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Microsoft Posts Primer on Virtualizing Domain Controllers

Running multiple domain controllers as virtual machines on a single physical server may not sound like a great production strategy, but Microsoft contends that it's doable in the right circumstances.

Microsoft posted a primer on the topic on Wednesday to the Windows Download Center. The document is part of a push to promote use of Virtual Server 2005, which Microsoft made generally available on Oct. 1. The company was also planning to post a Virtual Server 2005 Migration Toolkit this week.

Virtual Server 2005 runs on a host copy of Windows Server 2003 to provide a platform for running several virtual server operating systems on a single physical server. Accordingly, the platform allows for several Windows Server 2003 or Windows 2000 Server domain controllers to run in separate virtual machines on the same hardware.

The setup would allow a single physical server to host multiple domains, multiple domain controllers for the same domain, or even multiple forests.

"Running domain controllers in virtual machines is best suited for test and pre-production piloting environments," Microsoft warns. That said, "With strict adherence to the requirements described in this document, domain controllers running in virtual machines can also be used in a production environment."

The document is available here.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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