Now that we have a good idea of what Active Directory requires, and how it works, we need to get a Windows Server 2003 system up to Active Directory status. This process is known as the promotion of the server to an AD Domain Controller (DC) . DCs are what make Active Directory possible. These specialized servers house the primary information such as shared folder access, users and groups, and policies that govern the computers that log into the domain. An AD domain may contain many DCs, and the really wonderful part of this whole system is that all this key information is replicated among the various domain controllers. This provides for some very nice fault tolerance possibilities. If one of the DCs fails, there can be two or three more to take over its job. Having multiple DCs also lightens the load on any one DC server, distributing network load among all DCs in the domain. Of course, not all organizations are going to need multiple domain controllers. Smaller companies or schools may need only one. In this chapter, we discuss promoting a single server to Active Directory Domain Controller status.
If you haven't purchased a copy of Windows Server 2003 yet, Microsoft provides a free, 180 day evaluation copy on its website: