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How to Integrate Active Directory and DNS | iii

Executive Summary
Windows 2000 Server was a pivotal point for Microsoft in centralizing and consolidating directory services. Active Directory (AD) is
based on well known network services such as Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and Kerberos. AD utilizes DNS for its
location mechanism. DNS has grown to become not only the cornerstone of the Internet, but a crucial fabric to connect Windows
clients with their Domain Controllers. This document outlines how
AD utilizes DNS and how the Adonis DNS Appliance integrates into
this environment. The integration of the Adonis Server can be performed easily while providing a robust, secure, and highly maintainable DNS management platform.

iv | BlueCat Networks

Executive Summary iii
Active Directory and DNS 1
Dynamic DomainController Registration 1
Integrating Adonis into Active Directory 2
DNS Replication 3
Advantages Of Adonis For ActiveDirectory DNS Services 4
Interoperability with Existing DNS Architecture 4
Quick Migration4
Superior Configuration Management4
Controlled Deployment4
Improved Security5
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)5
Summary 5
Active Directory DNS Records 5
SRV Records5
A Records 7
CNAME Records 7
About BlueCat Networks 8
BlueCat Networks White Papers 9

Slave DNS Server

Master DNS Server

Domain Controller

How to Integrate Active Directory and Slave

| 1

1 Update locator records

Active Directory and DNS

2 Send updates to slave servers

Active Directory is an essential element of the Windows server

architecture that provides a centrally managed directory service
for distributed computing environments. The directory is a central
authority for network security, resources, users and services. AD
is based upon LDAP and uses security based on MITs Kerberos
project. AD was first available in Windows 2000 Server. Microsoft
chose to change its Windows Domain discovery process to use
DNS instead of its legacy discovery protocol. This acts like a boot
strapping mechanism for client systems to find the closest or most
appropriate Domain Controller (DC). This information is stored in a
series of DNS records specifying the following information:

Dynamic Domain
Controller Registration

Without the proper DNS information, a client cannot discover

which server to contact for authentication. Each Domain Controller
registers and maintains its own Active Directory DNS integration
records consisting of several A (Address), CNAME (Canonical Name)
and SRV (Service) records. These records are initially registered by
the DCs NetLogon service. This is performed via a standard DNS
zone transfer (AXFR) and updated Dynamic DNS (DDNS) by the DC
(RFC 2136).

Slave DNS Server

LDAP Servers
Kerberos Domain Controllers
Addresses of the Domain Controllers
Global Catalog Servers
Kerberos Password Change Servers

Master DNS Server

Domain Controller

Slave DNS Server



1 Perform transfer of Active Directory Zone

2 Send Dynamic Updates to add/update controllers records

Before a client can connect to the Windows Domain, a suitable

DC needs to be found. The Windows client contains a service
called NetLogon which uses a DC locating algorithm to find the
appropriate server.
This algorithm works in the following manner:
1. A List of DCs is obtained via a DNS query using the domain
name, domain Globally Unique Identifier (GUID) and/or site
2. The locator pings each controller in random order and uses
the weighting factor discovered while getting the list of
DCs. It waits up to one tenth of a second for a reply from
the DC. The pinging continues until all controllers are tried
or until a successful response is received.
3. After a DC responds successfully to a ping, the results from
the response are compared to the parameters required by
the client. If there is a match, then the DC is used. Otherwise,
the pinging of other DCs resumes.

3 Send updates to slave via Incremental Zone Transfer (IXFR)

When examining these records in the Microsoft DNS server, one

is led to believe that this data must reside in sub zones of the
parent domain. This is not necessarily the case, since Dynamic DNS
(DDNS) updates have no way of creating additional zones. The
records are simply added as resource records with label separators
(.) into the parent domains zone file. Additionally, one will notice
that several of the records contain underscore (_) characters
as part of the names. This technique is common practice used
in Microsoft development tools and was borrowed for the DNS
naming technique for Active Directory. The following list contains
the naming conventions used in the records:
DNS Label



LDAP service


Service uses TCP connections


Service uses UDP connections


Record contains information about a Kerberos

Key Distribution Center (KDC)


Service is running on a Domain Controller


Kerberos Password Change service


Global Catalog service


Record contains information on a specific site


Domain Controller (DC)


Global Catalog (GC)

Slave DNS Server

Domain Controller

Master DNS Server

Slave DNS Server


1 Update locator records

2 Send updates to slave servers

A registered DNS record can contain one or more of the above

names to describe a service that can be queried.

