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Understanding ADAM sites and replication

Updated: August 22, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003 R2

Sites and replication

In Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM), the replication topology is the set of physical connections that is used to replicate directory updates among ADAM instances in a configuration set. ADAM builds the most efficient replication topology for a configuration set based on the site or sites in which members of the configuration set reside. ADAM treats replication within a site differently than replication between sites.

Building the intersite replication topology

One ADAM server in each site, called the intersite topology generator, is assigned to build the topology. Together, these intersite topology generators build a least-cost spanning tree algorithm that eliminates redundant replication paths between sites. The intersite replication topology is updated regularly to respond to any changes that occur in the network. You can control intersite replication through the information that you provide when you create your site links.

Determining when intersite replication occurs

Active Directory preserves bandwidth between sites by minimizing the frequency of replication and by allowing you to schedule the availability of site links for replication. By default, intersite replication across each site link occurs every 180 minutes (3 hours). You can adjust this frequency to match your specific needs. Be aware that increasing this frequency increases the amount of bandwidth that is used by replication. In addition, you can schedule the availability of site links for use by replication. By default, a site link is available to carry replication traffic 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can limit this schedule to specific days of the week and times of day. You can, for example, schedule intersite replication so that it only occurs after normal business hours. For more information, see Configure replication availability on a site link.

Building the intrasite replication topology

The Knowledge Consistency Checker (KCC) on each ADAM instance automatically builds the most efficient replication topology for intrasite replication, using a bidirectional ring design. This bidirectional ring topology attempts to create at least two connections to each ADAM instance (for fault tolerance) and no more than three hops between any two ADAM instances (to reduce replication latency). To help prevent connections of more than three hops, the topology can include shortcut connections across the ring. The KCC updates the replication topology regularly.

Determining when intrasite replication occurs

Intrasite replication is optimized for speed, rather than bandwidth, because bandwidth within a site is assumed to be high-speed. Replication within a site occurs automatically on the basis of change notification. Intrasite replication begins when a directory update occurs. By default, the source ADAM instance waits 15 seconds and then sends an update notification to its closest replication partner. If the source ADAM instance has more than one replication partner, subsequent notifications go out by default at 3-second intervals to each partner. After receiving notification of a change, a partner ADAM instance sends a directory update request to the source ADAM instance. The source ADAM instance responds to the request with a replication operation. The 3-second notification interval prevents the source ADAM instance from being overwhelmed with simultaneous update requests from its replication partners.

If no directory updates have occurred within a given time period, intrasite replication still occurs, based on a scheduled interval. By default, this scheduled interval is once per hour. For information about modifying this time period, see Configure replication frequency within a site.

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