Chapter 8. Active Directory and DNS

One of the big advantages of Active Directory over its predecessor, Windows NT, is its reliance on the Domain Name System (DNS) as opposed to the Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS) for name resolution. DNS is the ubiquitous, standards-based naming service used on the Internet. WINS, on the other hand, never garnered industry support and has become a candidate for elimination on many enterprise networks.

The good news is that with Active Directory, the dependencies on WINS have been eliminated, but the potentially bad news is that Active Directory has many dependencies on the DNS infrastructure. This is only potentially because it depends on the flexibility of your DNS environment. Often, the groups that manage DNS and Active Directory within an organization are different, and getting the two teams to agree on implementation can be difficult due to political turf battles or technology clashes.


Although Active Directory doesn’t need WINS, or more accurately, NetBIOS name resolution, other systems and technologies may require it. Many administrators are quick to try to remove WINS from their environment, but generally speaking, the administrative cost of maintaining a WINS infrastructure is substantially smaller than the cost involved in executing a project to remove WINS.

The intent of this chapter is to provide you with a good understanding of how Active Directory uses DNS and to review some of the options for setting it up within your ...

Get Active Directory, 5th Edition now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.