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Determining Your Active Directory Design and Deployment Strategy

Updated: May 3, 2010

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

After you perform a high-level assessment of your current environment and determine your Active Directory deployment goals, you can determine the deployment strategy that works best for your environment. Figure 1.3 shows the steps for defining the Active Directory deployment process.

Figure 1.3   Determining Your Design and Deployment Strategy

Determining Your Design and Deployment Strategy

The Active Directory deployment strategy that you apply varies according to your existing network configuration. For example, if your organization currently runs Windows 2000, you can simply upgrade your operating system to Windows Server 2003. If your organization currently runs Windows NT 4.0 or a non-Windows network operating system, however, you must design an Active Directory infrastructure before you upgrade to Windows Server 2003.

Your deployment process might involve restructuring existing domains, either within an Active Directory forest or between Active Directory forests. You might need to restructure your existing domains after you deploy Windows Server 2003 Active Directory or after organizational changes or corporate acquisitions. You can also restructure domains from a Windows NT 4.0 environment to an Active Directory forest in order to upgrade your production environment to Windows Server 2003.

Table 1.1 lists the possible starting points and goals for a Windows Server 2003 Active Directory deployment and the corresponding deployment steps and topics in this guide that apply to each.

Table 1.1   Current Environment, Goals, and Corresponding Topics for Deploying Windows Server 2003 Active Directory

 

Environment Deployment goals Corresponding topics

New organization

Create forest, domain, Domain Name System (DNS), and OU design.

Designing the Active Directory Logical Structure (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=132452)

Create a site and site link design.

Designing the Site Topology (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=132453)

Assess hardware requirements.

Planning Domain Controller Capacity (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=132455)

Deploy the forest root domain.

Deploying the Windows Server 2003 Forest Root Domain (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=132457)

Deploy regional domains.

Deploying Windows Server 2003 Regional Domains (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=132461)

Raise the domain and forest functional levels.

Enabling Advanced Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Features (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=132462)

Windows NT 4.0

Create forest, domain, DNS, and OU design.

Designing the Active Directory Logical Structure (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=132452)

Create a site and site link design.

Designing the Site Topology (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=132453)

Assess hardware requirements.

Planning Domain Controller Capacity (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=132455)

Deploy the forest root domain.

Deploying the Windows Server 2003 Forest Root Domain (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=132457)

Deploy regional domains.

Deploying Windows Server 2003 Regional Domains (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=132461)

Upgrade in-place Windows NT 4.0 domains that will remain part of your Active Directory domain structure.

Upgrading Windows NT 4.0 Domains to Windows Server 2003 Active Directory (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=132466)

Restructure other Windows NT 4.0 domains.

Restructuring Windows NT 4.0 Domains to an Active Directory Forest (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=132467)

Raise the domain and forest functional levels.

Enabling Advanced Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Features (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=132462)

Windows 2000

Upgrade Windows 2000 domain controllers.

Upgrading from Windows 2000 Domains to Windows Server 2003 Domains (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=132484)

Raise the domain and forest functional levels.

Enabling Advanced Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Features (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=132462)

Table 1.2 lists the goals and corresponding topics that apply to restructuring domains either within or between forests.

Table 1.2   Goals and Corresponding Topics for Restructuring Active Directory Domains

 

Action Deployment goals Corresponding topics

Restructure domains within a forest

Create forest, domain, DNS, and OU design.

Designing the Active Directory Logical Structure (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=132452)

Create a site and site link design.

Designing the Site Topology (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=132453)

Use a tool such as the Active Directory Migration Tool (ADMT) to restructure domains within a forest.

Restructuring Active Directory Domains Within a Forest (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=132486)

Restructure domains between forests

Create forest, domain, DNS, and OU design.

Designing the Active Directory Logical Structure (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=132452)

Create a site and site link design.

Designing the Site Topology (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=132453)

Use a tool such as ADMT to restructure domains between forests.

Restructuring Active Directory Domains Between Forests (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=132488)

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