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I have a centralized data center where my Exchange 2010 is located. This site also holds the FSMO master DC. I also have two off site locations where I have two other domain controllers, one in each location. Both of which are also Global Catalogs. How does Exchange/System Attendant decide which DC/GC to bind too? The reason I ask is I have been experiencing some issues where System Attendant fails after an Exchange Server reboot, but only after roughly 12 hours have passed. When I restart I see that System Attendant has been binding to one of the remote DC/GCs and not the Master. Should i disable the two remote DCs from also being GCs? Is the fact that those two DCs are also GCs why it is choosing to bind to one of those instead of the Master DC? Thanks.

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To answer this part "Should i disable the two remote DCs from also being GCs?" - No, common practice now is to leave all DCs as GCs. –  TheCleaner Feb 8 '13 at 19:43

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

You should configure AD Sites and Services. Exchange (and many other services) use it when deciding what DC(s) to bind to. Just having everything in a single default site will lead to the issues that you're experiencing.


To address your comment, manipulating DNS record weights and priorities is the wrong way to handle this. You should read the AD Sites and Services documentation and then define three sites. One for your main site, and one for each branch. Then define subnet objects that correspond to your physical sites and assign them to the site objects. Then configure site links between the sites based on your physical topology. Finally, you should then move the existing DCs into the correct sites.

This is pretty basic stuff for administering an AD that spans multiple locations. Please take the time to carefully read the documentation and understand it before you go screwing around with DNS records manually.

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They are setup in Default-First-Site-Name. So i went in to DNS and set my priorities of the off site DCs to 1 and 2 respectively. Leaving the Master DC as priority 0. They were all priority 0 prior to me changing them just now. This should do the trick no? –  David Yenglin Feb 8 '13 at 19:48
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That's definitely the wrong way to do this. Domain Controllers register dozens on records for each service that they provide. I doubt you got them all. Chances are that you just changed the A records in the root of the zone, which really does nothing in this case. –  MDMarra Feb 8 '13 at 19:53
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Got it, thanks for your information. I will do some more reading. –  David Yenglin Feb 8 '13 at 19:59

Exchange uses the site topology from "Active Directory Sites and Services" to find DC's in its own site. If you haven't set up your sites in there, do it now.

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They are setup in Default-First-Site-Name. So i went in to DNS and set my priorities of the off site DCs to 1 and 2 respectively. Leaving the Master DC as priority 0. They were all priority 0 prior to me changing them just now. This should do the trick no? –  David Yenglin Feb 8 '13 at 19:46

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