WINS has been around for a long time, and there is now a method to allow you to finally decommission those old WINS servers. There are still valid requirements for continued use of single-name or NetBIOS resolution in your network. Some legacy clients, servers, and applications require WINS, and this requirement extends to Windows Server 2008, which uses WINS for Network Load Balancing (NLB), as discussed later in this chapter.
The WINS service provides a dynamic address registration service that is used to register clients and resolve NetBIOS names to IP addresses on your network, to enable clients to find other computers and resources. NetBIOS names were developed to provide a mechanism for applications and computers to communicate in a networked environment. Each NetBIOS name is composed of a 16-byte address. The first 15 bytes represent the name of the computer, and the 16th byte represents the service provided by the computer or application.
Windows Server 2008 introduces the GlobalNames Zone in DNS that allows administrators to configure a DNS zone that will resolve single-label names in the same way WINS currently does, possibly allowing you to move away from WINS.
As I said earlier, WINS can still be used with Windows Server 2008 for much the same reason as it was used in Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003—for the resolution of NetBIOS names. You install WINS by opening Add/Remove Programs and then clicking Add/Remove Windows Components. When the Windows Components dialog box appears, select the Network Services option, click the Details button, and select Windows Internet Name Service. Once the installation is complete, open the WINS console from Administrative Tools and click on the name of the server; the green upward arrow appears, as you can see in Figure 16.1. In most cases, installing the WINS service and using the default settings with the installation will suffice in providing name resolution for your network.
You will need to add some static mappings to your WINS server for proper connection to servers and possibly to some clients. If you need to create a static mapping, right-click the Active Registrations tab, select the New Static Mapping tab, and fill in the information fields as shown in Figure 16.2. There is the potential for problems with static mappings, which we will cover in the section "Troubleshooting Tools and WINS."
The need for WINS still exists in Windows Server 2008, mainly for Network Load Balancing (NLB) because NLB uses NetBIOS names. NLB enables you to enhance the scale and availability of IP-based servers. Using NLB with several servers running the same program—for example, Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS)-enabled web servers in an NLB cluster—will provide a redundant environment for critical applications. The functionality of WINS can be met by using another NetBIOS Name Service (NBNS) or an LMHOSTS file.
Installation of WINS
Creating a static mapping in WINS
The GlobalNames Zone to Help Replace WINS
While the GlobalNames Zone can resolve single-label names such as WINS, it may not be a complete replacement for WINS. WINS may still be required for single-label name resolution for records that are dynamically registered in WINS. These records are not typically managed by administrators, nor are they scalable for large enterprises with multiple domains or forests.
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