Domain Name System (DNS) is one of the "cornerstone" services of an Active Directory domain (both Windows 2000 and Windows .NET), and you must use it in any domain structure based on Active Directory even if the forest root domain is not registered in the Internet DNS namespace. It is possible to exploit other DNS servers besides Microsoft DNS Server, but these servers must conform to specific requirements. You need not become a DNS guru, but you have to be familiar with all DNS essentials and its interoperation with the Active Directory.
Be careful! The system (even Windows .NET) permits promotion of a server to domain controller (i.e., installation of the Active Directory and creation of a domain) without specifying any DNS servers. However, this does not guarantee that your domain will work correctly. Quite the contrary! Nevertheless, such an approach can be useful in some cases (as a prelude to domain deployment) if you thoroughly understand all the details of DNS configuring and its interoperation with Active Directory.
You could, for example, first promote a server to DC, and then prepare a DNS server for dynamic updating of the appropriate zones. Enter the DNS server's IP address in the DC's TCP/IP properties, and reboot the DC (or restart the Netlogon service and execute the ipconfig /registerdns command). The result will be a fully operable configuration! The same procedure is used when you select another authoritative DNS server for a domain and want to re-register all necessary DNS records.
This chapter covers some general aspects of Active Directory and DNS interoperation, as well as basic features of Microsoft DNS servers. In Chapter 4, "Windows .NET DNS Server", operations with native Microsoft DNS servers will be considered, and the DNS issues related to Active Directory deployment and maintenance will be considered in Chapter 5, "Installing Active Directory."
Name-resolving systems, such as DNS and WINS, are a vast, complex topic. There are plenty of good specialized books on TCP/IP, DNS, and Windows 2000 DNS Server in particular, and you may wish to read them to obtain a deeper understanding of the DNS system in general and its realization in Windows 2000. This information applies to Windows .NET DNS Server, too.
In this chapter and the entire book, "Microsoft DNS Server" refers to both Windows 2000 DNS Server and Windows .NET DNS Server. The differences between these products, if such exist, are specifically indicated when necessary.