Windows Server 2008 : DHCP/WINS/Domain Controllers - Exploring Advanced DHCP Concepts

2/18/2011 2:40:40 PM
DHCP has been an unassuming network service as of late. The simplicity of the protocol is another reason for its success because it is not cursed by a high degree of administrative complexity. However, greater control over a DHCP environment can be achieved through the understanding of some advanced concepts regarding its use. Some of these concepts are new to Windows Server 2008 R2, and some were introduced in Windows 2000 Server, Windows Server 2003, and Windows Server 2008. These improvements can help you gain control over a DHCP environment and provide for more security and ease of use.

Understanding DHCP Superscopes

A DHCP superscope is used for environments in which multiple network subnets encompass a single scope environment. In these cases, a superscope can be created to contain multiple scopes. The individual scopes are subsequently dependent on the master superscope. If it is turned off, they will also be deactivated.

Examining DHCP Multicast Scopes

A multicast scope is created to allow clients to be assigned multicast IP addresses. A multicast IP address is one in which destination hosts can each have the same IP address, which is useful in one-to-many forms of communications, such as webcasts and videoconferencing sessions.

Delegating Administration of DHCP

It is never wise to hand over full administrative privileges to individuals who need to perform only a specific network function. If a small group of administrators needs control over the DHCP environment, Windows Server 2008 R2 makes it easy to delegate administrative capabilities to them through the inclusion of a group called DHCP Administrators. Adding users or, preferably, groups to this security group will enable those users to administer the DHCP servers in an environment. If the DHCP server is a member server, this will be a local security group. If DHCP is deployed on a domain controller, this will be a domain security group and membership in this group will apply to all DHCP servers in the domain that are running on domain controllers. There is also another group named DHCP Users that can be used to grant read-only view rights to the DHCP system. This is a good group for desktop or Network Operations Center administrators to be members of.

Using the Netsh Command-Line Utility

Windows Server 2008 R2 has made great strides in allowing virtually all administrative functions to be performed through the command line. This not only helps those users who are used to command-line administration, such as that in UNIX operating systems, but also allows for the execution of scripts and batch files, which can automate administrative processes. The Netsh command-line utility is one such utility that effectively allows administrators to accomplish virtually all DHCP tasks that can be run through the MMC GUI interface. For a full listing of potential functions with Netsh, run netsh /? from the command line, as illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Netsh command-line options.
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