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I've got a small environment of ~40 VMs with static IPs on 12 servers, it would be dandy if I could refer to each VM by name. We have a lot of VMs come and go, so maintaining one static list is a pain.

Is there a way I can configure a DNS server to dynamically register the new names as they are created?

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What DNS server software are you using? BIND e.g. has the allow-update {} clause which you may be very interested in. You'll probably want to run DHCP (even if you do use statically assigned IPs) for this to work best. – Michael Kjörling Apr 5 '13 at 15:06

Typically dnsmasq does that by default. It updates the DNS with the hostnames sent by the DHCP clients.

That (and its great flexibility of deployment) is probably why you often see it used in virtualisation solutions like libvirt, convirt, openstack nova...

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Zeroconf might be a solution. If you set up avahi mDNS (packages avahi-daemon and libnss-mdns) the hosts advertise their host names and you can resolve them with <hostname>.local.

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Use the nsupdate command from the bind-utils package.

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