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RIPE Database User Manual: Getting Started

***IMPORTANT***
Please note that this document is obsolete. A new version will be prepared following a project to restructure the RIPE Database documentation.

Intended Audience

This document is intended for users who have no previous experience with the RIPE Database. It should give the reader a basic understanding of the following concepts:

  • What the RIPE Database is
  • How to get information from the RIPE Database
  • How to maintain information in the RIPE Database

It is not intended to be a complete reference. Full information on the RIPE Database may be found in the following documents:

Abstract

This is a hands-on tutorial that walks the reader through the basic concepts and techniques that are needed to use the RIPE Database using examples and exercises.

Conventions Used in This Document

We use <label> for a placeholder or to indicate syntax.

We use [option] to indicate an optional text or command argument.

We use a bold font to indicate an object type.

We use "attribute:" to indicate an attribute of an object.

"RIPE Database" usually means the interface software rather than the information in the database. Where there may be any doubt, this manual will make clear what is being discussed.

1.0 The RIPE Database

The RIPE Network Management Database, often called the 'RIPE Database' is a public  database that contains information about registered IP address space and AS Numbers, routing policies, and reverse DNS delegations in the RIPE NCC service region. It is  used for Internet network management.

1.1 Database Objects

Records in the RIPE Database are called "objects". Each object is a list of "attribute-
value" pairs displayed in plain text.

An example:

person:        John Smith 
address:       Example LTD
High street 12
St.Mery Mead
Essex, UK
phone:         +44 1737 892 004
e-mail:        john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com
nic-hdl:       JS1-TEST
remarks:       *******************************
remarks:       This object is only an example!
remarks:       *******************************
abuse-mailbox: abuse _at_ example _dot_ com
changed:       john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com 20051104
source:        TEST

This is a person object for John Smith. The attributes are "person:", "address:", "phone:" and so on. An attribute name always starts in the first column, and ends with a colon (:). Everything after the colon is the value.

Objects can store information about different resources.For example:

Network Management ResourceObject types
IP Address Ranges inetnum, inet6num
Routing Policies aut-num, route, route6
Reverse DNS Delegations domain
Contact Information person, role, organisation
Authentication Information mntner

1.2 TEST Database

The RIPE NCC provides a TEST Database where users can learn how to use the whois database software. The TEST Database uses the same software as the RIPE Database, but changes in one do not affect the other. The data in the TEST Database is not a copy of the real data in the RIPE Database and is provided purely for learning purposes.

All examples below use the TEST Database. However, all procedures described are the same for the RIPE Database. In section 5.0 Using the Production RIPE Database, we will explain what the differences are when using the RIPE Database. Do not use the production RIPE Database for testing purposes. It is good practice to delete all objects you have created in the TEST Database when you have finished the exercises in this guide.

2.0 How to Get Information from the TEST Database

2.1 Web Queries

The simplest way to get information from the TEST Database is to use the web interface available at:
https://apps.db.ripe.net/search/query.html

2.2 Making Simple Queries

To query for a particular object the user specifies its "primary key:". This is an attribute value that identifies a unique occurrence of the object type.

Object TypePrimary Key AttributeExample Primary Key Value
inetnum "inetnum:" 193.0.0.0 - 193.0.0.255
inet6num "inet6num:" 2001:0610:0240::/42
person "nic-hdl:" JS1-TEST

Example:

We are going to query for the person object with the "nic-hdl:" attribute JS1-TEST. Type the following in the query box:

js1-test

The reply includes the object in section 1.1 Database Objects. Note that the attribute value is not case-sensitive.

3.0 How to Maintain Information in the RIPE Database

The RIPE Database is used for storing information about Internet resources. You will need to create objects in the database to document your usage of these resources.

Objects in the RIPE Database must reflect the current state of the resources they = describe.

It is important to modify objects as the details of resources change, or delete objects if resources are no longer used. When IP addresses are assigned to customers, or new staff members are appointed as contacts, it is important to create new objects to reflect this in the database.

You can make updates to the database by using the online update interface (webupdates) available at:

https://www.ripe.net/fcgi-bin/webupdates.pl

With webupdates, users can directly create, modify or delete database objects using automated processing. After you submit an object update, the screen will return a complete report of the requested operation.

If there were any errors, the update will fail, and the report will describe the reason(s) for this failure. If the error report does not help you resolve the problem, you can send a copy of it to ripe-dbm _at_ ripe _dot_ net. A RIPE NCC customer support representative will help you resolve the problem.

The following sections describe the process of creating and maintaining objects in the TEST Database. By the end of this document, you will have learned how to create and protect an object representing a network assignment.

3.1 Selecting the Database

Throughout much of this document, you will learn how to perform modifications using the TEST Database. Before each update is performed, you need to select the TEST Database as source in webupdates.

