The Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS) has several key updates that administrators should be aware of for Windows Server 2003. WINS enables computers to register and resolve NetBIOS names. It is maintained primarily for backward compatibility with early versions of Windows (including Windows 95, Windows 98 and NT) that used it for computer name resolution, as well as for networks running Windows 2000 or later that don't have Active Directory directory service deployed and thus don't require DNS. On most large networks, WINS is needed to support Windows 95, Windows 98 and NT computers.
On most networks that use WINS, you'll want to configure at least two WINS servers for name resolution. When there are multiple WINS servers, you can configure replication of database entries between the servers. Replication allows for fault tolerance and load balancing by ensuring that entries in one server's database are replicated to its replication partners. These replication partners can then handle renewal and release requests from clients as if they held the primary registration in the first place.
Here is a list of the key WINS updates in Windows Server 2003:
- Persistent connections. In a standard configuration, replication partners establish and release connections each time they replicate WINS database changes.
- With persistent connections,
replication partners can be configured to maintain a persistent connection. This reduces the
overhead associated with opening and closing connections and speeds up the replication process.
- Automatic replication partners. This update allows WINS to automatically configure
itself for replication with other WINS servers. To do this, WINS sends periodic multicast messages
to announce its availability. These messages are addressed to the WINS multicast group address
(18.104.22.168). Any other WINS servers on the network that are listening for datagrams sent on this
group address can receive and process the automatic replication request. Once replication is set up
with multicast partners, the partners use standard replication with either persistent or
- Manual tombstoning lets admins mark records for deletion. A record marked for deletion
is said to be tombstoned. This state is then replicated to a WINS server's replication partners,
which prevents the record from being re-created on a replication partner and then being replicated
back to the original server on which it was marked for deletion.
- The record export
About the author: Rahul Shah currently works at a software firm in India, where he is a systems administrator maintaining Windows servers.
More information on this topic:
- White Paper: In
depth about WINS
- Topics: WINS
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This was first published in July 2006