I want to experiment with Active Directory, strictly for my own education, so on my home network I launched two VMs, both Win2k8 R2 Servers (named 'Server1' and 'Server2'). I created two root domains ('alpha.com', 'bravo.com') intended to be accessible only from my LAN (obviously I don't own those domain names).
My first problem was that a ping of server1.alpha.com returned an actual internet address, rather than my VM address. I know why that happened, but how I should fix it is my question. I started to reason that all machines on my LAN should know that Server1.alpha.com is now a (local) DNS server. However, all knowledge of DNS servers is DHCP-served from my WAN/LAN modem (it is a combined modem, wifi and 4 port router).
So I replaced the "dynamic" DHCP settings on my modem with two "static" entries. I made the "primary" DNS the explicit IP of my machine server1.alpha.com. I left the "secondary" DNS exactly as my modem had suggested (a legit internet IP address).
This "solution" mostly worked. All machines can surf the web, and all machines now resolve server1.alpha.com to the "correct" intranet/local machine. Nevertheless, all I really did was circumvent the problem, rather than solve it. That is illustrated clearly by my next problem.
When I ping server2.bravo.com, I get a real IP rather than a NAT address of my local box. Once again, the DNS servers are routing out into the real world.
So the question remains: what is the proper way to configure DNS both within my modem's DHCP settings and on my two domain controllers? Yes, I established both my domain controllers to be DNS integrated / DNS servers.
I'm hoping that when everything is "fixed," I will also be able to ping just the common name (CN) of "server1" and "server2" and see an IP address. Right now when I ping the common name, I get a link-local IPV6 address. I think that means NetBIOS is handling the common-name lookup.
p.s. I hope the solution does not involve making configuration changes on every machine in my house (such as altering the hosts file), but I will do so if that is what it takes.
update An important element of this exercise, which at first I didn't properly take into account, is that the DC's I've established are only available 30% of the time (accidents happen!!). So it turns out that my solution is to leave my network unmodified, and instead adjust the hosts file on each machine (originally I did not want that, but now it makes sense).
I would, however, be interested in knowing if there are other ways to have a machine common name resolved properly, without using DNS suffixes automatically appended. Is there any other way to achieve that?