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Domain Name System (DNS) Overview

Published: February 29, 2012

Updated: July 3, 2014

Applies To: Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2



This topic provides overview information about the Domain Name System (DNS) server role in Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012, and the DNS Client service in Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows 8.1, and Windows 8. Also see the following topics:

DNS is a system that is used in TCP/IP networks for naming computers and network services. DNS naming locates computers and services through user-friendly names. When a user enters a DNS name in an application, DNS services can resolve the name to other information that is associated with the name, such as an IP address.

Windows Server provides several enhancements to the DNS Server service. For more information about what’s new in DNS Server and DNS Client for Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows 8.1, and Windows 8, see What's New in DNS Server in Windows Server and What's New in DNS Client in Windows.

DNS in Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 provides the following:

  • The DNS Server service in Windows Server 2012 has greatly enhanced support for DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC), a suite of extensions that adds security to the DNS protocol. For more information about DNSSEC, see Overview of DNSSEC.

  • DNS integration with Active Directory is the same in Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 as in previous operating systems. When DNS Server is installed on a domain controller, DNS is integrated Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) to store and replicate DNS zones. This makes multimaster replication possible, along with more secure transmission of DNS data. In turn, AD DS requires DNS so that clients can locate domain controllers.

  • DNS and DHCP integration is the same in Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 as in previous operating systems. DNS and DHCP integration enables DNS resource records to be dynamically updated for new computers and devices, or when IP addresses of existing devices change on the network.

Installation of the DNS Server role can be performed using Server Manager. The following features and tools are installed automatically when you install DNS Server:

 

Feature or Tool Description

Remote Server Administration Tools

DNS Server Tools are required to manage the DNS Server role, but do not have to be installed on the same server. The DNS Manager console is installed automatically when you install DNS Server unless you choose to cancel installation of Remote Server Administration Tools.

ImportantImportant
The DNS Server role is frequently installed with Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS). DNS Server and can be installed on a domain controller using Server Manager’s Add Roles and Features Wizard, or it can be installed as an available option during promotion of a server to a domain controller. If you install AD DS and promote the server to a domain controller using Windows PowerShell, you can install DNS by specifying the –InstallDns parameter when using the Install-ADDSDomainController cmdlet.

DNS Server and AD DS role services can be installed independently or together. However, the AD DS role service is required if the DNS server will host Active Directory-integrated DNS zones.

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