Best practices to manage DHCP server

I have Windows Server 2012 and I've been planing to install DHCP server in Windows since I have DNS and Domain in that server, but my networks utilizes switch's DHCP and I am wondering what is the best practices to manage DHCP is it to use core switch's DHCP or Windows Server DHCP?
Jeff BalbalosaSystem Analyst/ProgrammerAsked:
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MASEE Solution Guide - Technical Dept HeadCommented:
Hi Jeff,
Please check these.
1.Install DHCP and ensure it is AD-integrated.
2. Reserve a range for servers, Reserve a range for wireless users, and reserve a range for printers,scanners and other devices.
i.e. you have to exclude this range from DHCP scope.
3. Schedule backup for DHCP server
4. Ensure it is dynamically updating.

You might want to read through the following info:
Your DNS and DHCP should be "linked".
Hoc monkey, the more you can centralize control the better, simpler it is to manage versus having to go to a switch to make sure there was no typo there that defined the wrong segment

Not sure though a switch can have a DHCP server, commonly the switches have IP helpers, DHCP relay agents that are defined and forward DHCP/bootp packets seen to a predefined server or set of servers.

I think the links provided would cover the setup of two DHCP servers where the scope is decided 70/30 between the DHCP server using ip exclusion to make sure each server can only issue unique IPs on the network.

Your setup vlan, and then using DHCP server super scopes ..... For each vlan....
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I prefer to have the Windows Server do the DHCP over a switch or router.  In general, you'll find it more flexible and easier to backup or to migrate.  You'll likely find better support for the Server DHCP as there are far fewer "flavors" than the many different switches you'll run into.
I am wondering what is the best practices to manage DHCP is it to use core switch's DHCP or Windows Server DHCP?

There is no best practice as to what DHCP server you run. If you do have a fully AD integrated environment though, I would recommend using Windows DHCP servers. Since Server 2012 Windows DHCP now has High Availability (hot standby or load balanced) without needing to Cluster which has made everything super awesome. Beyond that Windows DHCP integrates seamlessly with Active Directory and Windows DNS. Beyond that DHCP now has an extensive list of PowerShell cmdlets which easily facilitates automation and DevOps. You can build custom tools to do whatever you want without having to pony up cash to some software vendor (if you have the skill set ... if not start learning).

In summary, there is no such thing as best practice on what DHCP server you use, there is only what works best for your environment.
Jeff GloverSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
To put it succinctly, it depends on what you want. If you are an infrastructure person, then you would want to go with the Core Router but most Windows people use Windows DHCP. IT integrates nicely with Windows DNS (Dynamically updating). I prefer Window DHCP for most things since It is easier to manage. We only use a Routers DHCP in places where a Server is unavailable (small remote offices and on a dedicated VLAN for our Avaya Phones) Otherwise. we use Windows.
Randy DownsOWNERCommented:
Best practice is to use Windows Server DHCP & DNS. The whole point of having a Windows server is for central management of your network.
Craig BeckCommented:
In an AD environment use the server.
Blue Street TechLast KnightCommented:
Hi Jeff,

There are many reasons in an AD environment to use DHCP in Windows opposed to anything else. The answer in which is more beneficial is obvious after you compare what Windows DHCP server can do over a network device.

Best Practices states Windows should always manage DHCP. IMO, in micro environments (20 users or less) I don't think it really matters all that much but in larger environments Windows should manage DHCP definitively. Nonetheless, here are a few reason why Windows should manage DHCP:
  • DHCP HA (High Availability) - especially when multiple physical locations are evolved. Sure you can HA your Firewall/UTM/Router but that would be n+1 not 2N;
  • DHCP LB (Load Balancing) - this parlays off of HA but its different; LB distributes the load where as HA is about failure or availability. Network devices can't do this;
  • Better Auditing - typically in routers they do not have an allocated logging system;
  • Centralized Management - again when dealing with multiple locations, with Windows you manage it in one pane of glass opposed to multiple panes/devices;
  • DHCP Options - typically Windows has more flexibility than a network device;
  • Auto DNS Registration - Windows will automatically register new DHCP leases in DNS;
  • Reconciliation - Windows has built-in procedures to fix inconsistencies, such as incorrect or missing information for client IP addresses, that are stored in scope lease information. Network devices do not;
  • Centralized Architecture - The Windows DC is the nerve center of all resources & services on the network and is designed to closely interact & interoperate with, among others, three keystone services/roles: ADDS (Active Directory Domain Services), DHCP & DNS. Furthermore, AD is designed and needs to coordinate many of its activities with the DNS and DHCP services;
  • IPv6 - Many network devices do not support IPv6 DHCP leasing. Server 2012 initiated IPv6 as a default because it is more secure, has built-in IPSec & will ultimately take over IPv4.

Let me know if you have any more questions!

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Randy DownsOWNERCommented:
While there doesn't seem to be a definitive answer all the comments have merit. I divided the point evenly & assigned best answer to Blue Street Tech since he gave a very detailed comment.
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