A PNRP cloud is a collection of computers participating in PNRP name lookups and registrations. PNRP uses two clouds – one for link local operations and the other for global communication through the internet.
You can create a private global cloud by setting up a seed server. Private global clouds are sometimes used by large organizations that aren’t ready to open up their networks to the IPv6 internet but need to enable name resolution across multiple subnets.
A seed server is just a well known PNRP node that can be used for bootstrapping. Microsoft maintains a number of seed servers on the public internet behind pnrpv2.ipv6.microsoft.com and pnrpv21.ipv6.microsoft.com. By default, PNRP v2.0 clients use these servers to start participating in the global cloud.
Any computer running pnrp can act as a seed server, it just needs to keep one name published at all times. A PNRP node without a name published will go dormant and stop learning about the cloud as it changes.
The easiest way to keep a name published is to setup a Windows Internet Computer Name (WICN) on a machine running Windows Vista. Instructions to guide you through WICN setup can be found here:
There are a number of ways that you can configure client systems to use your new seed server.
Vista keeps a list of seed servers in the registry under the key:
You can view and modify this key directly, or you can use NetSH.
netsh p2p pnrp cloud set seed <address|hostname> <cloud>
Alternatively, you can use your corporate DNS server or the Windows hosts file to override pnrpv2.ipv6.microsoft.com and pnrpv21.ipv6.microsoft.com (default seed servers).
PNRP is not designed to deal with multiple global clouds, so you have to take special care to make sure your custom cloud doesn’t merge with the global cloud on the public internet. A single computer accidently connected to multiple clouds will start an irreversible merging process. Network edge controls are a good way to prevent this.
If you’re thinking of setting up a custom seed server, we would like to hear from you. The link local pnrp cloud is good enough for most scenarios inside a corporation. If you’re experimenting with PNRP and considering it for development, let us know so that we can supply you with the best possible guidance and link you into the Microsoft peer-to-peer community.
Tyler (tylbart at microsoft.com)