2 | BlueCat Networks
For example, the following record locates an LDAP service, on in SRV 0 0

An alternative form of this record that indicates that the LDAP

service is on a DC would have the following syntax:
com SRV 0 0 389

For a detailed list of these records see the Active Directory DNS
Records section of this document.

4. For each slave zone, allow update forwarding using the

ACL. This forwards dynamic updates to the master zone.
Once the configuration has been deployed, it takes anywhere from
a few minutes to an hour for the DCs to register their records. This
time interval is dependent on the DCs registration settings that
can be changed to suit an organizations requirements. Domain
Controllers usually inspect their records after the interval has
expired. After the DCs have registered their records, a simple refresh
of the master servers configuration in the Adonis Management
Console reveals the Active Directory records.
Windows 2000 type networks also enable clients to register their

Integrating Adonis into Active Directory

own Address (A) and Pointer (PTR) records with their local DNS

The Adonis DNS Appliance easily integrates into the Active

Directory environment. The simplest way to perform this operation
is to use the Active Directory Wizard for each zone that requires
AD integration. The wizard asks for the IP addresses of each
Domain Controller that will register their records. Once complete,
the configuration is deployed and the Active Directory servers
are informed that their primary DNS server is now an Adonis DNS
Appliance. Once this is performed, the DCs register their records
and client machines, then use the information to gain access to
the AD domain.

perform the registration directly on the DNS server, which is a

Manually performing the integration without the Wizard involves

a few simple steps:
1. Create an Access Control List (ACL) that contains the addresses of all the Domain Controllers. Add this ACL to each
DNS server.
2. For the master DNS server, allow zone transfers.
3. For each master zone, allow dynamic updates using the

server. In most cases, organizations use DHCP servers that can

more secure method. However, if desired, clients can still register
themselves directly with the DNS server by allowing those specific
clients to make dynamic updates. In either case, an ACL should be
used to secure these updates.

How to Integrate Active Directory and DNS | 3

DNS Replication
There are two schools of thought about DNS record replication:
Master Slave and Master Master.
Master Slave The current industry standard outlined in RFC
1034 and 1035, states that a secondary zone (slave) replicates its
contents from a primary (master) zone on a given internal network.
This was enhanced by the DNS Notify mechanism (RFC 1996)
that lets master servers notify their slaves when their contents
have changed. With the advent of Dynamic DNS (DDNS), faster
incremental zone transfers (IXFR) were developed. Slave servers
could then accept and forward updates to their respective master
servers. The Master - Slave architecture works on Windows, UNIX,
and other operating systems. It is the recommended method for
managing DNS. The following table lists some of the pros and cons
of a Master-Slave replication system:

Master-Slave Replication System


An industry standard
method for maintaining
zone data

The master server always

contains most up-to-date

A central repository for

zone data

It does not require other

services to replicate data

Master Master When Microsoft introduced Active Directory with

Windows 2000, it changed its DNS implementation. The changes
included the ability to allow special characters in DNS labels and
to store the entire DNS configuration inside the Active Directory.
Since Active Directory had its own replication scheme, a different
DNS architecture known as Master - Master was developed. The
recommended Microsoft architecture for Active Directory specifies
that the DNS servers should reside on the domain controller, thus
eliminating the need to perform zone transfers.
The following table lists the pros and cons of the Master - Master
method of replication:

Master-Master Replication System


A central repository for all

zone data

Editing the DNS in one zone

replicates to all others

Saves bandwidth and

processing power by using
existing LDAP replication to
replicate DNS data


Master server updates

are required to make
changes on other servers
If a slave server is
updated, a small delay
exists before the update
is propagated
It requires latest version
of BIND software to take
advantage of updateforwarding


Microsoft-only implementations
Zone serial numbers can
be inconsistent in SOA
Non-standard architecture
Not favored in heterogeneous environments.
Relies on LDAP for replication
LDAP replication may
not be acceptable for
external zone data

Slave DNS Server

Master DNS Server

Domain Controller

Slave DNS Server


1 Update locator records

2 Send updates to slave servers

The Adonis DNS Appliance uses the BIND 9.x name server
software. Therefore all architectures are Master - Slave based. If
this technique becomes more widely accepted with other vendors,
future releases of the Adonis DNS Appliance may contain a Master
- Master replication system.

