Under Windows Server 2003, Active Directory replication is greatly improved. One of the most significant improvements to AD replication is the feature known as linked value replication. This feature allows individual or single values from a multi-value AD object to be replicated instead of forcing the whole object's collection of values to be replicated. This means that only the changes are transferred, rather than the entire object, which greatly reduces replication overhead, especially for large and complex objects. For example, adding a few members to a global group of 3,000 does not require all 3,003 user names to be transmitted to the other domain controllers. Instead, linked value replication lets you transmit only the three new names, which provides improved efficiency, speed and reliability.
By changing the way AD objects replicate, Microsoft was able to remove the maximum size limitation for AD objects.
Remember, to take full advantage of the improvements to Active Directory -- you must deploy Windows Server 2003 domain controllers only.
James Michael Stewart has co-authored numerous books on Microsoft, security certification and administration and is a regular speaker at NetWorld+Interop. Michael holds the following certifications: MCSE, MCT, CTT+, CISSP, TICSA, CIW SA, CCNA, MCSE NT & W2K and iNet+. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This was first published in April 2005