To select the TEST Database as source, go to:

https://www.ripe.net/fcgi-bin/webupdates.pl

  1. Click [Select Source] in the header of webupdates

    screenshot_1.jpg

  2. Select "RIPE TEST Database" from the list and press Select Update Source.

3.2 Creating Objects

The inetnum object contains information about registered IP address space; this includes the range of addresses, status and responsible contacts.

Before this object can be created in the database, you must first create some preliminary objects. These objects contain information that is referenced by the inetnum object.

This requires the creation of the following objects:

  • A person object that contains information about the administrative and technical contacts for this network. This is referenced from the "admin-c:" and "tech-c:" attributes of the inetnum object.
  • A mntner object that contains authentication information that identifies who can modify the contents of this object. This is referenced from the "mnt-by:" attribute of the inetnum object. The mntner object protects the inetnum object.

3.3 Registering Contact Information

Contact information, such as a phone number and email address, is stored in the person object. To create a new person object in the database:

  1. Select the TEST Database as your update source. We tell you how to do this in section 3.1 Selecting the Database.
  2. Click on the [Add] option (in the header of webupdates) to create a new object in the TEST Database and select object type: "person":

    image003.png

  3. Click on Add Object.
  4. In the next screen, enter the information for the attributes of the object that you are creating.

An attribute has two main characteristics:

  • Mandatory/Optional – If an attribute is mandatory, it must always be present inany object of that type that is stored in the RIPE Database. If it is optional, youcan leave it out.
  • Single/Multiple – If an attribute is single, then only one attribute of that type canbe present in an object. If it is multiple, the object can contain more than oneinstanceof the same attribute.

Note: To see the full template of an object type including the characteristics of all itsattributes, you can query the database for: "-t [object type]".

Example:

Click on [Query Database] and enter:

-t person

person:         [mandatory]  [single]     [lookup key]
address:        [mandatory]  [multiple]   [ ]
phone:          [mandatory]  [multiple]   [ ]
fax-no:         [optional]   [multiple]   [ ]
e-mail:         [optional]   [multiple]   [lookup key]
org:            [optional]   [multiple]   [inverse key]
nic-hdl:        [mandatory]  [single]     [primary/look-up key]
remarks:        [optional]   [multiple]   [ ]
notify:         [optional]   [multiple]   [inverse key]
abuse-mailbox:  [optional]   [multiple]   [inverse key]
mnt-by:         [optional]   [multiple]   [inverse key]
changed:        [mandatory]  [multiple]   [ ]
source:         [mandatory]  [single]     [ ]

When creating a new object with webupdates, only the mandatory attributes are shown automatically. You can add optional attributes and/or other instances of multiple attributes by using the Add New Field section.

Return to the webupdates screen and prepare a person object to be created in the TEST Database.

Use "AUTO-1" for the "nic-hdl:" attribute, your email address for the "changed:" attribute, and "TEST" for the "source:" attribute.

image005.png

 

By checking the Force New box, you guarantee that the object is only created if it does not already exist in the database. We recommend that you keep this option checked, to avoid accidentally modifying an existing object.

5. When you have finished setting up the object, press Submit Update.

6. Wait for an acknowledgement from the TEST Database to appear on your screen.

This may take some time to complete. Here is an example of the type of message you will see, if your update is successful:

Create SUCCEEDED: [person] JS1-TEST John Smith 
***Warning: Date '20051104' added to changed:
attribute 'john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com'

Note: The text after the [person] tag (JSI-TEST) is the NIC handle of the person. It replaces the AUTO-1 value of the "nic-hdl:" attribute in the original submission. It will be unique and is the primary key of this person object. Any references to this person object will use this NIC handle.

You can use the new NIC handle value to query for this object. If you do this, you can also see that the "changed:" attribute has had the date of the creation added. This is normal behaviour and is the reason for the "***Warning:" message in the example above.

If there was an error, the acknowledgement will tell you that the update has failed and
will also report any errors. For example, it may contain the following:

Update FAILED: [person] AUTO-1 John Smith 
***Error: Syntax error in object

This message means that the update failed because of a problem with the syntax in the object. Check for invalid attribute values to find the cause of the error.

3.4 Registering Authentication Information

"Authentication" is when you prove that you have the right to modify this object. This information prevents other users from modifying your data. In the database, the information that verifies authentication is stored in the mntner object (also called the maintainer object).

To create a new MNTNER object in the database, do the following:

1. As with the creation of your person object, choose the TEST Database as update source, and then select mntner from the object list in the [Add] section:

image009.png

2. Set up your mntner object using webupdates. Follow the same steps that you used
previously for the person object.

Note: For any object type, you can get the object's template with a detailed description of the meaning and syntax of each allowed attribute, by querying for: "-v [object type]".

