Key Management Service (KMS) enables organizations to perform local activations for computers in a managed environment without the need to connect to Microsoft. A KMS key is used to enable KMS on a computer controlled by the system administrator in an organization. KMS activation is targeted at managed environments where more than 25 computers are connected to the organizational network. Computers running Windows Vista activate by connecting to a central Windows Vista computer running KMS.

 

Top Questions

 

1.     How to install and configure a KMS activation?

Answer: Please refer to the technical document: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/plan/volact1.mspx#StepsforImplementingConfigDeployingKMS

 

2.     What is the anticipated network traffic for KMS activation?

Answers: Approximately 250 bytes are sent in each direction for a complete client-KMS exchange, plus TCP session overhead. The only additional network traffic is for auto-discovery, which usually occurs only once per client computer, as long as the same KMS continues to be available for subsequent renewals.

 

3.     Could the KMS server be installed on a Windows Server 2003 server?

Answer: Yes, Windows Server 2003 KMS service for Volume Activation 2.0 is currently under development with expected availability in 2007.

 

4.     Are there any high availability options for KMS (such as clustering or network load balancing)?

Answer: A form of load balancing is built in for DNS autodiscovery. Computers query the list of KMS machines returned by DNS and choose one at random. If this location becomes unavailable, they then choose another. If DNS autodiscovery is not used, robin-robin load balancing can be implemented using a CNAME record with multiple A / AAAA records – or even using a Cisco Director or equivalent.

 

Reference

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Volume Activation information for Windows Vista http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929712/en-us

 

KMS Activation FAQ http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/plan/faq.mspx#EEBAC