Active Directory Replication Topology Technical Reference

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2

Active Directory Replication Topology Technical Reference

The replication topology of Active Directory directory service provides the network of connections between domain controllers in a forest according to their location in Active Directory sites. A site is an Active Directory object that you create and configure to represent an area of good network connectivity, typically corresponding to a local area network (LAN). The site object is associated with a set of one or more subnets, which are objects that identify a range of IP addresses. Each domain controller has an IP address that maps to a subnet, and that mapping in turn identifies the site of the domain controller. By recognizing domain controllers according to site locations, the replication system ensures that each domain controller is updated with directory changes in the most efficient and timely manner possible, given network conditions and directory service configuration. The replication topology is generated automatically at regular intervals to accommodate network and configuration changes, and is designed to ensure that all domain controllers are connected without redundancy and with minimum cost.


In Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003, the directory service is named Active Directory. In Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2, the directory service is named Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS). The rest of this topic refers to Active Directory, but the information is also applicable to AD DS.

In this subject