To get a full description of all the mntner object's fields, query the RIPE Database for:

-v mntner

Check the syntax definition for the "mntner:" attribute field, when choosing your own mntner name:

A unique identifier of the mntner object. 
Made up of letters, digits, the character
underscore "_", and the character hyphen
"-"; the first character of a name must
be a letter, and the last character of a
name must be a letter or a digit.

For the "admin-c:" and "tech-c:" attributes, you should use the value of the "nic-hdl:" from the person object that you created earlier in this tutorial. The database will not allow you to create a mntner object unless this

object already exists.

The "auth:" attribute begins with a keyword identifying the authentication method. This is followed by the authentication information. A password is used to authenticate database updates in the example below. To encrypt your password using MD5-PW, you can use this web tool:

https://www.ripe.net/cgi-bin/crypt.cgi

Here is an example of an "auth:" attribute using an MD5 encrypted password:

auth: MD5-PW $1$9KZv4vZf$zD8GoM7Ppvc74ypGmjedt/ 

The "mnt-by:" attribute refers to the mntner that is authorised to perform updates on an object. The mntner object usually maintains itself, so use your maintainer name (the value of the "mntner:" attribute) in the "mnt-by:" attribute.

Use "TEST-DBM-MNT" in the "referral-by:" attribute.

image011.png

3. When you have finished composing the object, press Submit Update.

4. Wait for an acknowledgement from the TEST Database to appear on your screen.

This may take some time to complete. Here is a sample of the type of message you will see, if your update is successful:

Create SUCCEEDED: [mntner] EXAMPLE-MNT 

If there was an error, correct the faulty attribute value(s) and re-submit the update.

5. The email address in the "mnt-nfy:" attribute of the mntner will receive an email that will contain details of the new object.

You can now query the RIPE Database and see your new mntner object. Type the following in the query window, substituting your mntner name:

-B example-mnt

Your new mntner object, as well as the person object referenced, will be returned.

% Information related to 'EXAMPLE-MNT' 
mntner:        EXAMPLE-MNT
descr:         Sample maintainer for example
admin-c:       JS1-TEST
tech-c:        JS1-TEST
upd-to:        john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com
mnt-nfy:       john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com
auth:          MD5-PW $1$wCDUXtMe$MptgAFcPa3sy9QqQnbX4X/
notify:        john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com
abuse-mailbox: abuse _at_ example _dot_ com
mnt-by:        EXAMPLE-MNT
referral-by:   TEST-DBM-MNT
changed:       john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com 20051104
source:        TEST
person:        John Smith
address:       Example LTD
High street 12
St.Mery Mead
Essex, UK
phone:         +44 1737 892 004
e-mail:        john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com
nic-hdl:       JS1-TEST
remarks:       *******************************
remarks:       This object is only an example!
remarks:       *******************************
abuse-mailbox: abuse _at_ example _dot_ com
changed:       john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com 20051104
source:        TEST

Note: the "-B" flag in the query is used in order to retrieve the complete objects from the RIPE Database. In a default query (without the "-B" flag), user contact information is filtered from the returned data. This helps to protect users from contact abuse. Filtered query results are easy to identify by looking at the "source:" attribute:

source: TEST # Filtered

If the keyword "# Filtered" is shown, it means that the query result has been filtered and
some of the attributes are not shown.

By default, a query returns other objects containing associated contact information. This is why it returns the person object. If you do not want to see this information, use the "-r" (disable recursion) flag in your query. You can see how this works by typing the same query with this flag:

-r -B example-mnt 

This time, only the mntner object is returned. Disabling recursion can result in a smaller, easier to understand reply, especially when associated contact information is unimportant.

This is often the case when managing your own objects.

3.5 Protecting Your Contact Information

Now that you have a mntner object, you can protect other objects in the database. An object is protected by adding a reference to the mntner in the "mnt-by:" attribute.

Most object types require you to protect them with your mntner object. However, person objects do not. We recommend that you protect them.

To protect your person object:

1. As before, within webupdates, choose the TEST Database as your update source, click on the [Edit] option and enter your person object "nic-hdle:"

image013.png

You can also enter your "person:" name instead of the "nic-hdl:" value. In this case, a list will be returned with all person objects that have that name. For common names, there may be many entries returned. Choose your object from this list.

2. The editor screen that follows, will show your person object with all of its current
attribute values:

image015.png

Using the Add New Field section, add your mntner as the "mnt-by:" for your person object.

image017.png

Fill in the value of the new attribute with your mntner object:

image019.png

The database will not allow you to use a "mnt-by:" value, unless the mntner object already exists. An error will appear in the acknowledgement returned after you submit the update.

