Are you running Active Directory 2008 and planning to upgrade to Active Directory 2012 or are you running Active Directory 2008, but just learned that Microsoft is no longer developing their existing replication model?

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If you are running an Active Directory 2008 R2 domain with a Domain Functional Level also set at Windows 2008 R2, you may want to consider updating your FSR replication to DFS replication (DFSR).  Here are some reasons why you should consider upgrading your replication.

  • Microsoft is no longer doing development for FRS replication.  They have committed to DFSR as the future replication type that we will all be using for Active Directory.
  • If you have any plans to move to Windows 2012, DFSR will be required.
  • DFSR is a more efficient method of replication and conversion will improve backend domain replication.

If your decision is to plan for DFS replication then there are many steps to working toward the completion of the work.  This includes verifying the functional level of your domain, verifying domain controller health, migrating to the prepared state, migrating to the redirected state and then finally moving to the eliminated step.  Following these steps will also ensure that you successfully work through the process and validate your progress between each step.  Downtime is not required to complete this work, but I would highly recommend doing the work off-hours to ensure that you do not introduce any unexpected latencies or issues.  This article will also highlight some of the differences you may see if you have some Windows 2008 R2 Server Core Domain Controllers.

Check the Functional Level of your Domain

In order to move toward DFS replication your current domain will need to be at a Windows 2008 domain functional level which can be checked with the following steps.  You will need Domain Administrator rights to do this.

  1. On a domain controller or through your locally installed Active Directory tools, open the “Active Directory Domains and Trusts” window.
  2. Right-click the name of the domain for which you are migrating the SYSVOL folder, and then click “Raise Domain Functional Level”.
  3. Then “Select an available domain functional level list”, click “Windows Server 2008”, and then click Raise.

Note:  This will only work if ALL of your domain controllers are Windows 2008 or Windows 2008 R2.

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