Using a Windows 2008 Server as an additional Domain controller for a Windows 2008 R2 Domain controller (but in Windows 2008 mode)

Posted on 2011-04-26
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have a need to add a Windows 2008 Domain controller to a Windows 2008 R2 Domain controller, the latter being still in Windows 2008 mode (not R2 mode). Would this be a problem?

Here is what I'm trying to do:

I have an upcoming class that's based on Windows 2008. I have two servers on which to host Windows 2008 servers and related applications: a quad-core workstation with plenty of memory and drives, and an old Dell 6-blade server. The former is 64-bit and the latter is 32-bit.

On the 64-bit server, I'm running Windows 2008 Server R2 Datacenter with a Domain controller, DNS, and DHCP running in a virtual instance (ROOT-DC1). I also have Exchange 2010 (EXHANGE-1) and System Center Essentials 2010 (SCE2010) running in their own virtual instances.

In the classroom is the 32-bit blade server, which has six blades within it.

For security reasons, I'd like the ability to remove the 64-bit server when I'm not having class (this unit belongs to me personally, and I'm not the only instructor using the room.) Furthermore, I'm not completely comfortable relying completely on a single point of failure.

What I'm hoping to do is attach the 64-bit server to the network, setup one of the 32-bit Windows 2008 Server blades as a second Domain controller (ROOT-DC2) and have it serve as the Domain controller, DNS, and DHCP when the 64-bit server isn't physically there.


Assuming I installed the forest and Domain in Windows 2008 mode as opposed to Windows 2008 R2 mode, is there anything special I have to do to add a 32-bit Domain controller (ROOT-DC2) to the root Domain?

What might I have to do to have ROOT-DC2 serve as a redundant DNS and DHCP server?

I realize that I will have to attach the 64-bit server to the network regularly to ensure that they don't tombstone or whatever it is occurs when Domain controllers lose contact with one another for extended periods.
Question by:shrudlu
    LVL 18

    Accepted Solution

    Hi Shrudlu,

    1. Nothing, just ensure DNS is pointing to your existing DC, followed by DCPROMO

    2. Ensure the new DC is a GC and setup an additional DHCP scope (50/50 split) which does not conflict with the scope setup on the first DC.

    Best of luck!
    LVL 29

    Assisted Solution

    x32 -vs- x64 doesn't mean squat to a Domain beyond the fact that 08R2 does not come in an x32 form..
    "Blades" don't mean squat in this context.
    You either have a physical server to do what you need,...or you don't,...I don't know what to tell you there.

    DCs and Domains.......
    The R2 makes a difference.  You have to update the '08 Domain to an '08R2 Domain using Domain Prep and Forest Prep from the '08R2 installation disk.  Then you can join the R2 machine tot he Domain and DCPromo it.
    Once done, is permanent,...there is no going back to Pre-R2 short of a restore from a backup.

    Author Comment

    The root Domain that happens to be on the R2 Server was set up in 2008 mode, the next one "down" from 2008 R2. I did this to (hopefully) allow me to add additional Windows 2008 (non-R2) Domains.

    My mention of bits and platforms was simply my way of expressing that the existing forest and root Domain controller is on a Windows 2008 Server R2 box (but operating in non-R2 2008 mode), and that the intended additional Domain controller will be on a box that can't run R2 and will forever be on Windows 2008 (non-R2).

    I suppose that my question is whether I can eventually "upgrade" the existing 2008 Domain and forest to R2 Domain and forest and have it work on the additional Domain controllers that happen to be on Windows 2008 (non-R2) servers. When I dcpromo the Windows 2008 (non-R2) server to create the additional Domain controller, would it operate in R2 mode by virtue of that process, or would I have to run domainprep on it after the promotion?
    LVL 29

    Assisted Solution

    As far as I know the answer to that would basically be "yes".   What makes a Domain "R2" or "Pre-R2" is whether or not the Schema has been updated,.....(not the Functional Level).

    You update the Schema with Forest Prep and Domain Prep,...that makes it an "R2" Schema.  At that point the Functional Level determines the minimum DC.  So if the Functional Level is "straight" 2008 then you can have both 2008 and 2008R2 DCs even though technically it is a R2 Domain,...but if the Functional Level is raised to "R2" then all DCs have to be 2008R2.

    Both the Domain/Forest Prep process and the raising of the Functional Level are non-reversible once performed.   The Domain/Forest Prep process gives you the foundation for the R2 Domain by preparing the schema,....the Functional Level enables the features of the R2 Domain that the schema update made possible.
    LVL 18

    Expert Comment

    Did my comment to the original second question not help?

    Author Comment

    OK. I'm still familiarizing myself with the protocols of this site. All of the answers were useful, and I'll acknowledge them as such properly as soon as I'm not reading this on a cell phone screen.

    Author Comment

    I fixed the scoring, per protocol.

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