3. Add an additional "changed:" attribute to reflect the fact that you are modifying the object. Follow the same procedure shown above for the "mnt-by:" attribute. It must be placed after the existing "changed:" attribute values.

image021.png

4. When you add a "mnt-by:" attribute to an object, you must authenticate yourself as the new mntner object. As this example uses the MD5-PW method, add a "password:" field to the object, using the Add New Field section. The position of this field in the object is not important.

image023.png

In this new "password:" field, type the clear-text password that you used to encrypt the
MD5 string present in the "auth:" attribute of your mntner object. For example:

image025.png

5. The final edited object should look similar to the one shown below. Click on Submit Update when you are ready.

image027.png

6. Wait for an acknowledgement from the database. This will indicate the success or
failure of your update. If the password entered did not match the one used in the mntner
object, the update will fail and you will see a message similar to:

Modify FAILED: [person] JS1-TEST John Smith 
***Error: Authorisation failed
***Info: Syntax check passed

In this case, you can just correct the password and re-submit the update.

3.6 Locating Network Assignments

Network assignments are represented by inetnum objects. Before you can create a new inetnum object, you must find a range of IP addresses that are not currently assigned.

This section describes how you can query the database for this information. You can also use the queries whenever you want to get IP address information from the database.

By default, the database returns the smallest range that encompasses the entire range that you specify in your query. This is a 'less specific' object. For example, if you query the following:

10.11.12.0 - 10.11.13.255 

You might get something like this:

inetnum:    10.0.0.0 - 10.255.255.255 
netname:    IANA-ABLK-RESERVED1
descr:      Class A address space for private internets
descr:      See http://www.ripe.net/db/rfc1918.html for details
country:    EU # Country is really world wide
admin-c:    AA1-TEST
tech-c:     AA2-TEST
status:     ALLOCATED UNSPECIFIED
remarks:    This network should never be routed outside an
enterprise
remarks:    See RFC1918 for further information
mnt-by:     TEST-DBM-MNT
mnt-lower:  TEST-DBM-MNT
mnt-routes: TEST-DBM-MNT
source:     TEST # Filtered

This is called the less specific match. The range 10.11.12.0 - 10.11.13.255 fits entirely within the range 10.0.0.0 - 10.255.255.255. This is the smallest inetnum object in the database that encompasses the IP range in your query.

If you want the server to give you only an exact match, then you can request this using the "-x" flag. An exact match is one where the IP range of the inetnum object is the same as the IP range in the query.

-x 10.11.12.0 - 10.11.13.255

In this case you will get only an exact match, or an error that tells you that no such inetnum object exists:

%ERROR:101: no entries found 
%
% No entries found in the selected source(s).

Sometimes, you may want to see all of the less specific inetnum objects that encompass a  range. In this case, you can use the "-L" flag. If you do this, you will see all inetnum objects that encompass the entire range queried, as well as any exact match.

For example, if you query the following:

-L 10.11.12.0 - 10.11.13.255 

You might get something like this:

% Information related to '0.0.0.0 - 255.255.255.255' 
inetnum:        0.0.0.0 - 255.255.255.255
netname:        IANA-BLK
descr:          The whole IPv4 address space
country:        EU # Country is really world wide
org:            ORG-TT1-TEST
admin-c:        AA1-TEST
tech-c:         AA2-TEST
status:         ALLOCATED UNSPECIFIED
remarks:        The country is really worldwide.
mnt-by:         TEST-ROOT-MNT
mnt-lower:      TEST-DBM-MNT
mnt-routes:     TEST-DBM-MNT
remarks:        This is an automatically created object.
source:         TEST # Filtered
% Information related to '10.0.0.0 - 10.255.255.255'
inetnum:        10.0.0.0 - 10.255.255.255
netname:        IANA-ABLK-RESERVED1
descr:          Class A address space for private internets
descr:          See http://www.ripe.net/db/rfc1918.html for details
country:        EU # Country is really world wide
admin-c:        AA1-TEST
tech-c:         AA2-TEST
status:         ALLOCATED UNSPECIFIED
remarks:        This network should never be routed outside an
enterprise
remarks:        See RFC1918 for further information
mnt-by:         TEST-DBM-MNT
mnt-lower:      TEST-DBM-MNT
mnt-routes:     TEST-DBM-MNT
source:         TEST # Filtered

For the query examples shown above, the "-B" flag was not included. The output from the RIPE Database was filtered for contacts, as described in 3.4 Registering Authentication Information. Therefore, the objects above are not shown fully. The "# Filtered" tag in the "source:" attribute tells you that the object was filtered. From here on, we will use the "-B" flag in most queries. This will retrieve the full objects as they are  stored in the database itself.

You can also look for smaller inetnum objects corresponding to sub-ranges that are  completely contained within a given range. This is a more specific query. You can use this on an allocation to look for ranges that have no other assignments. To do this, use the "- m" flag.

