Keeping Active Directory Clean Keeps Exchange, Lync and SharePoint Lean and Mean!

July 9, 2014   //   Unified Communications, , , , ,

It’s going to be a hot summer and if you haven’t done your spring cleaning, I would suggest you start with Active Directory. Read my blog to learn how keeping your Active Directory clean keeps your Microsoft Exchange, Lync and SharePoint environments lean and mean.

I can’t tell you how many times in my career I have seen companies scramble to put out a fire that could have been prevented by simply maintaining their Active Directory environment. Business critical applications such as Microsoft Exchange, Lync and SharePoint rely heavily on Active Directory and when it’s not healthy, they aren’t either. How do I check my Active Directory? That’s a good question!

Here are some easy ways that you can check to see if your Active Directory is running smoothly:

BPA Free?

Yes…as in Microsoft Best Practice Analyzer! You can use the Microsoft BPA to check things like Active Directory DS and DNS on your Domain Controller and it’s built into Windows Server 2008 R2 through the most recent version, Windows Server 2012 R2.

For more information on Microsoft Best Practice Analyzer, check out the following link from Microsoft: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd392255(v=ws.10).aspx

DCDiag

You should be running this very helpful tool once a week on your Domain Controllers. The DCDiag tool allows you to verify the overall well-being of your Domain Controllers.

For more information about DCDiag, check out the following link from Microsoft:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc731968.aspx

Event Viewer

Your Event Viewer logs are not supposed to be on Fire! I can’t tell you how many times I have gone into a customer’s environment to fix an issue and when I look at their Domain Controller Event logs, they are on fire. Event Viewer logs are a simple indicator that something is wrong within your Active Directory environment. You should not be seeing a bunch of red in there.

For more information about Event Viewer and Logs, check out the following link from Microsoft:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc766042.aspx

Forest / Domain Time

What time is it? Hopefully all of you domain controllers in the whole Forest can give the same answer. A proper time source is very important for your overall Active Directory Health. When Domain Controllers are out of sync with each other very bad things can happen including authentication and permission problems. Another thing people often do not consider is that when you have a virtual environment such as VMware you should NOT synchronize your Domain Controllers to the VM Host. You should always use the PDCe in the Forest.

For more information about Windows Time, check out the following link from Microsoft:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc816712(v=ws.10).aspx
Remember that you cannot take the “set it and forget it” approach to Active Directory! Keeping your Active Directory healthy is critical to keeping your Microsoft Exchange, Lync and SharePoint environments running smoothly.

To learn more about Active Directory and Microsoft Unified Communications, please join us for one of our upcoming Chicagoland UC events.

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