If someone tells me that the "Active Directory Domain Services" role is installed on a Windows server, does that mean that the DNS role is also installed? What software is part of the Active Directory Domain Services?

In other words, is DNS part of Active Directory Domain Services.


Nope. Active Directory Domain Services and DNS are two different server roles. They work tightly together but does not mean they are on the same machine. I had a Domain Controller which wasn't a DNS server at one site as well as the other way around, a server had DNS but not AD.

From Microsoft:

Microsoft Active Directory Domain Services are the foundation for distributed networks built on Windows 2000 Server, Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft Windows Server 2008 operating systems that use domain controllers. Active Directory Domain Services provide secure, structured, hierarchical data storage for objects in a network such as users, computers, printers, and services. Active Directory Domain Services provide support for locating and working with these objects.

And even better:

What is the AD DS server role?

AD DS provides a distributed database that stores and manages information about network resources and application-specific data from directory-enabled applications. Administrators can use AD DS to organize elements of a network, such as users, computers, and other devices, into a hierarchical containment structure. The hierarchical containment structure includes the Active Directory forest, domains in the forest, and organizational units (OUs) in each domain. A server that is running AD DS is called a domain controller.

From: Active Directory Domain Services Overview

  • 4
    @MaxMix ...that said, AD DS relies heavily on DNS, and the usual setup is that domain controllers also run DNS, for that reason. – HopelessN00b Mar 9 '14 at 23:32
  • How exactly do you install a domain controller that is not a DNS given that the domain controller install will automatically install the DNS and the DNS is a requirement for the domain controller? – TomTom Mar 10 '14 at 8:12

If I say, for example, that on this server Active Directory Domain Services is installed, does that mean that DNS is also installed?

No, and yes.

No, it is not installed WITH AD, but yes, it will be automatically installed if not already installed. It is a separate service, but the AD installer needs it to run a domain controller.

Are there other things that is installed with Active Directory Domain Services.

That is now the moment you should possibly consider reading the documentation - of AD and this site, which says no beginner questions.

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