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How many Domain Controllers do i Need?

Posted on 2011-03-14
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have a network of about 1200 computers. I have two Win 2003 R2 domain controllers running AD, DNS, DHCP and DFS for the redirected start menu folders (low load on DFS)

1. HP DL380 G4, Single Xeon 3.2Ghz, 2GB RAM, Mirrored drive
2. Dell Poweredge 1450, Single Xeon 2.8GHz, 4.5GB RAM

Both are a global catalog
We don't currently use exchange

This is a college environment with 6 lessons changes per day, so at least 6 log ons and log offs per computer. We also have a print system, and intranet which is linked into AD for authentication.

This is a single site environment.

How many DCs should I have? Is 2 sufficient?

Thanks.
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Question by:gmbaxter
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11 Comments
 
LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:RickSheikh
ID: 35132779
Yes.
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:RickSheikh
ID: 35132783
You should minimally have two.
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LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Glen Knight
ID: 35132793
Yes it is, where it becomes more evident is if you have lots of policies and they are being applied at logon, but single site 2 DC's should be enough.

Personlly, I would want another one in there too ;) but mainly so I can take one down without effecting perfromance too much.
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Accepted Solution

by:
Paul MacDonald earned 125 total points
ID: 35132812
You only need one.  Two is much better due to the redundancy.  Depending on how your computers are distributed, you might want additional DCs at remote sites, but presuming your network is essentially flat and all the computers are on the same campus, you can probably get away with just the two.
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Expert Comment

by:RickSheikh
ID: 35132826
However I would like to upgrade the DCs to Windows Server 2008 R2 to take advantage of additional features : http://technet.microsoft.com/en-au/library/dd378796%28WS.10%29.aspx
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LVL 57

Expert Comment

by:Mike Kline
ID: 35132908
How big is your ntds.dit?  Just wondering because you will see a good perf gain if you have enough memory to cache ntds.dit.  
I also agree about taking advantage of 2008 R2

There was a similar question at the TechNet forums too http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/winserverDS/thread/0af01850-eccb-488a-9c53-7bda784e96b6

On another note a few weeks ago at the MVP summit we did ask the AD team to update AD Sizer...I don't think that is on the top of their priority list :)

Thanks

Mike
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:kdearing
ID: 35133708
Agree with dmazter, I would prefer a third.
Another benefit is that you could go through your upgrade process one server at a time without interrupting production time.
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LVL 11

Author Comment

by:gmbaxter
ID: 35217416
Thanks for the comments. I think i'll deploy a third DC as a virtual guest.

How should I distribute the fsmo roles between the 3 servers?

Also domain functional level is currently 2000 should I upgrade this?
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LVL 11

Assisted Solution

by:RickSheikh
RickSheikh earned 125 total points
ID: 35217553
PDCe and RID Master should be on the same box, and preferrably on a physical box. The rest can be distributed as you see fit. As its a single domain forest, and if all DCs will be GCs then Infrastructure Master and should be insignificant.
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LVL 34

Expert Comment

by:Paul MacDonald
ID: 35218070
If the servers are 2003, there's no reason no to elevate the schema to 2003 as well.

Make all the DCs GC servers.  PDC Emluator and RID Master should co-exist.  The rest of the roles you can spread around as you like.
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Author Closing Comment

by:gmbaxter
ID: 35236734
Thanks for the replies
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