SBS 2003 and DNS settings


I work for a small company (10-20 employees) and we are running SBS 2003.  I would like to know what the ideal configuration for DHCP/DNS would be.  We have a cable modem which feeds to a router which feeds to our SBS server, and additional servers will be added at a later time.

Currently, the DHCP and DNS are handled by the SBS server.  The NIC is setup with the static IP address given by our ISP and it's external DNS are configured to point to our ISP.  However, if we need to restart the server, this causes our employees to lose the internet until the server comes back up.  (DNS is down)  So, I was thinking if we moved DNS to the router that would cure the problem?  Would that be the ideal situation though?

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Chris DentPowerShell DeveloperCommented:

Hi Torrwin,

It would solve the Internet access problem but introduce far more. Your users are dependant on the DNS Service on your SBS Server for Authentication and without it there they will find it very very slow to log on and access network shares.

That does mean there isn't much of a solution to the problem except get another server which can have the same DNS information as your SBS Server (routers normally can't as they don't operate that type of DNS Service).

Basically I would recommend you don't change the DNS settings.


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TorrwinAuthor Commented:
Ok, we do have another server running Windows Enterprise Server 2K3.  It's not a domain controller though.  How could I set it up so if Server 1 is down the workstations will look to Server 2 for DNS?
Chris DentPowerShell DeveloperCommented:

There are two ways, one involves making the 2k3 Server a DC though so might not be an option. For both options you will have to add the 2k3 server as a Alternate DNS in the TCP/IP configuration on your clients once everything is done.

Method 1. Create a Secondary Zone on the 2k3 Server:

The first bit of that is done on your SBS Server, open the DNS Console, expand Forward Lookup Zones, then right click on your domain name and select Properties. There should be a Zone Transfers tab under there, add in your 2K3 server IP, then click on Notify and do the same.

If it's not already installed you will need to add the DNS Service onto the 2k3 Server, this is done through Add/Remove Windows Components.

Now on the 2003 server open DNS Console (if it's not already), right click on Forward Lookup Zones and select New, Secondary. The Master is the IP of your SBS Server. Make sure you get a full copy of the zone by right clicking on your domain and selecting Transfer from Master.

Method 2. Make the 2k3 Server a Domain Controller:

SBS has no problems with you doing this, and it would give you a greater level of redundancy on the whole. To do this simply install the DNS Service then run "DCPromo" which will begin the process.

Because of how AD works you'll end up with a copy of your DNS Zone on the 2k3 server once AD Replication has completed (as part of DCPromo).

For completion you should also make the 2k3 Server a Global Catalog. This is done through Active Directory Sites and Services by expanding your Site (Default-First-Site-Name unless you changed it), then Servers, then the 2k3 Server and finally opening the Properties for NTDS Settings. Under there you should see a little tick box for Global Catalog.


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TorrwinAuthor Commented:
Ok, I promoted it do a domain controller.  Is there anyway to set up the second DNS without going around to every machine?  

Some of our employees take their laptops home at night, and if their computers aren't set to automatically determine DNS (from their home network) then I don't think it's going to work. =\
Chris DentPowerShell DeveloperCommented:

Well DHCP would be ideal, but if you don't use that at all then I guess it could be scripted. You don't use DHCP on the users machines at all?

TorrwinAuthor Commented:
The SBS server is the DHCP server.  Is that what you mean?  If not, they all just have the default windows XP installation settings.
Chris DentPowerShell DeveloperCommented:

Then the settings just need changing in the DHCP server rather than on all the machines, which should make things a bit quicker.

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Windows Server 2003

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