it’s almost a year now since I touched the Longhorn Server bits for the first time, or at least what’s going to be Microsoft’s next Windows Server Operating System. I have been involved in Longhorn Server in many different aspects, what I have been focus on mostly is Active Directory (AD) and Distributed File System (DFS)
“The ntdev forest” is my development and testing forest, it’s necessary to having a dedicated testing forest for early bits of new Operating System, since I have to deal with beta versions of the Active Directory Schema etc. How ever this forest is trusted with my production forest so it’s really used, it’s not an isolated environment.
It’s a bit early to go public on what’s new in AD with this release of Windows Server,
However there is a new feature that going to change the AD Infrastructure a lot when it comes to design and deployment of domain controllers. We are introducing a new type of domain controllers, Read-Only Domain Controllers. If you where at the Directory Services Conference you may already know this, it were there Microsoft officially announced that they are building Read-Only Domain Controllers.
Read-Only Domain Controllers are up to the following:
- Complete (RO) replica of the Active Directory Database (NTDS.dit)
- Full (RO) SYSVOL
- RODC caches passwords for users\computers
- No end user\computer passwords are cached by default
- Caching occurs “on demand” when the user\computer first logs on
- RODC is stateless
- No Branch to Hub replication (less bridgeheads required)
- By definition, none of the local data is critical (unique)
Longhorn Core Server
Longhorn Core Server is a new version of Windows Server that’s not are like anything else we seen before. It’s a stripped down server OS without no GUI, all you have when you logon to windows is a command line prompt. Longhorn Core Server can have the following roles:
- File Server
- DHCP Server
- DNS Server
- Domain Controller
I have a bunch of Read-Only Domain Controllers running on Longhorn Core Server OS, it works really nice, and when you start thinking why should a domain controller really have a GUI at the server it self?
If you want to find out more about the Longhorn Core Server OS, Have a look at the Core Server team blog:
Distributed File System
Same things applies to DFS about going public with features, how ever as you may have noticed DFS was improved and separated into two technologies in Windows Server 2003 R2. DFS-Replication (DFS-R) and DFS-Namespaces (DFS-N) there was nothing changed really to the DFS-N, How ever DFS-R was new in this release and its first now DFS has a replication technology. In fact if you enabled a namespace for replication earlier than Windows Server 2003 R2, You actually used File Replication Service (FRS) that has nothing to do with DFS. DFS-N and DFS-R are both hosted under the name DFS. One of the most amazing feature in the entire Windows Server 2003 R2 Release is the Remote Differential Compression (RDC) technology that improves replication by only replicate the actually changed blocks within a file, instead of the entire file when it becomes updated, this saves a lot of WAN bandwidth
Example: Change title in a 3.5MB PPT, “delta” takes just 16KB instead of 3.5MB of data to be replicated to other replicas.
A few new features for DFS in Longhorn Server
- On Demand Replication (ghosting)
- SYSVOL on DFS2
- Read-only Folder Replication Member
And there is a lot more of features planned for this release.