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Symptom:

Microsoft DNS and DHCP servers in Active Directory environments can be managed agent free, i.e. without running a Men and Mice agent locally on the DNS/DHCP server.
While agent free management of DHCP servers is possible with any 6.x version of Men and Mice, version 6.3 or newer is required for agent free management of DNS servers.

Although it is not required to install an agent on the DNS/DHCP server itself, an agent must be installed somewhere in the same domain as the server resides. This agent will be used as a proxy that will handle all communications to the remote DNS/DHCP server(s). Usually, this proxy agent is installed on the same server as Men and Mice Central, assuming the Men and Mice Central server is a member in the domain. If the DNS/DHCP servers are widely distributed geographically, it can also be of performance benefit to install one agent in each geographic location. For instance, if there are datacenters in Iceland, India, and the United States, it is probably best to install one proxy agent in each datacenter that each handles communications with the DNS/DHCP servers in its datacenter. The proxy agent then in turn feeds all the information back to Men and Mice Central, eventually reaching the end-user in one of the Men and Mice user interfaces.

Naturally, the Men and Mice proxy agent must adhere to the security imposed by the Active Directory. Therefore, the proxy agent service must be running with a service account that has sufficient privileges for DNS and/or DHCP management in the domain. If the privileges are restricted, that will translate to the same restriction in Men and Mice. For instance, if the service account only has privileges to view DNS zones and records but not do any changes what so ever, the zones and records will show up in Men and Mice, but all changes to those zones will be denied by Men and Mice. The same applies to the DHCP server management, if the service account has read-only privileges to the scopes, the scopes will show up in Men and Mice but the end-user will not be able to do any changes.

Limitations:

DNS:

With agent-free management of MS DNS servers, as opposed to using a locally installed agent, you will lose the following ability in static zones only:

  • Disable resource record
  • Enable resource record
  • View and edit resource record comments
  • Disable zone

DHCP:

  • Collection of lease history is only possible when the agent is installed locally. No lease history will be collected from servers that are managed agent-free.
  • If netsh with full dhcp functionality is not installed properly, no scopes will show up in Men and Mice regardless of the privileges of the service account running the proxy DHCP agent. The proxy DHCP agent must be installed on a machine that has netsh with full dhcp capability. This is always the case if the DHCP role service is installed. If not, it can be installed (on Win2008R2) by Server Manager->Features->Remote Server Adminstration->Role Administration Tools->DHCP Server Tools.
  • It's recommended (but not required) that Windows 2003 DHCP servers are managed by proxy DHCP agents installed on Windows 2003 servers, and Windows 2008/R2 DHCP servers are managed by proxy DHCP agents installed on Windows 2008/R2 servers, due to some minor differences in the netsh between these two operating systems.