Managing Active Directory Domain Rename

Changing the domain name of a network is a complicated process. It is a task that Microsoft itself describes as ‘complex’ and that it ‘should not be undertaken lightly’, so you can see that to carry it out you really do need to be able to trust in an expert.

The domain name of a network is the foundation upon which the entire network is built upon. Changing it can potentially affect all devices, not just Windows servers and clients. If the rename is not completed successfully there is the possibility that servers will fail to communicate and client computers will be unable to login, or access data. Business critical software applications often require network authentication to permit access, so if the network fails to respond due to an unsuccessful rename, the consequences for a business could be catastrophic.

When a long-standing customer approached Vantage IT and asked us to rename its domain, the first thing to do was plan the entire procedure. Due to the potential risks that faced our customer if the process were to fail, the plan was a key part of the work. Once the planning had been completed, Vantage IT created and ran an entire test environment which included virtual servers and clients. We were able to safely simulate the work involved before it was carried out on the live network.

Microsoft does offer technical information to assist with managing an active directory domain rename; information which includes the statement “The domain rename process is complex, and it requires a great deal of care in planning and execution…although domain rename is possible, it should not be undertaken lightly.” However, the documentation it offers is unfortunately incomplete; leaving out some crucial details that will more than likely cause problems after the rename has been concluded.

Thankfully, due to the planning and testing Vantage IT carried out, we discovered these omissions and the work was successfully completed without any problems. Indeed, one of the most satisfying parts of the work was that users left their offices on a Friday afternoon and on their return on Monday morning, they didn’t notice that anything had changed. Indeed only the most observant user would see the domain name change on the login screen.

If you require help with a full domain rename or with reorganising the structure of sub-domains on your network, Vantage IT would be pleased to offer assistance.