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Site Links

Posted on 2016-08-16
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Last Modified: 2016-08-29
I have a question regarding site links and site link bridges. When I look at the properties of my IP folder in Inter-site transports I see the option Bridge all site links" is checked. When I look at the site links configured in the same IP folder I see that each site is linked to headquarters. I also see a site link bridge configured that includes most  of the other sites with the exception of three that already have site links established. The configuration looks confusing.
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Question by:InSearchOf
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Senior IT System Engineer earned 500 total points
ID: 41758693
Hi InSearchOf,

You can have a better understanding from this article by Will Szymkowski: http://www.wsit.ca/how-tos/active-directory/active-directory-sites-and-services-part-1/

The "AD Site Link" and the "Physical link".  The AD site link doesn't really effect you.  It just help control your client communications in the background.  And as I mentioned earlier, these days, not as important as it was when AD first came out when there was actual slow links.

If you loose your "Physical Link" for a short amount of time, you'll probably be OK without a local DC   Users should be able to logon with cached credentials (usually enabled by default).  Once the user's cached token expires (when their password expires), you may have issues.  They will not be able to access the file or print server.  

Also by default the computers also update their trust relationship with the domain once a month.  If they can't connect to the DC to update their trust token, you will run into issues.

Physical link outages of a few hours, you'll be fine and probably have no or very minimal problems.  An outage of a few days without a local DC, you will likely see some issues.

By default site links provide transitivity.  Meaning resources in sites with traverse the site links to get to resources in other sites (i.e. replication).   This default behavior can be turned off.  If you do this, replication between sites will not occur.  You can create a site link bridge to connect two sites.  This will restore the connectivity.  

In the past typically different physical sites were poorly connected network wise.  AD adopted sites and services to deal with this.  You could define the different subnets for each site then assign the subnets to sites to match the physical topology of your network.  This AD would use the site topology to control how AD replication.  If would also use this information to control how user authenticate (users would first attempt to contact DCs in their local site).

These days with high speed and highly available links, the need to configure different sites is not really required.  Former AD design engagement we had with Microsoft Engineers had us create sites, these days they've recommended we collapse our sites into just one as we have highly available high speed links.

If you create a site in AD for a site the does not have a DC, it doesn't affect the way people logon or access the DC.  They will be all sent to the site that has a DC.
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by:InSearchOf
ID: 41759447
Thanks for the info. A lot to soak in between the link and your explanation. Let me ask this. All my sites have a DC. That being the case should I include all of them in the "Site link bridge" and get rid of the individual site link entries in the IP folder? The reason I ask is because I am having some replication issues with the sites that are not part of the "Site link bridge".
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by:Senior IT System Engineer
ID: 41775546
Hi InSearchOf,

No problem mate,
should I include all of them in the "Site link bridge" and get rid of the individual site link entries in the IP folder?

Regarding your question above, it means that when you include all AD sites into the member of:
domain.com/Configuration/Sites/Inter-Site Transports/IP/Company Site Link Bridge

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The AD replication topologies will become Full mesh instead of logical the way you want it to be like

Site A goes to Site C rather than Site B (due to bandwidth size).

You can do that if all of the AD site links are connected with ample bandwidth.
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