-B -m 10.11.0.0 - 10.11.255.255 

You will get a reply that looks something like this:

% Information related to '10.11.11.0 - 10.11.11.255' 
inetnum:        10.11.11.0 - 10.11.11.255
netname:        Example-Network
descr:          This is a fictitious assignment for the
descr:          End-User called "Example"
country:        GB
admin-c:        JS1-TEST
tech-c:         JS1-TEST
status:         ASSIGNED PA
notify:         john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com
mnt-by:         EXAMPLE-MNT
mnt-lower:      EXAMPLE-MNT
mnt-routes:     EXAMPLE-MNT
changed:        john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com 20051125
source:         TEST
% Information related to '10.11.13.0 - 10.11.13.255'
inetnum:        10.11.13.0 - 10.11.13.255
netname:        Example-Network-2
descr:          This is another fictitious assignment for the
descr:          End-User called "Example"
country:        GB
admin-c:        JS1-TEST
tech-c:         JS1-TEST
status:         ASSIGNED PA
notify:         john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com
mnt-by:         EXAMPLE-MNT
mnt-lower:      EXAMPLE-MNT
mnt-routes:     EXAMPLE-MNT
changed:        john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com 20051125
source:         TEST

This is a one-level more specific query. This means that the largest inetnum object that is completely contained within the given range is returned.

In this example, the IP addresses 10.11.12.0 - 10.11.12.255 are not assigned and are available. You will need to find an available range to do the exercise in the next section.

If you want to see all inetnum objects completely contained in a given range, you can use the "-M" flag:

This will return all levels of inetnum objects in the range. This can return an extremely large number of objects, but can be useful for finding all of the inetnum objects for a portion of the Internet.

-M 10.0.0.0 - 10.255.255.255 

This will return all levels of inetnum objects in the range. This can return an extremely large number of objects, but can be useful for finding all of the inetnum objects for a portion of the Internet.

3.7 Recording Network Assignments

Now that all of the objects necessary for an inetnum object have been created and protected and you have located an appropriate range of IP numbers, you can create the inetnum object itself. It should be noted that this method of 'finding' IP ranges to 'use' is only for test purposes in the TEST Database. Here you can create any inetnum objects for testing purposes, even if you have no authority over that range.

To create a new INETNUM object in the database:

1. As before, choose the TEST Database as source, then click on [Add] to create a new
inetnum object:

image029.png

2. Use the object editor to enter your network information. The following attributes are
worth mentioning:

  • For the "inetnum:" attribute, enter the IP range that you want to register. Since this is just for the TEST Database, it doesn't have to be a range that is really allocated to your organisation. You can use any available IP range. Follow the instructions in section 3.6 Locating Network Assignments to find an available IP range in the TEST Database.
  • For the "admin-c:" and "tech-c:" attributes, use the nic-hdl of your person object.
  • For the "status:" attribute use 'ASSIGNED PA'.
  • For the "notify:" attribute, use the email address where you wish to be notified of  any updates to this object.
  • For the "mnt-by:" or any other "mnt-*:" attribute, use the name of your maintainer.

You can get a full explanation of the syntax and meaning of all the attributes in this object by querying for:

-v inetnum 

This will work for any object type.

Once again, you will need to provide authentication for your maintainer to create this  object. Add your maintainer password to the field "password:". You can find out how to  do this in Section 3.5 Protecting Your Contact Information.

image031.png

The creation of new inetnum objects must also be authorised hierarchically. This means that while creating an inetnum object, the authentication for the one-level less  specific inetnum object (encompassing IP address range) is also required.

The "mnt-lower:" attribute in inetnum objects allows you to specify a specific maintainer  for the creation of more specific (sub-assignments) inetnum objects.

To find out for which specific maintainer you must provide authentication, do the  following:

    • Query the RIPE Database for the one-level less specific inetnum object:
-l [your IP range] 
  • Look for the mntner object referenced in the "mnt-lower:" attribute. If there is no "mnt-lower:" attribute, the mntner object referenced in the "mnt-by:" attribute is used.

For this specific example, querying for the one-level less specific object (-l 10.11.12.0 -
10.11.12.255) shows that it has:

mnt-lower: TEST-DBM-MNT

To allow users to freely create inetnum objects in the TEST Database, we have published the password for this maintainer.

You can find it in the mntner object itself:

mntner:         TEST-DBM-MNT 
descr:          Mntner for TEST DBM objects.
admin-c:        AA1-TEST
tech-c:         AA2-TEST
auth:           MD5-PW $1$N2zhyJ3g$hzX7XTL84DtBkCWhBZE2c/
remarks:        ****************************************************
remarks:        Password is "emptypassword" without the quotes.
remarks:        ****************************************************
mnt-by:         TEST-ROOT-MNT
referral-by:    TEST-ROOT-MNT
remarks:        This is an automatically created object.
source:         TEST # Filtered

To pass the hierarchical authentication, you need to add an extra "password:" field to the object update with the password from TEST-DBM-MNT:

image033.png

3. See below for an example of a new inetnum object. Click on Submit Update.

image035.png

4. Wait for the acknowledgement to return from the whois database. If your update was successful, you will get a reply containing something like the following:

Create SUCCEEDED: [inetnum] 10.11.12.0 - 10.11.12.255

If there was an error, the acknowledgement will tell you what errors were found. For example, it may contain the following:

Update FAILED: [inetnum] 10.11.12.0 - 10.11.12.255 
***Error: Syntax error in object

5. If it is successful, the email address in the "mnt-nfy:" attribute of your mntner object will receive an email with the details of the new object.

