Active Directory and Domain Controllers with Exchange and Terminal Services

Posted on 2006-06-03
Last Modified: 2010-04-18
I am planning my network as follows:

Server 1: Server 2003, Domain Controller, File Server, Print Server, Terminal Services Licensing Server

Server 2: Microsoft Exchange 2003, Server 2003, Application Server, and Active Directory

Server 3: Terminal Services Server, server 2003

Server 4: SQL 2005 Server, Server 2003 x64

Both my Domain Controller and Microsoft Exchange are using Active Directory.  My Question is:  Have I planned my domain controller and use of Active Directory correctly?  I know that Exchange requires active directory, so would I even need active directory on my domain controller?  

Any advice?
Question by:tashmore
    LVL 8

    Accepted Solution


    Server 2
    It is best not to put exchange on a domain controler, you can do it but it has issues (unless you configure a shutdown script it will take 20+ mins to shutdown the exchange server)

    Also if AD fails on that server you can loose exchange (you cant uninstall AD in safe mode so if AD crashes and your system state backup is also bad then you need to reinstall server 2003 + exchange and hope your exchange backup is good) I have had that happen to me, lucaly my exchange backup was fine (system state failed to backup that day) Tip always backup systemstate daily, and another one weekly

    In an ideal world you would want two DCs that have nothing installed on them but AD

    Server 1 AD
    Server 2 AD (if need be then services like wsus)

    Unless you have a huge userbase 1000's these can be cheaper servers (1gm ram + hardware raid) The dell PowerEdge 850 with SATA raid is cheap enough

    Both these servers would have no software installed on them other then AD. This minimises the changes on the server so less likely AD will get messed up. If you cant dedecated both servers to AD and nothing else .. think hard about dedecating one. It is your core network.

    If posable do that.

    Server 3 good
    Server 4 good (i beleve sql 2005 is x64 native compadable)
    Server 5 File server + applications

    Author Comment

    Let me recap:  The ideal configuration would be:

    server 1 -- First DC (AD, Licensing for terminal services, DNS, DHCP)
    server 2 -- Second DC (AD, File Server, Print Server, Backup Software)
    server 3 -- Terminal Services Server, MS Access
    server 4 -- SQL Server
    server 5 -- Microsoft Exchange

    if I am limited to 5 servers--is this a good plan?

    LVL 8

    Assisted Solution

    Yup that would work

    BTW you can put Licensing for terminal services on the same computer as terminal server.

    It is best to put as little on DCs as you can. If you can put nothing on them you are great. If you have to put files on them you can live with that.

    I prefer to put files and application on their own servers. This comes to light when you are having problems with AD. You dont want to have everyone close their files and network applications because you need to reboot the DC in the mittle of the day.

    The same thing with terminal services, i have seem ppl install there applications there (non ts based apps) and them ts has issues and needs to restart. This means that everyone has to close their apps before a simple reboot can happen.

    Featured Post

    Better Security Awareness With Threat Intelligence

    See how one of the leading financial services organizations uses Recorded Future as part of a holistic threat intelligence program to promote security awareness and proactively and efficiently identify threats.

    Join & Write a Comment

    It is a known fact that servers reach the end of their lives. Some get there quicker than others, based on age, manufacturer, usage and several other factors. However, if your organization has spent time deploying Microsoft's Active Directory server…
    Learn about cloud computing and its benefits for small business owners.
    It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages.
    Internet Business Fax to Email Made Easy - With eFax Corporate (, you'll receive a dedicated online fax number, which is used the same way as a typical analog fax number. You'll receive secure faxes in your email, fr…

    730 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    16 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now