Chapter 17. Application Partitions
Active Directory domain controllers, when first installed, host three predefined partitions. The Configuration naming context is replicated to all domain controllers in the forest, and contains information that is needed forest-wide, such as the site topology and LDAP query policies. The Schema naming context is also replicated forest-wide and contains all of the schema objects that define how data is stored and structured in Active Directory. The third partition is the Domain naming context, which is replicated to all of the domain controllers that host a particular domain.
Windows Server 2003 introduced a new type of partition, called an application partition, which is very similar to the other naming contexts except that you can configure which domain controllers in the forest will replicate the data that’s contained within it. Examples include the DomainDnsZones partition, which is replicated across all AD-Integrated DNS servers in the same domain, and ForestDnsZones, which is replicated across all AD-integrated DNS servers in the forest. This capability gives administrators much more flexibility over how they can store and replicate the data that is contained in Active Directory. If you need to replicate a certain set of data to only two different sites, for example, you can create an application partition that will only replicate the data to the domain controllers in those two sites rather than replicating the data to additional ...