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Enterprise deployment DNS SRV


DNS supports SRV records for advertising IPs for a service. These support priorities and weights and are somewhat similar to MX mail server records.

They can be used to provide through DNS one or more IPs for accessing a domain via SIP. IPs can be grouped into priorities which allows primary, secondary etc servers to be specified.

Basic load balancing can be achieved through weightings. However, these are a recommendation to the client and do not take into account actual server load.

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Record format

_Service._Proto.Name TTL Class SRV Priority Weight Port Target


All servers listen on port 5060. Ports are specified in the record, so alternative ports can be used.

  • sip1, sip2, sip3 are the primary servers. Server sip1 can handle twice as many calls as sip2 & sip3.
  • sip4, sip5, sip6 are the secondary servers. Servers sip4 and sip5 can handle twice as many calls as sip6.
  • sip7, sip8 are tertiary servers in another data centre. They can all handle the same number of calls. 86400 IN SRV 10 50 5060 86400 IN SRV 10 25 5060 86400 IN SRV 10 25 5060 86400 IN SRV 20 20 5060 86400 IN SRV 20 20 5060 86400 IN SRV 20 10 5060 86400 IN SRV 50 10 5060 86400 IN SRV 50 10 5060
  • Failover
    • sip1, sip2, sip3 have priority 10, so are the first choice
    • sip4, sip5, sip6 have priority 20, so are the second choice if all servers with priority 10 can't be reached
    • sip7, sip8 have priority 30, so are the final choice if all servers with priority 10 or 20 can't be reached
  • Load balancing
    • sip1, sip2, sip3 have total weight of 100. sip1 has weight 50 so gets 50/100=50% of calls, sip2&3 have weight 25 so each get 25/100=25% of calls.
    • sip4, sip5, sip6 have total weight of 50. sip4&5 has weight 20 so each get 20/50=2/5 of calls, sip6 has weight 10 so gets 10/50=1/5 of calls.
    • sip7, sip8 have total weight of 20. both have weight 10, so get each get 10/20=50% of calls
  • Scalability
    • Any number of extra hosts can be added to increase capacity


  • Simple
  • Easy to manage
  • Requires no extra hardware
  • DNS system provides redundancy if DNS server(s) fail through cached copies
  • Can spread calls across multiple data centers, including both load shared across data centers or failover from a primary data centre to a backup location.


  • Load balancing is determined by weights so that the caller picks a server to use based on round robin/probability. This means it doesn't take actual server load into account, so you may have find a server overload while there is another server that is almost idle.
  • Requires the SIP client to support retrying with another IP
  • The lower priority IPs will be tried first, which may increase the PDD while the calls fail if the primary servers are offline
  • DNS TTL means it may take some time to update the IPs (a lower TTL avoids this but increases load on the DNS servers)

See also