Attributes in .NET

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Domain Controller
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Name: XPRIN34 New Name: ACCTPRIN Model: Z43653 ACCTPRIN Staple Color Double-sided Domain Controller
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Domain Controller The name of the printer object has been changed. Due to attribute replication, only the name change needs to be replicated to all other domain controllers, not the entire object and all of its other attributes.
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Figure 13-1: Attribute replication
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Part III Active Directory Management
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Update Sequence Numbers (USNs)
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Another concept you need to understand is Update Sequence Numbers (USNs). The Active Directory uses USNs, which are 64-bit numbers, in order to keep track of changes that occur to objects in the Active Directory. When an object is changed, its USN is updated so that all other domain controllers have an outdated USN for that object. By using USNs and updating them when database changes occur, domain controllers know they must receive replication data in order to update their databases. Each domain controller maintains a USN table that lists all of the USN numbers. When replication occurs, the USN table is checked for outdated USNs. Only the highest USN is stored to ensure that only the most current data is saved in the database. When you examine an Active Directory object s properties, such as a user account, you can click the Object tab and see the original USN and the current USN for the object, as shown in Figure 13-2.
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Figure 13-2: Object tab
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If you do not see an Object tab, then in the Active Directory Users and Computers tool, click View Advanced. The Object tab will appear.
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13 Managing Active Directory Replication
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Because of USNs, timestamps, which often made directory replication difficult due to time synchronization, are no longer necessary. However, the Active Directory still maintains timestamps for tiebreaking purposes using the W32Time service in Windows 2000. For example, suppose that two different administrators working on two different domain controllers change the same attribute of an object at almost exactly the same time (which is rather unlikely). Now you have two USN updates for the same object. The Active Directory can use the timestamp to determine which update is the latest. The latest update always wins the tiebreaker.
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Store and forward, replication partners, and topology
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Active Directory replication uses a process called store and forward. This simply means that replication changes are not directly sent to every domain controller. Instead, changes made on one domain controller are replicated to that domain controller s replication partners, who then send the replicated data to their replication partners, and so forth until the replicated data reaches all domain controllers. Fortunately for us, the Active Directory internally determines which domain controllers will be partners. This is accomplished through an automatic replication topology generation through the Windows 2000 Knowledge Consistency Checker (KCC) service. The KCC is built in to every Windows 2000 domain controller and runs every 15 minutes by default. Within an Active Directory site, the Active Directory creates its own topology using the KCC to determine which domain controller will replicate to another domain controller. This partner approach ensures that each domain controller receives replicated data through a partner and reduces network traffic because each domain controller doesn t have to replicate with every other domain controller when a database change occurs. The KCC is used to create dynamic connection objects between domain controllers. Replication partners can be either direct or transitive, and a connection object is defined as a potential direct replication partner. Connection objects directly replicate with one another and all other partners transitively receive the replicated data. Again, this process reduces great bursts of network traffic because a single domain controller does not need to communicate directly with all other domain controllers for replication to occur. By default, connection objects form a bidirectional ring based on information you provide about sites and cost of connections. Within the site, this bidirectional ring is constructed by the KCC so that the average number of hops a directory change will have to make is three or less. When a change is made on one domain controller that needs to be replicated, the process begins by waiting for a replication interval to occur, which is every 5 minutes. After this, data is replicated around the ring directly among connection objects and transitively to transitive partners. In a site, a complete replication cycle should take 15 minutes or less.
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