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Determining Your Active Directory Deployment Requirements

Updated: May 3, 2010

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

The structure of your existing environment determines your strategy for deploying Windows Server 2003 Active Directory. If you are creating an Active Directory environment and you do not have an existing domain structure, you must complete your Active Directory design before you begin creating your Active Directory environment. Then you can deploy a new forest root domain and deploy the rest of your domain structure according to your design.

Windows Server 2003 Forest Root

To deploy Active Directory, you must first deploy a Windows Server 2003 forest root domain. To do this, you must configure DNS, deploy forest root domain controllers, configure the site topology for the forest root domain, and configure operations master roles.

Windows Server 2003 Regional Domains

If you are creating one or more new regional domains in a Windows Server 2003 forest, you must deploy each regional domain after you deploy your forest root domain. To do this, you must delegate a DNS zone and deploy domain controllers for each regional domain.

Windows NT 4.0 Domain Upgrade to Windows Server 2003

When you perform an in-place domain upgrade of Windows NT 4.0 domains, you can begin to use Active Directory without making any modifications to your existing domain structure.

Alternatively, if you do not want to retain your existing domain structure, you can restructure your Windows NT 4.0 domains to a Windows Server 2003 forest. For more information about restructuring your Windows NT 4.0 domains to a Windows Server 2003 forest, see "Determining Your Restructure Requirements" later in this chapter.

Windows 2000 Domain Upgrade to Windows Server 2003

Upgrading your Windows 2000 domains to Windows Server 2003 domains is an efficient, straightforward way to take advantage of additional Windows Server 2003 features and functionality. Upgrading from Windows 2000 to Windows Server 2003 requires minimal network configuration and has little impact on user operations.

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