3.8 Modifying the INETNUM object

You can modify information in your inetnum object. You might need to do this if the technical contact has changed and is now represented by the person object "MJ3-TEST".

(You must first create a new person object before you can follow this example.)

To modify an existing object, do the following:

  1. Click on [Edit] in webupdates. In the text box, enter one IP address of the inetnum object range, the full IP range, the "netname:", or even the name from the referenced person object(s). Click on Edit Object.

    image037.png
  2. From the "Search Results" list, select your inetnum object and click on Edit.

    image039.png
  3. Using the object editor, change the "tech-c:" attribute to the new person object. Add a "notify:" attribute, so the new technical contact will be notified when the inetnum object is modified.

    You also need to include the password for your maintainer so that the modification is authorised, as well as a new "changed:" line to keep track of the history of modifications to the object. The new "changed:" line must follow all existing ones.

    Note: The hierarchical authorisation is only required for creation of inetnum objects, not modification. You do not have to include the second password (from the less-specific IP block) in this update.

    image041.png

    You cannot change the primary attribute of the object (inetnum: 10.11.12.0 -10.11.12.255). The database will consider this to be a creation of a new object.
  4. Click on Submit Update to process this:
  5. Wait for an acknowledgement from the database. This will tell you if your update was successful. If there was an error, the message that you receive will tell you what was wrong.
  6. The email address in the "notify:" attribute of the original object will be sent a message with the details of the change. In a similar way, a notification email will be sent to the "mnt-nfy:" of the maintainer.

3.9 Deleting Objects

Sometimes you no longer need objects that you maintain. You should delete these. For example, if an assignment is no longer used you should delete the inetnum object and all person and mntner objects that are referenced only from that object.

To delete an existing object:

1. Select the object that you wish to remove using the [Edit] option in webupdates. Follow steps 1 and 2 in Section 3.8 Modifying the INETNUM Object to query for this object and present the object details.

2. In the object editor, do not change any of the attributes. If the object submitted is not an exact copy of the one stored in the RIPE Database, the deletion will fail. Add only a "password:" field to authenticate you as the valid maintainer. Deletion of objects in the RIPE Database/TEST Database must also be authorised.

image043.png

3. At the bottom of the editor page, enter the reason for this object deletion in the Reason box. Click on Delete Object, when done. This will automatically submit the update for processing to the TEST Database adding a line in the format:

delete: [reason for deletion]

This indicates that this object is to be deleted from the database.

Example of a deletion:

image047.png

4. Press Submit Update.

5. Wait for an acknowledgement from the database. This will tell you if your deletion was successful.

6. The email addresses in the "notify:" attribute of the object, as well as the "mnt-nfy:"attribute of the mnt-by: mntner attribute of the mnt-by: mntner will receive a message with the details of the deletion.

Objects that are referenced by other objects cannot be deleted. For example, a mntner object cannot be deleted while it is used in "mnt-by:" or any other attribute. You can find the references to a mntner object by using an inverse query. Type the following in the query window, substituting your mntner object:

-i mnt-by,mnt-lower,mnt-routes,mnt-domains,mnt-ref -r EXAMPLE-MNT 

This will return all of the objects that reference EXAMPLE-MNT. The "-i" flag requests the inverse query, and the "mnt-by,mnt-lower,mnt-routes,mnt-domains,mnt-ref" specify which attributes you want to look at. There must not be a space after any of the commas.

The "-r" disables recursion (associated objects will not be displayed).

Before you can delete a mntner object, you must remove all references to it.

