of the invention refers to the accompanying drawings. While the description includes exemplary embodiments, other embodiments are possible and changes may be made to the embodiments described without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The following detailed description does not limit the invention. Instead, the appended claims and their equivalents define the scope of the invention.

Methods and systems are provided to facilitate maintenance and access to a whois database. In one embodiment, a system may include one or more client computers, a registrar computer, a whois computer, and a service computer. The registrar computer may include a registrar database that includes registration information, such as domain name and name and address of the owner of this registered domain name. Whenever a record is added, deleted, or changed in the registrar database, a database management system or another process on the registrar computer may write the identifier corresponding to the added, deleted, or changed record in an audit file.

From the audit file, an update process running on the whois computer may, either periodically or on a real-time basis, extract the identifiers and update a whois database located on the whois computer by, for example, adding, deleting, or changing the information in the records corresponding to the identifiers.

In addition, a user at the client terminal may request information, such as domain name information from the service computer, which in turn may request the information from the whois database. The whois computer retrieves the requested information and sends it to the service computer, which may then display it to the user. Both the whois computer and the service computer may include a java database connectivity (JDBC) interface for processing these requests.

In another embodiment, the whois computer may include a dump process to create a flat file database from the whois database and an index process to create one or more index files for retrieving data from the flat file database. In addition, the whois computer not limit the invention. Instead, the appended claims and their equivalents define the scope of the invention.

Methods and systems are provided to facilitate maintenance and access to a whois database. In one embodiment, a system may include one or more client computers, a registrar computer, a whois computer, and a service computer. The registrar computer may include a registrar database that includes registration information, such as domain name and name and address of the owner of this registered domain name. Whenever a record is added, deleted, or changed in the registrar database, a database management system or another process on the registrar computer may write the identifier corresponding to the added, deleted, or changed record in an audit file.

From the audit file, an update process running on the whois computer may, either periodically or on a real-time basis, extract the identifiers and update a whois database located on the whois computer by, for example, adding, deleting, or changing the information in the records corresponding to the identifiers.

In addition, a user at the client terminal may request information, such as domain name information from the service computer, which in turn may request the information from the whois database. The whois computer retrieves the requested information and sends it to the service computer, which may then display it to the user. Both the whois computer and the service computer may include a java database connectivity (JDBC) interface for processing these requests.

In another embodiment, the whois computer may include a dump process to create a flat file database from the whois database and an index process to create one or more index files for retrieving data from the flat file database. In addition, the whois computer may include a copy process to copy the flat file database and index files to a service computer. The whois computer may create and copy the flat file database and index files on a periodic basis, for example, hourly. When a user at a client terminal requests information, the service computer may use the index files to retrieve the requested information from the flat file database and present the retrieved information to the user.

FIG. 1 is an exemplary block diagram of a system 100, in accordance with methods and systems consistent with the present invention. System 100 may comprise one or more client computers 102, a registrar computer 104, a whois computer 106, a service computer 108, and a firewall 110. Registrar computer 104 may interface whois computer 106 via a network 112; whois computer 106 may interface service computer 108 via a network 114; and client computers 102 may interface registrar computer 104 or service computer 108 via a network 116.

Each client computer 102 may include a computer or any other processor capable of communicating with other computers. A user may use client computer 102 to perform various tasks, including registering domain names with registrar computer 104 and requesting information, such as domain name information from service computer 108. Client computer 102 may include a browser, such as Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator to assist the user in performing these tasks.

Registrar computer 104 may include a computer or any other processor capable of communicating with other computers. For example, registrar computer 104 may include a Sun Enterprise 5500 Server available from Sun Microsystems, Inc. A registrar may use registrar computer 104, which may store registration information for a domain name, to register new domain names, change domain name information, or deactivate domain names.

Whois computer 106 may include a computer, such as a Sun Enterprise 4500 server or any other processor capable of communicating with other computers. Whois computer 106 may include domain name information, including a copy of the registration information stored on registrar computer and other related information, such as the date and time when a record is last updated. Whois computer 106 may provide this information to other computers upon request.

Service computer 108 may include a computer, such as a Sun Enterprise 250 server or a personal computer or any other processor capable of communicating with other computers. Service computer 108 may receive from other computers requests for domain name information and process these requests, for example, by requesting the information from whois computer 106.

Firewall 110 may include a conventional firewall to protect against unwanted attempts to gain access to whois computer 106 and registrar computer 104.

Each of networks 112, 114, and 116 may include a Local Area Network (LAN) or a Wide Area Network (WAN). In addition, the networks may also include a combination of public (e.g., Internet) and private networks.

Other system and network configurations will be apparent to those skilled in the art and are also within the scope of the present invention. For example, system 100 as shown in FIG. 1 may include more than one registrar computer 104, one whois computer 106, and one service computer 108 to provide load balancing and fail-over capabilities. Likewise, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that a single computer may perform the functions performed by registrar computer 104, whois computer 106, and service computer 108. Moreover, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that the components shown in FIG. 1 may use various protocols, such as Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP) and Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) to communicate with each other.

FIG. 2 is an exemplary block diagram of registrar computer 104, in accordance with methods and systems consistent with the present invention. Registrar computer 104 may comprise a processor 202, which connects via a bus 204 to a memory 206, a secondary storage 216, a network interface 218, and an input/output interface 220.

Memory 210 may include an operating system 208, a registration process 210, a registrar database 212, and an audit file 214. Memory 210 may also include a relational database management system, such as Ingres available from Computer Associates International, Inc.

Operating system 208 may include, for example, the Solaris operating system available from Sun Microsystems, Inc. Registration process 210 may include stored instructions in the form of software, which are executed by processor 202. Registration process 210 may include any conventional process used by a registrar to register domain names, change domain name information, and deactivate domain names. Registrar database 212 may include any type of database, such as a relational database and may include registration information obtained from a user during registration and other registrar information, such as employee information. Each record in the registrar database 212 may have an associated unique identifier.

Audit file 214 may include information about modifications to registrar database 212. Modifications may include additions, deletions, and changes to the records stored in the registrar database 212. In one embodiment, audit file 214 may be generated by a database management system, such as Ingres, running on registrar computer 104. In another embodiment, audit file 214 may be generated by a process running in memory 206 that can track changes to registrar database 212. Regardless of which component generates audit file 214, it may track the modifications to registrar database 212 on a real-time basis.

Secondary storage 216 may comprise a computer readable medium, such as a disk drive and a tape drive. From the tape drive, software and data may be loaded onto the disk drive, which can then be copied into memory 206. Similarly, software and data in memory 206 may be copied onto the disk drive, which can then be loaded onto the tape drive.

Network interface 218 may transmit messages from registrar computer 104 to other computers, such as client computers 102 and whois computer 106 and receive messages addressed to registrar computer 104 from other computers, for example, via networks 112 and/or 116. Input/Output interface 220 may include, for example, a key board or a key pad and a display unit.

FIG. 3 is an exemplary block diagram of whois computer 106, in accordance with methods and systems consistent with the present invention. Whois computer 106 may comprise a processor 302, which connects via a bus 304 to a memory 306, a secondary storage 316, a network interface 318, and an input/output interface 320.

Memory 306 may include an operating system 308, a whois database 310, an update process 312, and a whois database interface 314. Memory 306 may also include a relational database management system, such as Oracle 8i version 8.1.6 available from Oracle Corporation.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120084320 A1
Publish Date
04/05/2012
Document #
13324974
File Date
12/13/2011
USPTO Class
707769
Other USPTO Classes
707E17014
International Class
06F17/30
Drawings
9


Whois


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