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We are running Active Directory for our network (all Windows based). Single forest with 3 domain controllers.

We're in the process of doing some development work on a desktop application that will be used internally and make a few calls to an AD environment. However, since this is development we want to setup a non-production AD test domain.

Are there any problems in running two AD domains on the same network? It goes without saying that the test domain will have a different domain name, but I just wanted to make sure that I'm not pulling the pin on a grenade or anything :-)

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Short answer - yes

Longer answer - Since this is a test domain it is probably better to put in a test environment. This will allow you to make changes to it without even considering if something in production would or could be affected by whatever change you want to make within the test domain. You can even make a virtual test environment which would give you even more flexibility for making changes in less time (create snapshots for easy rollback, clone VMs for easy deployment, etc.). It also isolates it from the general user population and allows you to have control of all variables that could affect whatever you are testing.

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i have done this and not had a problem, if it is not a best practice can someone explain why? i just assume that i am using just the connections of the switches and network cables. again my test network is just a bunch of static ip systems connected to a switch here and there very vanilla. gd

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Yeah you can do it, Windows clients and servers won't be members of the test domain at machine level so in theory everything should be fine. Specific things to ensure would include not configuring a DHCP server on the second domain, and ensuring that it's in a different IP subnet. I would actually go so far as to put a router between the two domains so as to ensure that the normal AD "chatter" that happens on each doesn't go near the other.

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"Specific things to ensure would include not configuring a DHCP server on the second domain, and ensuring that it's in a different IP subnet." If you put it in a different subnet, then you COULD run DHCP since any DHCP traffic would be contained within the subnet unless you specifically configured a DHCP forwarder on the router. Subnetting the test network is a good idea though. –  August Aug 4 '09 at 17:27
    
Correct about DHCP in the second subnet, although if it's on the same physical network as the live domain with a different subnet but without a router between them, there's a possibility of live domain clients getting DHCP addresses from the test domain (and vice-versa). –  Darth Satan Aug 4 '09 at 17:39
    
The possibility would exist only if when configuring the test VLAN ports on the switch, you forgot to remove the test ports from the prod VLAN and they ended up being members of both VLANs (or if you accidentally plugged a test box into a prod port). –  August Aug 4 '09 at 19:08

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