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Can SQL and AD exist on a single system?

Is it possible to have a SQL and AD on single system? Will there be any conflicts?

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It is certainly possible to install SQL Server on an Active Directory domain controller. However, this creates two potential issues that you need to be aware of.
  1. Additional processor and hard drive overhead will be required of the physical hardware, since both applications can be resource-intensive.

  2. From a security perspective, it's often preferable to separate mission-critical applications onto separate physical devices so that you can reduce the attack exposure on each machine. If your SQL Server is residing on your domain controller and an attacker were able to compromise the physical server using a SQL vulnerability, they would essentially have the "keys to the kingdom" since your sensitive AD information would also be compromised at that point.

This was first published in November 2005

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