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Active Directory usage / limits

Our Active Directory controller is currently running Windows Server 2003 SP2.  It's on a machine with a Pentium IV processor running at 3.0 GHz and 1 GB of memory.  We have about 45 actual users, and expect to be migrating about 45 more over from another network system.

The 45 new users are used to having access to the entire state-wide Global Address List to find the phone numbers, mailing addresses, etc. of both state and city employees.  We're able to get a dump of the state's directory with all the information we want, so I was thinking we could just add an OU to our directory and recreate a subset of the state's GAL as contacts.  The only problem is that this subset is still about 13,000 entries long.

I was just wondering what sort of impact this would have on our Active Directory, our domain controller, and our users' general experience.  I have no problem writing code to do the initial dump into the directory, and then to do subsequent comparisons (updates, inserts and removals) on a periodic basis, but I don't want everything to blow up because of some practical limit that I don't know about.
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kevincasey
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kevincasey
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SembeeCommented:
This just has disaster written all over it.
13000 objects in the GAL will make the GAL close to useless.
That would be larger than the GAL of some major companies.

What I would be looking to do is use public folders, with the directory split up over separate folders. Another option would be to use something else completely to host the directory.

Simon.

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kevincaseyAuthor Commented:
I understand how large the GAL would become, but the users are coming from a system that contains about 30,000 entries in the GAL.  We were able to narrow it down simply by limiting it to a specific geographic region.

That certainly not supported by the client computers, as most are Pentium III machines with 512 MB of memory and Outlook 2000.  [Internally, the users will be migrating to new Intel Core 2 Duo machines with 2 GB of RAM and running Outlook 2007.]  The problem is that everyone is used to working with the giant GAL, and don't have any other way of finding the information stored in it.

What sort of infrastructure on the server side would be required to support an AD with 15,000 or so objects?
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SembeeCommented:
It isn't just how large the GAL would become, but managing it. If you have users who have come from a GAL of that size then I can pretty much guarantee that there was not one person managing that Exchange server environment. It would have contained anything upwards of 15 - 20 Exchange servers, with a similar number of domain controllers.
Windows can cope with that number of objects, whether your users can or able to admin it is a different matter.

Simon.

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kevincaseyAuthor Commented:
The large GAL is managed by the state, of which I can get dumps in a CSV format.  I can write the scripts necessary to translate the output of a diff on two CSV files into commands to update our AD as necessary.  I'm not worried about the management.

Can our environment, technically, handle this sort of explosive growth in the AD, and subsequently in the GAL?
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LauraEHunterMVPCommented:
From a technical standpoint, Active Directory can scale to house millions of objects.  How well your server hardware handles 15,000 will depend on how that data gets used - if 3 people are looking up 5 contacts a day, the hardware won't even notice it, but if every user on the network is doing hundreds of lookups an hour, that could be another story.
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kevincaseyAuthor Commented:
We've recently migrated to a sharepoint server, and this information was all dumped into an address list.
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