For example, if you have the following mntner and person objects:

% Information related to 'EXAMPLE-MNT' 

mntner:        EXAMPLE-MNT
descr:         Sample maintainer for example
admin-c:       JS1-TEST
tech-c:        JS1-TEST
upd-to:        john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com
mnt-nfy:       john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com
auth:          MD5-PW $1$wCDUXtMe$MptgAFcPa3sy9QqQnbX4X/
notify:        john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com
abuse-mailbox: abuse _at_ example _dot_ com
mnt-by:        EXAMPLE-MNT
referral-by:   TEST-DBM-MNT
changed:       john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com 20051104
source:        TEST

% Information related to 'JS1-TEST'
person:        John Smith
address:       Example LTD
High street 12
St.Mery Mead
Essex, UK
phone:         +44 1737 892 004
e-mail:        john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com
nic-hdl:       JS1-TEST
mnt-by:        EXAMPLE-MNT
remarks:       *******************************
remarks:       This object is only an example!
remarks:       *******************************
abuse-mailbox: abuse _at_ example _dot_ com
changed:       john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com 20051104
changed:       john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com 20051109
source:        TEST

The mntner "EXAMPLE-MNT" cannot be deleted, because it is referenced by the person "JS1-TEST". The person "JS1-TEST" cannot be deleted, because it is referenced by the mntner "EXAMPLE-MNT". To delete these objects, do the following:

  1. Modify the person object, and remove the "mnt-by:" attribute. This removes all  protection, but this is not a security issue, because the object will be deleted.
  2. Delete the mntner object.
  3. Delete the person object.

Please remember to delete all objects you created in the TEST Database while doing  these exercises.

4.0 Extra Features

4.1 Keeping a Password in webupdates Memory

If you want to use your maintainer authentication password in several updates, you can  save it for a specified amount of time.

To do this:

  1. Before starting to update any of your objects, click on the [Authorisation] option.
  2. Type in your password and select the amount of time that you want to keep your  password in memory.

    image049.png
  3. Click on Register

You can now start editing your objects. From here on, and for however long that you  specify, all updates submitted through webupdates from your computer will automatically include the password you entered.

4.2 Edit an Object in Text-Based View Using webupdates

Using webupdates, you can edit an object in text-based mode, instead of the field-based mode used so far. This can be helpful in situations when copy-paste operations are needed.

This is done using the Switch View option. It allows you to switch between 'field-based'
and 'text-based' editing. For example, if you are editing an object as shown below:

image051.jpg

Pressing the Switch View button allows you to switch to text-based mode:

image052.png

In this mode, you can edit the object as free text, including adding and removing attributes to the object.

Pressing Switch View once again switches back to the field-based mode. Pressing Submit Update submits your update to the RIPE Database.

You can switch between both edit modes while editing an object. However, please notice that webupdates will only let you switch from text-based mode to field-based mode, if  there are no syntax errors in the object.

4.3 Updates By Email

Another way of updating objects in the RIPE/TEST Database is by using email. This is  useful if you need to update several objects at the same time.

You should send updates for the TEST Database to <test-dbm _at_ ripe _dot_ net>. We  automatically process all updates sent to this email address, no human handling is  involved.

Follow these steps when you prepare your email:

  1. Include the complete objects that you wish to update (create, modify or delete) in  the email, with at least one blank line between each object, and completely  aligned to the left (no space characters at the beginning of the lines). Please don't  include any blank lines in between the attributes of any object, as this will prevent  it from being recognised.
  2. If you want to delete an object, include the complete object exactly as stored in the RIPE Database and add an extra field to the object with the syntax: delete: [reason for deleting]
  3. Include in the email, all the clear-text passwords needed to perform the updates,  with the following syntax: password: [clear-text password].
    You need only include each cleartext password once in the message, even if it is  required by several objects.
  4. Send your email to <test-dbm _at_ ripe _dot_ net>

 

Here is an example of an email update to the TEST Database:

inetnum:       10.11.12.0 - 10.11.12.255 
netname:       Example-Network
descr:         This is a new fictitious assignment
for the end-user called "Example"
country:       NL
admin-c:       JS1-TEST
tech-c:        MJ3-TEST
status:        ASSIGNED PA
notify:        john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com
notify:        mark.johnson _at_ ripe _dot_ net
mnt-by:        EXAMPLE-MNT
mnt-lower:     EXAMPLE-MNT
mnt-routes:    EXAMPLE-MNT
changed:       john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com 20051129
changed:       john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com 20051130
source:        TEST
delete:        IP assignment has been cancelled
person:        John Smith
address:       Example LTD
High street 12
St.Mery Mead
Essex, UK
phone:         +44 1742 812 991
e-mail:        john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com
nic-hdl:       JS1-TEST
mnt-by:        EXAMPLE-MNT
remarks:
***********************************************************
remarks:       This object is still an example, but the phone has
changed!
remarks:
***********************************************************
abuse-mailbox: abuse _at_ example _dot_ com
changed:       john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com 20051104
changed:       john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com 20051109
changed:       john.smith _at_ example _dot_ com
source:        TEST
password: this is my clear-text password, really!

After your update has been processed, you will receive the results by e-mail. The reply will tell you which objects were updated successfully and which ones failed. For the objects that failed, you will get an explanation with the errors. This is similar to what is shown in the webupdates report.

4.4 Whois Client

You can also perform queries on the database by using a whois software client. There is a whois client, developed by the RIPE NCC, available for free download.

