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DNS namespace in two domains

We are setting up our Active Directory and are having discussions about how many domains to have. We want to just have one domain but we're not sure it will work with a DNS namespace that is in two domains. It one is in the .edu and the other in .com. We go from one to the other using a DNS alias. Can we do all of the neat AD things with one domain or do we have to have two domains, one for .com and the other for .edu?

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You can do it all with a single domain. The domain doesn't even have to match either of them for that matter. However, you have to consider the ease of administration. You may want to have 2 AD domains just to match the DNS domains and ease the minds of administrators. You also have to consider Internet connectivity. Again, while you do not have to match the DNS domains and AD domains, it simplifies administration. If you go with a single domain, you will pick one and then use DNS connection specific suffixes on workstations that are in the other. So, if the primary domain (preferably the one with Internet exposure) is .edu, the domain would be something like For machines that are primarily using the .com DNS domain, you would make a connection specific DNS suffix of .com. Hopefully you would be using DHCP and could configure this automatically. Check out the Microsoft Windows 2000 TCP/IP Core Networking Guide (part of the Windows 2000 Resource Kit), Chapter 4 & 5. It is a pretty decent discussion of the DNS implementation and reliance of AD on DNS structures for Windows 2000.

This was first published in May 2001

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