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Configuring DNS for the Forest Root Domain

Updated: April 11, 2008

Applies To: Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2

Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) uses Domain Name System (DNS) name resolution services to enable clients to locate domain controllers and to enable the domain controllers that host the directory service to communicate with each other.

When you deploy AD DS in your environment, you must have a DNS infrastructure available to support the directory service. If you do not have a DNS infrastructure in place, you must design and deploy a new DNS infrastructure to support AD DS. If you have an existing DNS infrastructure, you must integrate the AD DS namespace into that environment, which involves creating a DNS server and DNS client configuration. To create a DNS server configuration, you set the first domain controller in an AD DS forest root domain to host the DNS zone for the AD DS forest.

We recommend that you install the DNS Server service on the first domain controller in a new forest root domain when you run the Active Directory Domain Services Installation Wizard (Dcpromo.exe). If you do so, Dcpromo.exe automatically creates and delegates the forest root domain DNS zone and the DNS zone that contains the Active Directory forest-wide locator records, which is the _msdcs.<forestname> zone. Dcpromo.exe also creates the AD DS database and initializes the directory data in that database. In addition, on the first domain controller in the domain, the wizard takes the following actions:

  • Prompts the administrator to verify the installation and configuration of the DNS Server service and the DNS Client service configuration.

  • Configures DNS recursive name resolution by adding the IP addresses of the existing entries for the Preferred DNS server and the Alternate DNS server to the list of DNS servers on the Forwarders list for the domain controller.

    noteNote
    If you want to set different forwarders or do not want to enable forwarding, you can use the DNS snap-in to change this setting manually. If your domain controller is multihomed, forwarding is not configured automatically. For manual configuration instructions, see Verify DNS Server Recursive Name Resolution on the First Forest Root Domain Controller.

  • Configures DNS recursive name resolution by adding root hints that are configured on the preferred DNS server.

  • Configures the preferred DNS server to point to the DNS server that is running locally on the domain controller, and configures the alternate DNS server to point to the DNS server that is connected through the minimum number of network segments.

  • Creates two application directory partitions that DNS uses. The DomainDnsZones application directory partition holds domain-wide DNS data, and the ForestDnsZones application directory partition holds forest-wide DNS data.

noteNote
Having set up the DNS infrastructure in your forest, it is recommended to include at least two DNS server IP addresses in the Client DNS Server List of the first domain controller in the forest root domain: the IP address for a preferred DNS server and the IP address for an alternate DNS server.

Although you can create DNS zones manually, we do not recommend that you do so. The following procedure shows how to manually create DNS forward lookup zones that are integrated with AD DS.

Membership in Domain Admins, or equivalent, is the minimum required to complete this procedure. Review details about using the appropriate accounts and group memberships at Local and Domain Default Groups (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=83477).

  1. To open DNS Manager, click Start, click Administrative Tools, and then click DNS.

  2. In the console tree, right-click a DNS server, and then click New Zone to open the New Zone Wizard.

  3. On the Welcome to the New Zone Wizard page, click Next.

  4. On the Zone type page, select Primary zone, and then click Next.

  5. On the Active Directory Zone Replication Scope page, select how you want the zone data to replicate to every DNS server in the forest, and then click Next.

    noteNote
    When you create the _msdcs forest-wide locator zone, set the zone data to replicate to every DNS server in the forest. AD DS uses forest-wide locator records to make it possible for replication partners to find each other and for clients to find global catalog servers. AD DS stores the forest-wide locator records in the _msdcs.<forest_name> zone. Because the information in the zone must be widely available, AD DS uses the forest-wide DNS application directory partition to replicate this zone to all DNS servers in the forest.

  6. On the Forward or Reverse Lookup Zone page, select Forward lookup zone, and then click Next.

  7. On the Zone Name page, in Zone name, type the name of the new zone, for example, contoso.com.

    noteNote
    When you create the _msdcs forest-wide locator zone, type the name of the new zone, starting with _msdcs, for example, _msdcs.contoso.com.

  8. To create a new zone, follow the rest of the instructions in the New Zone Wizard.

  9. Repeat steps 2 through 8 to create an _msdcs forest-wide locator zone.

noteNote
If no DNS infrastructure exists, skip this step in the forest root domain deployment process.

To configure DNS for the forest root domain, the DNS administrator of your organization must delegate the zone that matches the name of the AD DS forest root domain to the DNS servers (domain controllers) that you will install in the forest root domain.

The following procedure shows how to configure and delegate a zone in the existing DNS internal namespace.

In preparation for the forest root domain deployment, create a delegation for the DNS servers that will run on the domain controllers in the forest root domain. You create the delegations that will point to the DNS servers (domain controllers) in the forest root domain by adding resource records for DNS name server (NS) and host (A or AAAA) resource records to the parent DNS zone.

noteNote
The delegation that occurs in the following procedure references the first forest root domain controller, which does not currently exist. For information about how to install and configure the first forest root domain controller, see Install AD DS on the First Forest Root Domain Controller.

Membership in Domain Admins, or equivalent, is the minimum required to complete this procedure. Review details about using the appropriate accounts and group memberships at Local and Domain Default Groups (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=83477).

  1. Create a name server (NS) resource record in the parent zone.

    Use the left-most label of the fully qualified DNS name of the forest root domain and the fully qualified DNS name of the domain controller: forest_root_domain in NS domain_controller_name.

  2. Create a host (A) resource record and a host (AAAA) resource record in the parent zone.

    Use the fully qualified DNS name of the domain controller and the IP addresses of the domain controller: domain_controller_name in a domain_controller_ip_address.

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