Slave DNS Server

Master DNS Server

Domain Controller

Slave DNS Server



1 Perform transfer of Active Directory Zone

4 | BlueCat Networks

Advantages Of Adonis For Active Directory

DNS Services
Although Windows Server ships with the Microsoft DNS service,
many network administrators use a non-Microsoft implementation
of DNS. A non-Microsoft DNS-based solution such as the Adonis DNS
Appliance integrates well into an Active Directory Environment.

Interoperability with Existing DNS Architecture

The Adonis Server is based upon ISCs BIND, the most widely used
DNS service implementation and the international benchmark for
DNS. Existing BIND architectures can interoperate easily with the
Adonis Server, while maintaining a similar architecture.

Quick Migration
Existing BIND-based configurations can be quickly imported
and deployed to Adonis Servers. Current Windows DNS
implementations (NT 4.0, 2000, and 2003) can be imported via
BlueCat Networks DNS extraction tool. The current Microsoft DNS
management application requires low level scripting or manual
import via zone transfers to migrate from BIND to Windows DNS.
The Adonis Server performs additional data checking on the
imported data to isolate and assist with the resolution of issues
before deployment.

Worm viruses can unload payloads that attack internal systems and
replicate while bringing a network to its knees. The SQL Slammer
worm that exploited a known vulnerability in the Microsoft Data
Engine (MSDE) attacked available root servers by generating
bogus queries. These queries resulted in a large number of ICMP
packets being sent out which eventually rendered some of the
root servers to be off line. Many organizations also discovered that
their own internal DNS servers were being attacked in a similar
manner. The Adonis DNS Appliance contains an integrated firewall,
IP packet spoofing, and a hardened Linux operating system that
resists these types of attacks. Indeed, it is common knowledge that
heterogeneous networks are more resilient to effective attacks
since only some of the servers will be vulnerable to system-specific

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

The total cost of the Adonis DNS Appliance is considerably lower
than that of a Microsoft DNS server solution. Considering the
volume of Windows updates, vulnerabilities, and scheduled
maintenance combined with the simplistic management
surrounding the Windows solution, the Adonis solution offers a
lower cost of total ownership, even in the first year of deployment.
For more detailed information about the TCO, see the BlueCat
Networks documentation on the Adonis Servers Return on
Investment (ROI).
MS DNS Server

Superior Configuration Management

The Adonis Server contains an elegant and user-friendly interface
for manipulating DNS configurations and record data. Powerful
features found in most applications include multi-level undo/redo,
cut/copy/paste and data checking functionality that is absent from
the Microsoft DNS application.

Controlled Deployment
Changes are not visible on the DNS server until the user has
deployed the configuration. The current implementation of the
Microsoft DNS application applies the changes to the DNS server as
they are made. This can create issues for applications when simple
typos are introduced into a configuration because records can be
cached for a defined duration. This can lead to network application/
service outages and stability issues. This issue is compounded by
the fact that some applications do not respect DNS Time to Live
(TTL) values and will hold onto invalid data until restarted.

Improved Security
DNS security is often overlooked for private networks because an
internal network is seen as secure and separate from the outside
world. The real problem lies with the sheer volume of exploits in the
Windows operating system that plague network administrators.

Active Directory

MS DNS Server
Domain Controller

Update zone data

Update locator records

MS DNS Server

How to Integrate Active Directory and DNS | 5


Active Directory DNS Records

Active Directory is the back bone of the Windows Server

architecture and is centered on the LDAP service. DNS plays an
important role in providing the information used by the Windows
Domain locator service to connect and authenticate with Active
Directory. The Adonis DNS Appliance provides features that allow
easy integration with Active Directory, while providing BINDbased DNS services throughout an organization. Organizations
with existing DNS configurations that utilize BIND can be rest
assured that migration to the Adonis DNS Appliance will yield
a compatible, reliable and dependable DNS solution. For more
information about the Adonis DNS Appliance, visit the BlueCat
Networks website at

The following section lists Active Directory-specific records that

are registered by the NetLogon service.

