Ask the Expert

Joining an existing Active Directory forest vs. creating a new one

Our agency is trying to weigh the pros and cons of migrating to the U.S. Army Active Directory (AD) forest. We may try to justify becoming our own forest. We're concerned about privacy of records. Will the U.S. Army's AD administrator be able to view our agency's records if we join its forest?

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If you are concerned about privacy and the absolute guarantee of security boundaries, I would consider implementing your own forest. Then you have absolute control, without the concern of the forest enterprise admins. If you need to limit their access into your domain -- assuming you stay a part of their implementation -- you should insist on a comprehensive auditing process to ensure that you maintain the security boundary you desire.

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Related information from

  • Expert Advice: Migrate Exchange 5.5 intact or install on new forest?
  • Expert Advice: Building an Exchange resource forest
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  • Tip: Pros and cons of multiple Exchange Server organizations
  • Reference Center: Exchange Server and Active Directory tips and resources
  • This was first published in June 2006

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