How ESM discovers domain controllers


Something that comes as a surprise to many Exchange administrators is that the Exchange System Management (ESM) tool does not use DSAccess to discover the DC it will talk to.  Instead it discovers the DC it will use on its own, using ADSI to do a server-less binding to the directory.  The reason behind this is because of ESM's extensive use of and queries to Active Directory. 

This is not of any concern and normally it's not a problem.  However, if you do get into the scenario where your Active Directory is out of sync and it so happens that the DC referred to your server by DSAccess does end up being different than the DC ESM has bound itself to (ESM & server in different sites for instance), you could find that settings modified are delayed being picked up by the server while waiting for replication to take place.  This could also account for an apparent difference in the setting you view and what the server appears to be using, although this shouldn't happen unless you have just modified the setting or your AD replication between the DCs being used is behind.

Amanda Langowski

Comments (8)
  1. Rick says:

    This is one thing that really annoys me about ESM.

    I miss the feature in 5.5 where you can choose from a pull down menu the server (directory) you wish to view.

    I realize that you can accomplish the same thing with ESM, it’s just a little more difficult to do so.

  2. KC Lemson says:

    That’s a good idea, Rick… I’ve opened a DCR (Design change request) in our database to track this suggestion.

  3. I was under the impression that ESM required a GC, like Exchange. Does the ESM actually not require this?

    For example, when I build an address list in ESM, I then use the Preview button to test it. Is ESM actually querying a GC here (because a DC wouldn’t necessarily be sufficient), or is ESM doing some RPC with an Exchange server (which is in turn communicating with a GC)?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Exchange-faq.dk – Din portal til Microsoft Exchange Server information

  5. Jon Gollogly says:

    You can still select manually your dc or change it using dsadiag (for exchange 2000)

  6. Amanda Langowski says:

    You are correct, ESM does use GCs as well. Certain attributes, for instance, are only available on GCs. However, I used the term DC in the problem description to mean DC regardless of whether it is a "plain" domain controller or a domain controller with the GC role.

  7. GrahamM says:

    FYI, you can choose what DC is used by ESM.

    1. Start, Run, MMC

    2. File, Add/Remove Snap-In

    3. Click Add.

    4. Choose Exchange System Management and click Add

    5. A dialog is presented to choose a DC

    Click OK or Close until you’re back to MMC

    Viola! Your System Manager is now using the DC you chose.

  8. Jesse Cadd says:

    Better yet, I wish we could simply right click on the ORG object and choose a different DC/GC, like you can in practically every other AD administration tool…

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