Role of Global Catalog Server in a Domain

Posted: September 10, 2012 in Active Directory, DNS, Domain Controller, Server, Server 2003, Server 2008
Tags: , , , , ,

By Default a Global Catalog is created automatically on the initial Domain Controller in the forest. It stores a full replica of all the objects in the directory for its host domain and a partial replica of all objects contained in the directory of every other domain in the forest. The replica is partial because it stores some, but not all, of the property values for every object in the forest.

The Global Catalog performs two key directory roles:

–  It enables network logon by providing universal group membership information to a domain controller when a logon process is initiated.

–  It enables finding directory information in the entire forest regardless of which domain in the forest actually contains the data.

When a user logs in to the network, the global catalog provides universal group membership information for the account sending the logon request to the domain controller. If there is only one domain controller in the Domain, the domain controller and the global catalog are the same server. If there are multiple domain controllers in the network, the global catalog is hosted on the domain controller configured as such. If a Global Catalog is not available when a user initiates a network logon process, the user is only able to log on to the local computer.

Note: If a user is a member of the Domain Admins group, then they will be able to log on to the network even when the Global Catalog is not available.

The Global Catalog is designed to respond to queries about objects anywhere in the forest with maximum speed and minimum network traffic, because a single Global Catalog contains information about objects in all domain in the forest, a query about an object can be resolved by a global catalog in the domain in which the query is initiated. Thus finding the information in the directory does not produce unnecessary query traffic across domain boundaries.

You can optionally configure any domain controller to host a global catalog, based on your Company’s requirements for servicing logon requests and search queries.

After Additional domain controllers are installed in the domain, you can change the default location of the global catalog to another domain controller using the Active Directory Sites and Services.

 

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