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Designing Your WINS Replication Strategy

Updated: March 28, 2003

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

A good replication design is essential to your WINS availability and performance. Designs encompassing multiple WINS servers distribute NetBIOS name resolution across LAN and WAN environments, confining WINS client traffic to localized areas. To ensure consistent, network-wide name resolution, WINS servers must replicate their local entries to other servers. For more information about a WINS replication strategy, see the examples later in this section.

Figure 4.5 shows the process for designing your WINS replication strategy.

Figure 4.5   Designing Your WINS Replication Strategy

Designing Your WINS Replication Strategy

Before configuring replication, carefully design and review your WINS replication topology. For WANs, this planning can be critical to the success of your deployment and use of WINS.

WINS provides the following choices when you are configuring replication:

  • You can manually configure WINS replication for a WAN environment.

  • For larger networks, you can configure WINS to replicate within a LAN environment.

  • In smaller or bounded LAN installations, consider enabling and using WINS automatic partner configuration for simplified setup of WINS replication.

  • In larger or global installations, you might have to configure WINS across untrusted Windows NT domains.

If your network uses only two WINS servers, configure them as push/pull replication partners to each other. When configuring replication partners, avoid push-only or pull-only servers except where necessary to accommodate slow links. In general, push/pull replication is the most simple and effective way to ensure full WINS replication between partners. This also ensures that the primary and secondary WINS servers for any particular WINS client are push/pull partners of each other, a requirement for proper WINS functioning in the event of a failure of the primary server of the client.

In most cases, the hub-and-spoke model provides a simple and effective design for organizations that require complete convergence with minimal administrative intervention. For example, this model works well for organizations with centralized headquarters or a corporate data center (the hub) and several branch offices (the spokes). Also, a second or redundant hub (that is, a second WINS server in the central location) can increase the fault tolerance for WINS.

In some large enterprise WINS networks, limited replication partnering can effectively support replication over slow network links. However, when you plan limited WINS replication, ensure that each server has at least one replication partner. Furthermore, balance each slow link that employs a unidirectional link by a unidirectional link elsewhere in the network that carries updated entries in the opposite direction.

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