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The principles of upgrading Windows NT Domains

With Win2k's flexible Active Directory comes complexity. Here are six steps for effective namespace design.

The Principles of Upgrading Windows NT Domains

From Windows 2000 Active Directory by Alistair G. Lowe-Norris, O'Reilly and Associates, 2000.

There are many reasons that you will want to upgrade your Windows NT Domains to Windows 2000, not the least of which is to make use of Active Directory and other features. It's possible to have significantly fewer domains in Windows 2000 because each domain can now store one to two million objects, and each forest can store more than 10 million objects. While fewer domains means less administration, the added benefit of using organizational units to segregate objects makes the Windows 2000 Active Directory represent a business more accurately, both geographically and organizationally, and is a significant step forward. Couple this with the ability to set ACLs on objects and their properties in Active Directory, and you get much more fine-grained control for administrative delegation than before. You also can start phasing out old services, such as Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS) and extraneous Windows NT Backup Domain Controller (BDC) servers, since the clients now make more efficient use of DCs via TCP/IP and the DNS. With all of these improvements, the goals of upgrading a domain are easy to state:

  • Reduce the number of domains in use since it is easier to administer fewer domains

  • Gain an extensible schema that allows much more corporate information to be stored than was previously possible

  • Create a hierarchical namespace that as closely as possible mirrors the organizational structure of the business

  • Gain much more fine-grained control over delegation of administration without needing to resort to the use of multiple domains

  • Reduce network bandwidth use by DCs through both multiuser replication and a significantly more efficient set of replication algorithms

  • Reduce the number of PDCs/BDCs to a smaller number of DCs through a more efficient use of DCs by clients

  • Eliminate the need for reliance on WINS servers and more to the Internet-standard DNS for name resolution

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This was last published in March 2000

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