Second Domain Controller

Custom / CUSTOM
May 24, 2010 at 18:54:53
Specs: Windows XP, Q6600/4.00 GB PC8500

I have 3 servers, one is a DC, another for Exchange and the 3rd is for Terminal Services and Internet Connectivity.

Now, here is what I did. I was advised to set up another domain controller since the one only domain controller has no redundency. It has no RAID on it, just running on a Single 320 GB Hard Drive. Also, thats the only domain controller in my network.

So, I set up a 2nd domain controller. It is my old Dell Dimension 8100 Desktop PC.

Is this a good domain controller to run 24/7? The Domain Controller is running on a single 60 GB Hard Drive.

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May 25, 2010 at 08:19:24
Not to be rude but, neither computer is a "good" domain controller based on the lack of redundancy.

I'm guessing you're doing this at home because of your lack of real servers with RAID capability. If this is the case, then it's likely you can't afford servers in which case, the answer is, "Yes, if the machine you installed the server OS on runs it ok, and you don't have it running any other services, then it should work ok as a redundant DC".

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May 27, 2010 at 08:31:10
Curt, it doesn't matter if its in a Home or if its in a Business network, it matters with the amount of money you have. I can still run it in a home, but I can run 6 servers with proper raid capability still and in a business environment, if the network is small, you only run one server and put everything on it without the knowledge of why you shouldn't do that.

I DO have a RAID 1 Server, but its been used as an Exchange Server. My Domain Controller also has the capibility of RAID, but I will need another hard drive and I only have 1 320 GB hard drive on it. A second 320 GB IDE Hard Drive will cost me another 90 dollars especially when its no longer manufactured. That is why I made the old desktop an extra domain controller.

What should I do? Should I buy another hard drive or find two small 40 GB IDE Hard Drives and RAID them? Where do I find matched ide hard drives?

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May 28, 2010 at 08:49:52
"So, I set up a 2nd domain controller. It is my old Dell Dimension 8100 Desktop PC.

Is this a good domain controller to run 24/7? The Domain Controller is running on a single 60 GB Hard Drive."

Its fine for a backup because if it goes down then you can just rebuild it. I would recommend maybe a little larger hard drive. You did not specify how much RAM you have but it is probably fine if you have less than 100 Users on your network.

Remember Redundancy is only if you can not afford the down time of your employees just standing around. If you can (i.e. their jobs are not dependent on the server) then you don't need it.

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May 28, 2010 at 16:00:34
The Dell 8100 has only 512 MB of RAM and only has 60 GB.

This is just a backup domain controller, this is not the main one, since my main domain controller is only on a single 320 GB. If that main domain controller dies, then at least I would have a copy on my Dell 8100.

Now, here is my question. Just in case my main domain controller dies and my Dell 8100 doesn't, what must I do if I get another server? The thing is, all the 5 FSMO roles are on the main server and not the Dell 8100.

Also, the Dell 8100 has been running 24/7 well, but I believe its not a server class machine and would be an unreliable machine to be a serious domain controller.

Also, do you think that I should have installed VMware Server or Microsoft Virtual Server on my exchange server (Which has RAID enabled) and make a 512 MB VM for domain controller? The thing is, my exchange server only goes up to 3.25 gb of RAM, even in 64 bit mode and it is a real server. My desktop computer can go up to 16 GB in 64 bit mode. I was told that 4 GB is the minimum to run Exchange Server 2007 and 3 GB seems to run it fine.

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May 31, 2010 at 20:22:50
For the one millioneth time, there are not backup domain controllers. All domain controllers are just that, domain controller. There is not a main or a backup or anything of the kind so it will help you to understand your situation a bit better if you understand that.

If the server holding the FSMO roles dies, those roles will need to be seized by another DC. I won't go into it now but that is what would be done. Do a search on seizing a FSMO role if you want more details.

As for VMWare - personally I wouldn't mess around with VMware server. Looking into using a bare metal product like VMware ESXi. It is free and probably a better use of your resources. It is not difficult to learn the basics well enough to make it function.

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June 1, 2010 at 08:25:16
There is to such a thing as a Backup Domain Controller. You are right that you need to move the FSMO Roles to it if you want to take the primary DC off line but a backup DC will keep the domain up until the primary DC tombstones. If you don't get the PDC fixed before then, then you will have one hell of a mess. But then again, if you did not have a BDC then they would be down until you got it fixed any ways.

I have a backup DC and it is great because it allows me to run one primary DC for multiple offices so that even if the Internet Connection where to go down they still can login off of the local DC. I can also do updates to the PDC without having to worry about taking down the network.

P.S. 512 MB is not enough RAM for a BDC. Recommend at least 2 GB.

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June 2, 2010 at 18:50:31
Ace, I'm not sure what your intentions are in this forum. Hopefully it isn't to intentionally distribute false information.

You realize you are in a Windows 2003 forum, right.

There is no such thing as a BDC in an Active Directory domain. There is a PDC emulator, but no PDC. With the exception of the FSMO roles, all domain controllers are equal. No such thing as a BDC. Period. Before you go disputing that fact and making a fool of yourself, or worse yet, giving out bad information, read up on Active Directory domains and domain controllers.

Superinf, installing a second domain controller is a straight forward process. Just run dcpromo on the second server and tell it you want to add it to an existing domain.

For a small environment, 512K of RAM will work. 1 GB would be better and plenty in most environments. More is better, but it just depends on the workload of the server.

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June 18, 2010 at 11:09:17
Hey guys sorry for the late reply. Thank you for the information you provided. However, to clear up my setup, yes I have a small environment, but I wouldn't consider it a home environment (if this was a home, I would put everything on one machine), so I am trying to make it the best redudency as possible. My Exchange Server is on a RAID array, but my domain controller isn't. That's why I made one of my old Desktops into a 2nd domain controller.

Must I get a 2nd hard drive for both domain controllers and must they be identical hard drives? Must I do software RAID or must I back up the hard drive image and do a Hardware RAID and restore it back? My Dell 8100 doesn't do RAID, so I am down to software RAID on that machine only. They are both old school IDE drives and I feel they are overpriced and some of them are outdated.

I back up the Domain Controllers hard drive every once in a while as images.

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June 18, 2010 at 13:55:15
disaster recovery is a tiered solution. In other words you start at basics [like backup] and move up the ladder. Mirrored drives, 2nd DC is another layer up the ladder. However you want to accomplish it is up to you. This decision is usually based on what downtime costs you and how important is your data to you.

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