SRV Records
SRV record that identifies an LDAP server in the domain named
by <DomainName>. The LDAP server is not necessarily a Domain
Controller (DC). This record is registered by all DCs. For example:

Enables a client to find an LDAP server in the domain named by
<DomainName>. This record is registered by all DCs. For example:

Used by clients to locate a Domain Controller (DC) in the domain
named by <DomainName>. This record is registered by all DCs. For

Enables a client to locate a DC for the given site and domain named
by <SiteName> and <DomainName> respectively. For example:

Enables a client to locate the Primary Domain Controller (PDC) for
a domain named by <DomainName>. This record is registered only
by the PDC of the domain. For example:

Enables a client to find the Global Catalog (GC) server for the forest
named by <ForestName>. Only the DC for the GC will register this
record. For example:

Enables a client to find a GC for the forest named by <ForestName>.
Only an LDAP server responsible for the GC will register this record.
For example:

6 | BlueCat Networks
Enables a client to locate a GC for the forest named by <ForestName>. Only an LDAP server responsible for the GC will register
this record. The LDAP server is not necessarily a DC. For example:

Enables a client to find a GC for the site and forest named by <SiteName> and <ForestName> respectively. Only an LDAP server responsible for the GC will register this record. For example:

Used by clients to locate the DC running a Kerberos KDC for the
site and domain named by <SiteName> and <DomainName> respectively. For example:

Enables a client to find a Kerberos Password Change Server for the
domain named by <DomainName>. The server is not necessarily a
DC. All DC running the Kerberos KDC will register this record. For

_ldap._tcp.<DomainGuid>.domains._msdcs.< ForestName>
Used by clients to find a DC given the domain GUID of <DomainGuid> in the forest named by <ForestName>. This lookup can used
to resolve the DC if the domain name has changed. This record is
used infrequently and will not work if the <ForestName> has been
changed. For example:

Enables a client to find a Kerberos Key Distribution Center (KDC)
for the domain named by <DomainName>. This record will be
registered by all DCs providing the Kerberos service. This service is
RFC-1510 compliant with Kerberos 5 KDC. The server is not necessarily a DC. For example:

Enables a client to find a Kerberos Key Distribution Center (KDC)
for the domain named by <DomainName>. This record will be
registered by all DCs providing the Kerberos service. This service is
RFC-1510 compliant with Kerberos 5 KDC. The server is not necessarily a DC. This service supports UDP.For example:

Enables a client to find a Kerberos Password Change Server for the
domain named by <DomainName>. The server is not necessarily a
DC. All DC running the Kerberos KDC will register this record. For

A Records

The server name named by <ServerName> is registered in the domain named by <DomainName>. This record is used by referral
lookups to SRV and CNAME records. For example:

Enables a client to find a GC for a given forest named by
<ForestName>. This record is used by referral from SRVrecords. For

Enables a client to locate a server running the Kerberos KDC for a
site and domain named by <SiteName> and <DomainName> respectively. The server is not necessarily a DC. For example:

CNAME Records

Enables a client to locate any DC in the forest named by <ForestName> by the GUID of the MSFT-DSA (Directory Services) object.
For example:

About BlueCat Networks

Founded in 2001, BlueCat Networks the IPAM Intelligence Company is a leader in providing
enterprise-class IP Address Management (IPAM) platforms and secure DNS/DHCP network
appliances. BlueCat services an account base of over 1000 accounts with thousands of units
sold worldwide. Our award-winning ProteusTM IPAM platforms and AdonisTM family of DNS/
DHCP appliances has successfully garnered end-user acceptance by meeting the rising IP
management demands of healthcare, government, financial services, education, retail, and
manufacturing organizations.
BlueCat Networks, a worldwide market leader in IPAM innovation and thought leadership, is
benchmarking IPAM excellence in the networking industry. BlueCat Networks experiences
overwhelming marketplace acceptance of its networking solutions, resulting in high double
digit growth, year over year, since the companys inception.
BlueCat Networks is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with offices in the United
States, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. It sells networking appliances and services
worldwide through direct and indirect sales channels in over 50 countries.

To Learn More
For more information on BlueCat Networks, and our award winning Proteus IPAM solutions,
please visit our website at or call us at 1-866-895-6931.

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2011. BlueCat Networks, the BlueCat Networks logo, the Proteus logo, IPAM Appliance, the Adonis logo, Adonis are trademarks of BlueCat Networks, Inc.
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