Multiple AD servers in a Windows 2008 Server R2 environment

Posted on 2011-04-19
Last Modified: 2012-06-22
Here is the scenario:

I recently moved my company to a new Windows 2008 R2 network environment.


I wanted to provide some measure of redundancy and DR for my network environment, so I have two Active Directory (AD) servers.  The "Primary" AD server is MGMT04 and has the FSMO roles on it, as well as the global catalog and is he Primary DNS server for MYCOMPANY.LAN, SOUTHEAST.MYCOMPANY.LAN and CAPITAL.MYCOMPANY.LAN

When I installed the 2nd AD server called MGMT02, it installed DNS and it is the secondary DNS for all of those IP DNS domains.  

Ok, this is all no big deal.

However, Win 2008 R2 did something a little different than what 2003 server did when installing a secondary AD controller, and I want to make sure I fully understand how this works.

When i installed the secondary AD server, the wizard prompted me to also install the Global Catalog on this guy because of the multiple DNS domains.  I did so.

The question I have is this.

If the Primary AD server MGMT04 ever goes down, (hopefully NEVER), what is the procedure then for promoting the Secondary AD server of MGMT02 to be the primary AD server?  Do the FSMO roles just automatically switch without any intervention on my part?  I know I would have to manually change the DNS IP both Forward and Reverse domains to be the Primary, but what about the AD?

Thank you in advance for any direction on this,
Question by:jgrammer42
    LVL 9

    Accepted Solution

    With Active Directory, there is no primary and secondary.  All AD servers are equivilent, so if the first server goes down, there should be no issues.

    Author Comment


    Ah, so in my case, the server of MGMT02 provides fail-over protection without any intervention on my part?  (other than the DNS change, I mean.)

    Is that a correct evaluation, or am I missing something?

    Thank you,
    LVL 9

    Expert Comment

    Pretty much.  Even the DNS shouldn't  be an issue, since if the primary DNS is not responding, the client will make the request from the secondary.  Changing the secondary DNS to Primary in the event of a failure will just make queries marginally quicker.

    Author Comment


    Thank you very much.  I just wanted to make sure I clearly understood what was going on in the event of a need for DR.

    Thank you again,

    Author Closing Comment

    Answer was complete and response was excellent.

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