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Advantages and disadvantages of DNS on domain controllers

What are the advantages and disadvantages of installing DNS on our domain controllers (DC) rather than having separate DNS servers? We currently run a Windows NT 4.0 domain with no DNS. We have three servers that we plan to use as domain controllers and/or DNS servers when we go to ADS. Thanks.

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Advantages of DNS on DCs:

  • DNS can be configured to allow dynamic secure updates, enhancing the security of your DNS infrastructure.
  • DNS will be Active Directory integrated -- all the DCs can update and replicate the DNS entries. This adds to fault tolerance and lowers your management efforts to maintain DNS.

    Disadvantages of DNS on DCs:

  • A change from the ordinary -– generally, legacy DNS solutions are Unix based. The Unix administrators may not like the MS DNS solution too much and will have to be trained, although this is not really a big deal.
  • I wouldn't use a DC as an EXTERNAL DNS system. That is, if you have a DNS server that responds to requests from the Internet, I would definitely NOT use a DC. You can STILL use MS DNS, but just don't put a domain controller in a public realm. There are some concerns over speed, although the MS DNS will operate admirably for most cases, if you have a lot of entries, you could be a little disappointed with Windows 2000 DNS performance (Windows 2003 is another story!). But when I mean a lot of entries, I am talking about thousands like we have in our hosting solution.

This was first published in July 2003

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