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Dns And DHCP failover

Posted on 2011-09-11
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
We have 30 branches in our organization and they each have their one server for DNS and DHCP. They are all on their own sub-net.  About 90% are Citrix Zero Clients.   I am looking for an option to provide fail over in case one of these servers would go down and the wire is still  up.  I would assume you can do something with DHCP scopes and Reverse DNS but not 100%.  We are looking to a product to do this now but its going to be around 30k which is a big pill to swallow.  Please help me find some alternative options!!  Thanks
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Question by:acinphilly
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10 Comments
 
LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:Papertrip
ID: 36519484
What server-side software are you using for DNS and DHCP?  Which OS?
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Author Comment

by:acinphilly
ID: 36519504
Its a mix of Server 2k3 and 2k8 a DC in each branch.  We are going to bring them all up to 2k8 in the future.
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LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:Papertrip
ID: 36519524
Ah well in that case setting up a backup DC is probably the best idea, and not just for DNS and DHCP redundancy.  I don't think your branch offices will be too happy if their only DC died :)
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LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:SysExpert
ID: 36519572
You should consider using virtuaization.

If you have 2 servers at each location, then virtualize them, and add a 2nd DC or other high availablilty, without adding additional servers.

ESXi Hypervisor is free and will run on most server hardware.

I hope this helps !
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 36519647
"Ah well in that case setting up a backup DC is probably the best idea, and not just for DNS and DHCP redundancy."

I have already explained this in another question but he didnt like the idea!!
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Author Comment

by:acinphilly
ID: 36519656
And I still don't.  There is an average of 5 people in each branch so 2 servers for 5 people seems a bit silly.    The Zero clients point EVERYTHING to the server farms in in the headquarters.  So only DHCP and DNS is the main and only functionality and redundancy I need.  Adding an additional 30 servers that have to be managed and if we change any thing on the scopes is not efficient.    
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LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:Papertrip
ID: 36519744
Oh, so the only services you are using on the DC are DNS and DHCP?  No user accounts or group policies or mail relay or anything?

For the DNS part, just add a secondary/tertiary nameserver for hosts in each location that points to a DC at another location.

The DHCP part isn't as straight forward and would require maybe some relay agents and perhaps some routing magic, but I'm not totally sure about that whole process, don't know anyone who does DHCP between offices ;)

It really isn't silly to have 2 redundant DNS/DHCP servers in each location, even for 5 people.  Your question, and these solutions, are for if the local machine goes down and there is still a link.  What if the local DC goes down AND the network is having issues?  You can put a DNS and DHCP server onto like a $100 server and be just fine, not like we're talkin about multi-thousand's per additional server.

SPOF == bad.
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Author Comment

by:acinphilly
ID: 36519779
No, again the zero clients point to the main server farm so everything is in the main office.  We are setting up a 3g backup for the network in case that has a problem.  We are looking into using Ip helper on to the routers so if the DHCP server goes down it will forward them to another location.  The problem is that some routers we manage and some we do not.  If the network is having problems  then it doesn't matter how many servers you have.  Never heard of a 100$ server with the Operating System.  If you know where I can get one for 100bucks with the Os I would look into it.
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LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:Papertrip
ID: 36519805
no clients are using the DC's?  You originally said about 90% were the zero clients centrally managed at HQ, so I assumed the other 10% were using the DC.

There are hundreds of servers for sale on eBay that are well below $100, and that are still way overkill for just DNS and DHCP servers.  Buy one, toss CentOS on it with bind and dhcpd, and you are set.
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LVL 42

Accepted Solution

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kevinhsieh earned 1000 total points
ID: 36520350
All you need to do is enable ip helper on the routers and configure the DHCP scopes on your central server(s). Ip helper is the easiest. You can also configure DHCP on the routers. Either way it is fairly trivial, but you will have to ask the manager of your routers to do it. Adding another server just adds another piece of equipment to fail, and there is ZERO benefit over having it on the router.
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