Microsoft Adsizer tool works out your Active Directory domain

Learn about the Active Directory Sizer tool, a Microsoft utility design to determine the hardware requirements for your AD domain.

Determining your hardware needs for a new Active Directory domain can be a hit or miss proposition. Microsoft has

endeavored to simplify this shot-in-the-dark activity by developing the Active Directory Sizer tool. The Active Directory Sizer tool (Adsizer) is a multi-faceted wizard that asks questions about your existing or proposed domain. It then uses your responses to generate a suggested hardware configuration to meet your needs and performance requirements.

From the following categories of inputs:

  • Total number of users in the domain
  • Total number of attributes per user
  • Average number of groups a user belongs to
  • Average logon rate per second during peak hours (interactive, batch and network)
  • Password expiration rate (in days)
  • Number of Windows 2000-based computers in the domain
  • Number of other computers in this domain
  • Number of other objects published in this domain
  • Desired average CPU utilization limit for each Domain Controller
  • Preferred CPU type for domain controllers
  • Administration workload
  • Microsoft Exchange 2000 usage
  • DNS related issues
  • Other Active Directory-enabled application issues

From these inputs, the Adsizer tool generates a report that indicates the suggested:

  • Domain controllers per domain per site.
  • Global Catalog servers per domain per site.
  • CPUs per machine and type of CPU.
  • Disks needed for Active Directory data storage.
  • Amount of memory required.
  • Network bandwidth utilization.
  • Domain database size.
  • Global Catalog database size.
  • Inter-site replication bandwidth required.

You can download the Adsizer tool from Microsoft.


James Michael Stewart is a partner and researcher for Itinfopros, a technology-focused writing and training organization.


This was first published in December 2003

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