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KEA is a new open source DHCPv4/DHCPv6 server being developed by Internet Systems Consortium. The objective of this project is to provide a very high-performance, extensible DHCP server engine for use by enterprises and service providers, either as is or with extensions and modifications.

DHCP Standardization efforts: The lead developer on KEA is co-chair of the Dynamic Host Configuration working group in the IETF. We are committed to providing a standards-compliant implementation and are closely tracking developments in this working group and evaluating them for inclusion in KEA.

Current Status

Kea 0.9 was released on August 29, 2014!

Tar ball package can be found on the downloads page or ISC ftp server.

The following major features are working.

  • Fully functional are DHCPv4, DHCPv6 and Dynamic DNS servers.
  • OpenSSL support.
  • IPv6 prefix delegation.
  • MySQL, Postgres back-end support.
  • Applications API is available and documented.
  • Linux, BSD and Mac OS X operating systems support.
  • On-line configuration - it is possible to update the configuration file and tell the servers to reload configuration without restarting the system,.

Known Issues List - known issues for current release.

Roadmap - future features, not yet implemented

To Do List? - running list of items to be done in the future

Older updates: #1 #2


Kea is a high performance server. It is able to handle over 1000 leases/sec (that is 4000 packets/sec) with a MySQL backend. We also have an experimental memfile backend that can do much more. To assess server performance, ISC has developed perfdhcp, a tool that is able to simulate thousands of clients and assess server responses.


We are looking for a small group (up to 6 total) of key collaborators at this point. Contact us via the Kea mailing list if you think you might be interested in working on Kea and sharing that work with the community. The primary things we need are:

  • Test coverage in different environments, with a variety of clients
  • Applications based on the Kea API, both to validate the API and to demonstrate the potential for DHCP applications.

Current collaborators

How to participate in this project

1) Subscribe to the Kea developers mailing list.

2) Read the User Guide (sections 16,17,18 and 19) and the Developer's Guide.

3) Download and build a KEA instance. For the latest KEA code, rather than downloading from the main ISC site, please use our public GIT repository.

4) Give us feedback via the mailing list or submit a bug (sub-project=dhcp). See below for information about the known issues.


Known Issues with Current Release

  • Known Issues - Kea is included in BIND10 1.2 release. This is a list of known issues in that release.
  • Kea defects - this is a list of known bugs in the engineering snapshot (the master branch in the Kea git repository)
  • Outstanding tasks - this is a list of tasks that we are planning to do. Sometimes the difference between a bug and a missing feature is thin.
  • Submit new bug - setting the milestone as Kea-proposed is appreciated.

Design Documents


  • Test Plan
  • build-bot - Kea is being built and unit-tests are being run on great variety of platforms.
  • Link to Jenkins tests - ISC is using Jenkins and ISC Forge system/conformance tests to validate Kea. Unfortunately, that system is not yet publicly available.

Kea and BIND10

Kea was developed as an application within the framework of the BIND10 project. In 2014, ISC decided to discontinue active development on BIND10 and continue development of Kea as a standalone DHCP server. As a result, the BIND10 components will be removed from Kea. We hope this will simplify long-term maintenance and reduce the footprint of Kea.

Getting in touch

  • Kea mailing list - feel free to post any Kea questions here
  • Kea developers list - for development discussions
  • [xmpp:// DHCP Jabber chatroom] - if you want to chat with developers.

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