As some of you may be aware, our team is in the process of documenting and referencing preparation materials for the certification exam 70-410: “Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012”.  

In this article, my goal is to point you to learning resources around deploying and configuring DNS which falls under the “Deploy and Configure Core Network Services” category:

Deploy and Configure Core Network Services (16%)

  • Configure IPv4 and IPv6 addressing
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: Configure IP address options; configure subnetting; configure supernetting; configure interoperability between IPv4 and IPv6; configure ISATAP; configure Teredo
  • Deploy and configure Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) service
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: Create and configure scopes; configure a DHCP reservation; configure DHCP options; configure client and server for PXE boot; configure DHCP relay agent; authorize DHCP server
  • Deploy and configure DNS service
    • This objective may include but is not limited to: Configure Active Directory integration of primary zones; configure forwarders; configure Root Hints; manage DNS cache; create A and PTR resource records

(Note that the exam objective above is also targeted in the related upgrade exam for IT Pros certified as an MCSA on Windows Server 2008: Exam 70-417, Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA on Windows Server 2012.  As such, this study guide is also relevant for individuals preparing for this objective on the upgrade exam.)

What is the Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Challenge?

The Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Challenge is a FREE online peer study group that is leveraging a set of study resources, such as this study guide, to prepare for the MCSA on Windows Server 2012 certification exams as an IT Pro community.  This study guide and the "Early Experts" Challenge are intended as post-training resources for IT Pros with significant prior experience in previous versions of Windows Server and/or IT Pros that have completed formal training on Windows Server 2012 and are preparing for certification.  Formal instructor-led training on these exam objectives is available from local Microsoft Learning partners that are delivering the following Microsoft Official Course:

Completion of this study guide satisfies one portion of the "Early Experts" Installer Quest study requirements.  Learn more about the "Early Experts" Challenge peer study group and join us online at: http://earlyexperts.net.

Watch: DNS Overview

I found a very good series of videos on YouTube created and submitted by Barry Brown, a professor of computer science at Sierra College near Sacramento, California.  Here is the first in his series of DNS videos, where he introduces what it is and how it’s organized:

And here is the link to his YouTube Playlist of DNS videos: “How the Domain Name System (DNS) Works

Study: DNS Resources

As long as DNS has been around, it’s pretty easy to find good materials and overviews by doing search on DNS Overview.

The first (and best) result is the main DNS Overview page at the Microsoft TechNet Library.

If you’re already well-versed in Microsoft’s DNS and how it worked in  Windows Server 2008 R2 and earlier, you might want to study the page on “What’s New in DNS” on Windows Server 2012.

Do:  Three Simple Lab Assignments

Here are three exercises that will get you started into learning more about DNS in Windows Server 2012.

1.  Install a Domain Controller using PowerShell.

In your virtual test lab (you do have a virtual test lab with the ability to create virtual machines, right?), on a fresh and updated install of Windows Server 2012, logged in as an administrator, run the following PowerShell commands. 
To add the Active Directory Domain Services:

Add-WindowsFeature AD-Domain-Services

And then to configure the server as the first domain controller in the new “Contoso.test” domain, use these two commands:

Import-Module ADDSDeployment


Install-ADDSForest -CreateDnsDelegation:$false -DatabasePath "C:\Windows\NTDS" -DomainMode "Win2012" -DomainName "Contoso.text" -DomainNetbiosName "CONTOSO" -ForestMode "Win2012" -InstallDns:$true -LogPath "C:\Windows\NTDS" -NoRebootOnCompletion:$false -SysvolPath "C:\Windows\SYSVOL" -Force:$true

You will be prompted (twice) to set a safe-mode administrator password.

Once the install is complete and the server has restarted, this will allow you to begin working with DNS in the context of being integrated with Active Directory.  What you’ve done is to install the Active Directory Domain Services, and configure the machine as a domain controller.  By default, your new domain controller uses DNS / Active Directory Integration – which means that Active Directory depends upon DNS, and provides built-in mechanisms that replicate (duplicate) DNS configurations among other DC’s that are Domain Controllers using AD replication.

OR – if you just want to install DNS alone on that server (and also the DNS management console), run these two commands from PowerShell:

Add-WindowsFeature DNS
Add-WindowsFeature RSAT-DNS-Server

Installing DNS alone doesn’t give you the management tool, so that’s what the second feature installs.

2.  Set up a new DNS Zone and some records

Open up the DNS Management and add new Zone.

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Walk through the wizard and make note of the options.

Create a new Host record:

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3.  Expand Your Lab and Try Out DNSSEC

And finally, to try out one of the new features in DNS in Windows Server 2012, I recommend you walk through the “Step-by-Step: Demonstrate DNSSEC in a Test Lab” guide.

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I hope you’ve found this resource, plus the other articles and resources in the Early Experts Challenge, useful!