Installing and configuring a DNS Server


   Now that we’ve discovered the fundamentals of the DNS protocol, it is time to install and configure a DNS Server. In this article we will see what are the steps taken to deploy a domain naming server. I thought that before we go straight into the practice part we should deepen all the elements that make up the DNS service this is why in the last two articles we’ve only covered the theoretical concepts. For this article I will be using a Windows Server 2008 virtual machine. Let’s power on the the machine and boot into the OS. I’m using VirtualBox with an ISO image attached so the installation will be starting right away.
   Before adding the DNS service to your Server make sure that he is already joined in a domain and preferably he is a Domain Controller. If you install the DNS service on a DC some additional features like replication between DNS Servers and dynamic updates are enabled by default. In fact, the DNS service is in close relationship with the whole domain because it is used to locate network resources like DNS zone data, network Servers and workstations, etc. It is recommended that you install and promote the Server to a DC and then deploy the DNS service. I will show you how to install the DNS service on a Domain Controller and on a Stand-alone Server. Remember that when you install the Domain Naming Service on a DC, a DNS zone for the domain will be automatically configured. On a stand-alone Server this is done manually.
   After you install the Active Directory Domain Services on the Server and promote it to a DC, start the Server Manager interface, navigate to the Roles section and click on the Add Roles button:
DNS service installation
You can select to skip the first page by default but, it is recommended that you read it at least once to get acquainted with the information written here. Now press the Next button and check the DNS service from the following window:
DNS service installation
The DNS service requires that you configure a static IP address for your Server. If this configuration is not made, you will be prompted with the following warning message:
DNS installation IP warning
After pressing the Next button you will be redirected to a window in which the DNS service is shorty described:
DNS description
I strongly recommend that you read my first two articles about the DNS protocol before proceeding further. The wizard will inform you that the installation of the DNS service is made on a DC and will be integrated with AD. Note that after the installation is complete the Server will require a reboot:
DNS installation
When installing the DNS service on DC, a forward lookup zone for the domain will be automatically configured just like in the following example:
DNS zone
On a Windows Server you can install the DNS service as soon as you promote the server to a Domain Controller by checking the box during the promoting wizard (when using the dcpromo command):
DNS service
When installing the DNS service on a Stand-alone Server, the forward lookup zone is not configured so this has to be done manually. The installation on such Server is made directly from the Add Roles Wizard. You will better understand why you would install the DNS service on a Stand-alone server when we will talk about configuring DNS Zones in a future article. After installing the service open the DNS console. You can add DNS zones by right clicking on the Forward Lookup Zone folder:
DNS zones
If you are running a Server Core edition you cannot install the DNS service using the GUI. To install it, use the following command: start /w ocsetup DNS-Server-Core-Role. After the installation is complete you can access the DNS console by connecting to it from a remote machine. To uninstall the DNS service from a Core Server use the start /w ocsetup DNS-Server-Core-Role /uninstall command. Note that if you install the DNS service on such Server using dcpromo command, you will have to specify an answer file since there is not GUI available. Use the dcpromo /unattend: command.
That’s it for this article folks, in the next one we will discover other DNS features available with Windows Server 2008. I want to create a full article about DNS Zones and the main concepts behind them so stay tuned for the following posts from IT training day. Have a great day!
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