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Setting up a Backup DNS Server

Posted on 2007-04-04
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How do I go about setting up a backup DNS on my network in case the primary goes down?
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Question by:Jackspiner
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by:NJComputerNetworks
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1) add a windows 2003 server to the network..  point DNS to the existing DNS server
2) run DCPROMO on the new Widnows 2003 server to make this a domain controller

3) After the server is a domain controller wait for replication to occur...
4) now set the DNS TCP/IP option on the new server to point to itself as secondary DNS.

Configure all member server and client to also point to the new DNS server as secondary DNS server.  
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You may also consider making the new DC a global catalog server, WINS server, and DHCP server (however, don't overlap the scopes...split the scope ranges between the two server.)
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If you are going to set up a backup DNS server on a windows network you might as well go the whole hog and set up a backup Domain controllers as well and integrate DNS into active dirrectory the process is as follows

Install Windows 2003 on the new machine
Assign the new computer an IP address and subnet mask on the existing network
Make sure that the preferred DNS server on new machine points to the existing DNS Server on the Domain (normally the existing domain controller)

Join the new machine to the existing domain as a member server

If the new Windows 2003 server is the ‘R2’ version and the existing set-up is not then you need to run Adprep  from CD2 of the R2 disks on the existing Domain controller. Adprep is in the \CMPNENTS\R2\ folder on CD2

From the command line promote the new machine to a domain controller with the DCPROMO command from the command line
Select ‘Additional Domain Controller in an existing Domain’

Once Active Directory is installed then to make the new machine a global catalog server, go to Administrative Tools, Active Directory Sites and Services, Expand ,Sites, Default first site and Servers. Right click on the new server and select properties and tick the ‘Global Catalog’ checkbox. (Global catalog is essential for logon as it needs to be queried to establish Universal Group Membership)

Assuming that you were using Active Directory Integrated DNS on the first Domain Controller, DNS will have replicated to the new domain controller along with Active Directory.

If you are using DHCP you should spread this across the domain controllers, In a simple single domain this is easiest done by Setting up DHCP on the second Domain controller and using a scope on the same network that does not overlap with the existing scope on the other Domain Controller. Don’t forget to set the default gateway (router) and DNS Servers. Talking of which all the clients (and the domain controllers themselves) need to have their Preferred DNS server set to one domain controller, and the Alternate DNS to the other, that way if one of the DNS Servers fails, the clients will automatically use the other,

Both Domain Controllers by this point will have Active Directory, Global Catalog, DNS and DHCP. and the domain could function for a while at least should any one of them fail. However for a fully robust system you need to be aware that the first domain controller that existed will by default hold what are called FSMO Roles. There are five of these roles that are held on a single server and are essential for the functioning of the network. If the second Domain Controller fails, then no problem as the FSMO roles are on the first Domain Controller. However if you intent to function with the second Domain Controller only, then the roles need to be moved to the Second Domain Controller. Ideally if this is a planned event you should cleanly transfer the FSMO roles, if it is an unplanned ‘emergency’ the FSMO roles can be seized (see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/255504)

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by:nstand
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Are you talkig about a backup for your internal network (i.e. AD integrated DNS) or an external DNS server serving your namespace detrails to the internet?
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