To perform queries on the TEST Database, use the syntax:

whois –h test-whois.ripe.net <query-text> 

Where <query-text> is the full query text that would be entered in the web query box shown in Section 2.1 Web Queries.

4.5 Important Query Flags

Database. Please note that these flags are case-sensitive. Here is a list of commonly used flags that can be useful when querying the RIPE

General query flags:

-B 

Disables the default query behaviour of filtering the "notify:", "changed:" and "e-mail:" attributes, to protect users from contact abuse. This flag is helpful for retrieving the objects exactly as they are stored in the RIPE Database. It is important to use this flag when updating database objects by email, to prevent information from being lost in the update.

-r 

Disables the default query behaviour of recursion for contact information after retrieving the objects that match the lookup key. You should use this flag if you do not want to retrieve the person and role objects that contain the contact information associated with the object that you are querying for.

-t <object-type> 

Requests a template for the specified object type. Using this flag you can see all the possible attributes used in an object type as well as their characteristics.

-v <object-type> 

Requests a verbose template for the specified object type. This flag works as –t, but also gives you a detailed explanation of each attribute, and the expected syntax. It can be very helpful when you receive a syntax error while updating an object in the RIPE Database.

-i <attribute-name><inverse-key> 

Perform an inverse query. This flag is useful to see in which objects a certain object is referenced.

For example:

-i mnt-by EXAMPLE-MNT 

will show all the objects that are maintained by the maintainer EXAMPLE-MNT.

IP range query flags:

-l <ip-lookup> 

One-level less specific query. This returns the smallest inetnum range that encompasses the entire IP range specified in the query, excluding the exact match.

-L <ip-lookup> 

All-levels less specific query. This returns all the less specific inetnum objects that encompass the IP range specified in the query, including the exact match.

-m <ip-lookup> 

One-level more specific query. This returns the largest inetnum ranges that are completely contained in the IP range specified in the query, excluding the exact match

-M <ip-lookup> 

All-levels more specific query. This returns all the levels of inetnum objects contained in the IP range specified in the query, excluding the exact match. This can return an extremely large number of objects, depending on which IP range is used.

-x <ip-lookup>

Exact match query. This returns the inetnum object that exactly  corresponds to the IP range specified in the query. If no exact match is found no objects are returned

In a default IP range query, without any of the flags mentioned above, the exact match  object will be returned. If no exact match is found, the one-level less specific inetnum  object will be returned.

To see a full list of all the flags that you can use when querying the RIPE Database, enter 'help' in the query box:

help

5.0 Using the Production RIPE Database

You should now have an understanding of the basic concepts of the RIPE Database and be able to maintain your own data and perform queries. This section explains the  differences between the TEST Database and the RIPE Database.

For the RIPE Database:

  1. Queries use a different search tool: http://www.ripe.net/whois
  2. For queries using a whois client, connect to the server: whois.ripe.net  whois -h whois.ripe.net <query-text>
  3. In webupdates, select RIPE Database as the source (default), by using the [Select  Source] option:

    image054.png
  4. You should send email updates for the RIPE Database to <auto-dbm _at_ ripe _dot_ net>.
  5. Objects in the RIPE Database use RIPE for both the "source:" attribute and the suffix  appended to "nic-hdl:" attributes.
  6. When creating your mntner object in the RIPE Database, use RIPE-DBM-MNT for  the "referral-by:" attribute.
  7. You cannot create inetnum objects in the RIPE Database unless you have received authorisation from the LIR that holds the responsibility for that address range.

6.0 Where to Learn More

The following resources are available to help you use the RIPE Database.

6.1 Help

A query for "help" will return a full list of all of the 'flags' that you can use when you query the database. While we covered some of these in this document, there are many others.

To receive detailed information about an object type and all of its attributes, query for:

-v <object-type>

6.2 Database FAQ

The Database Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are available at:

http://www.ripe.net/data-tools/db/faq

We frequently update this page with helpful information based on the needs of users and new features offered by the software.

6.3 RIPE Database Documents

The definitive source of information for the RIPE Database is the RIPE Database Document Library:

http://www.ripe.net/data-tools/support/documentation

Here you can find the latest versions of the RIPE Database Reference Manuals, which contain detailed information about all of the topics covered in this guide, as well as other relevant documents covering how to use the RIPE Database.

6.4 LIR Training Courses

The RIPE NCC provides training for Local Internet Registries. You can find more  information about this at:

http://www.ripe.net/lir-services/training

6.5 Specific Questions

If you have a specific question that has not been answered in this guide, send it to <ripe-dbm _at_ ripe _dot_ net>. A RIPE NCC customer service representative will answer your mail.

You can also post a question to the <db-help _at_ ripe _dot_ net> mailing list. You can find  information about this list at:

http://www.ripe.net/ripe/mail/ripe-lists/database-help