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Monday, 7 December 2009

Windows Server 2008 GlobalNames Zone

Since before time began, administrators have always had the pleasure of Dealing with WINS (windows Internet Naming Service) for name resolution within Windows Domains. Now although WINS works, generally, when it has problems such as replication, they can soon become a headache, particularly when a great number of servers are involved.

With server 2008, and now in R2, a new DNS (Domain Names System) zone was introduces called GlobalNames. This has been introduced as a replacement (at your peril) for WINS for NetBIOS names stored in DNS. Now this Zone is static, and all entries have to be manually added, and are not updated by clients etc.

Recently we had an issue with a NetBIOS name resolving to different IP’s from different clients. Adding to the headache was that different client OS’s gave different results also. After some time investigating the oddity, I decided to have a look at implementing Global Names.

This was relatively strait forward. The first thing you have to do is enable GlobalNames on the DNS servers. All Active directory replicated servers have to have this registered, you can either do this directly on each server, or from one location with the following command

dnscmd servername /config /enableglobalnamessupport 1

where servername is the name of DNS server to be enabled.

Once the DNS servers have been enabled, you need to create the Zone. In DNS manager right click “Forward Lookup Zones” and select new zone. Folow the wizard as usual and specify the new zone name as “GlobalNames”.

In my case I created the Zone as Active Directory Integrated, and configured replication to All DNS Servers in the forest.

Once the Zone is created, go ahead and add new “A” records with the NetBIOS names that you require.

At this point, don’t forget to allow replication between the DNS servers before testing, or if like me your are impatient, force it as usual. Once replication has occurred you can test from a client by pinging the NetBIOS name that you have added, and hopefully will get a successful name to IP resolution. A point to note here however (at least on Windows 7, Vista and 2008 Server) is that the ping will resolve to the NetBIOS name plus the domain name of the client you are running on.

If you have a great deal of entries to add to the zone and are fortunate enough to have an existing list, see "Windows Server DNS Zone Import" to import these into your Zone.

For the short time that we have had the GlobalNames zone running, clients, XP, Vista and Windows 7, are all resolving names OK and any change in Zone is picked up very quickly by the clients also.


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