Global Catalog Server on Windows Server 2003

55 pts.
Tags:
Active Directory
Global Catalog Server
Global Catalog Server on Windows Server 2003
Windows Server 2003
I am currently trying to learn about Active Directory and Server 2003, and was talking to a IT friend of mine about Global Catalog Servers. It seems to me there are no disadvantages in having GC-servers. However, he persisted in telling me I should always try to limit the number of GC-servers. Why? I don't see the disadvantage. Only reason he told me was "network traffic", but isn't that what the GC-Server is for? Lowering the traffic? Would appreciate some explanation on this matter.

Software/Hardware used:
Windows Server 2003

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Your friend is correct for large multi-domain forests. In addition to containing all objects in the local domain, global catalogs also contain a partial replica of objects in all other domains in the forest. The additional replication traffic is the main issue when talking about too many global catalog servers.

However, in a single domain forest, there is no side effect to promoting all domain controllers to global catalog servers.

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  • Filthgrinder
    Okay, but isn't that replication still small compared to what the traffic would be without having a Global Catalog Server? And isn't the replication just a "quick short" update?
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  • mshen
    Your first question depends on how many domain controllers you have in your environment. Global catalogs are required for authenticating users in multi-domain environments, multi-domain searches, exchange address book lookups, and universal group membership caching. So you should have at least one at each site to reduce delay by querying a GC over the WAN. It is a quick update if you have a secondary domain with just a few objects in it. But imagine three large domains with an equal amount of objects. Replication between global catalogs is roughly 2/3 of the traffic within the domain, so each global catalog will add 2/3 more replication traffic to your network. Assuming you have 10 unnecessary global catalog servers, that would be roughly an additional 6 times the replication traffic.
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  • mshen
    Correction... GC replication is not 2/3 of the traffic within a domain. It is an additional 2/3 of traffic to regular domain replication.
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  • fredski
    Global Catalog should not be on a Infrastructure Master.
    see ms article
    http://support.microsoft.com/?id=248047
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