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Active Directory Replication Model 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 Model Technical Reference

The Active Directory directory service replication model ensures that Active Directory data on one domain controller is consistent with the replica of the same data on other domain controllers in the same domain. The Active Directory replication model determines how changes to Active Directory data are propagated and tracked automatically between domain controllers. The replication model allows directory data on each domain controller to be updated directly. Each domain controller maintains replication metadata that indicates the update status both for itself and relative to other domain controllers. In addition, the replication model allows each domain controller to request (pull) only changes that need to be replicated and to forward changes to other domain controllers that need them.


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.

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