Can't shake WINS? Consider the GlobalNames zone in Windows Server 2008 DNS

WINS has been around forever, and with every core upgrade of the network infrastructure it seems to make a case to stay around. Windows Server 2008's DNS engine has a feature that can aid in the removal of WINS, the GlobalNames zone.

For organizations with an Active Directory-Integrated DNS configuration, one of the challenges over the years has been the removal of Windows Internet Name Service, or WINS. Windows Server 2008 (WS2K8) introduces the GlobalNames zone (GNZ) where larger environments with multiple DNS suffixes can use a single name host across all domains.

How the GNZ works is by creating a zone that is resolvable without regard to the suffix order. The ideal scenario is for a host that may be called "" and all clients across different domains, with their respective suffix configurations, can access the Intranet simply by putting "Intranet" in their Web browser. The other domains may have DNS suffixes such as: or The Intranet server with the DNS suffix can be accessed across all zones with the short name regardless of suffix.

To use the GNZ, there are a few planning points. First of all, you should not have a forward zone that you are already using called "GlobalNames," that is going to be a problem! The DNS server needs to be WSK8, but domain controllers can be 2003. As a note for planning, the GNZ is currently not permitted to support dynamic updates, which is a reflection of the static nature of the zone. Lastly, the GlobalNames support needs to be enabled. This is done with the following command:

dnscmd DNSServerName /config /enableglobalnamessupport 1

Once you have the feature enabled, make a primary forward zone with the name "GlobalNames" within the DNS console. Once the zone is ready, you can make entries to the GNZ. When a request is made to the GNZ, the FQDN of the host is returned to the requesting client. So, in the example above, if a client from any subdomain of tries to access "intranet," it will resolve to the FQDN of

More information on GNZ can be found in the Microsoft DNS Server GlobalNames Zone Deployment guide.


Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

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