Understanding and Troubleshooting Directory Access

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Published: December 1, 2003

By Paul Bowden, Michele Martin


This Exchange Online Book discusses the interaction between Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server and Microsoft Active Directory directory service. Unlike earlier versions of Exchange, Exchange 2000 does not have its own directory service; instead, it relies entirely on Active Directory for configuration and user information.

In large companies, Active Directory designs can be complex. Understanding how Exchange 2000 interacts with Active Directory domain controllers and global catalog servers will help you design a high-performance, reliable Exchange 2000 service.

This online book discusses three Exchange 2000 directory access components:

  • Directory Service Access (DSAccess)

  • Directory Service Proxy (DSProxy)

  • Categorizer

These components perform separate tasks, but they depend on each other. If DSAccess has difficulty communicating with Active Directory, DSProxy and the Categorizer will have the same difficulty.

The goal of this document is to enable Active Directory and Exchange 2000 designers to make the best possible decisions when deploying servers, and to help administrators troubleshoot any directory access problems that occur. To fully understand the concepts in this document, you should have a working knowledge of Active Directory and Exchange 2000.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Understanding How Directory Access Works

This chapter describes the main directory access components. It explains how Directory Service Access (DSAccess) discovers the Active Directory topology, detects domain controllers and global catalog servers, and maintains a list of valid directory servers that are suitable for use by Exchange components.

Chapter 2: Directory Access in Large Active Directory Environments

In real-life, large-scale deployments, the Active Directory environment changes daily. This chapter familiarizes you with tools that help you monitor DSAccess and provides methods for optimizing DSAccess for your environment, such as static port mapping and perimeter network customizations. This chapter also describes how DSAccess handles server failure, promotion, and demotion.

Chapter 3: Directory Access Troubleshooting Checklist

This chapter walks you through the recommended steps for troubleshooting DSAccess, beginning with Event 2080 in the Event Viewer, which helps you diagnose most topology-related problems. The chapter continues with such troubleshooting steps as monitoring performance counters, checking DNS configuration, and verifying Active Directory Configuration.

Appendix A: Sample Registry File

The Sample Registry File in this appendix summarizes the registry keys you can use to configure DSAccess.

Appendix B: Common RPC and LDAP Error Codes

This appendix aids in troubleshooting by describing the LDAP error codes that may appear in the Event Viewer application log.


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