Overview of Designing a Site Topology

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

Designing a site topology helps you efficiently route client queries and Active Directory replication traffic. A well-designed site topology helps your organization achieve the following benefits:

  • Minimize the cost of replicating Active Directory data.

  • Minimize administrative efforts that are required to maintain the site topology.

  • Schedule replication that enables locations with slow or dial-up network links to replicate Active Directory data during off-peak hours.

  • Optimize the ability of client computers to locate the nearest resources, such as domain controllers and Distributed File System (DFS) servers, reducing network traffic over slow, wide area network (WAN) links, improving logon and logoff processes, and speeding up file download operations.

Before you begin to design your site topology, you must understand your physical network structure. In addition, you must first design your Active Directory logical structure, including the administrative hierarchy, forest plan, and domain plan for each forest. You must also complete your DNS infrastructure design for Active Directory. For more information about designing your Active Directory logical structure and DNS infrastructure, see "Designing the Active Directory Logical Structure" in this book.

After you complete your site topology design, you must verify that your domain controllers meet the hardware requirements for the Microsoft® Windows® Server 2003, Standard Edition; Windows® Server 2003, Enterprise Edition; and Windows® Server 2003, Datacenter Edition, operating systems. You must also determine the appropriate number of domain controllers for each domain that is represented in each site. For more information about determining the appropriate number of domain controllers and their hardware requirements, see "Planning Domain Controller Capacity" in this book.