In large networks, quality of service (QoS) is a requirement for traffic prioritization and even distribution. While most organizations face this challenge, not always are the appropriate resources in place to provide effective QoS. I firmly believe that QoS should be managed and controlled by network equipment, then network management software if the hardware is not available, and lastly by other software solutions. Windows Server 2008’s Group Policy offers QoS that can be managed fairly well in Active Directory environments to provide QoS for the last scenario, especially for remote sites.

The QoS policy settings for Windows Server 2008 are located in the Computer Configuration, Policies, Windows Settings, Policy-Based QoS setting of Group Policy. This area of the Group Policy administration area differs from the others in that it is wizard driven and has its own applet for configuration. Figure A shows the policy-based QoS wizard starting to configure a policy within a Group Policy object.
Figure A

The QoS setting through Group Policy has a few nice points that administrators can use to craft their implementations. The first is that this policy can apply to specific executable names, possibly addressing the chattier applications. Otherwise, it would apply to the entire computer’s policy. Second, the policy can apply to a source and destination IP address or for all traffic for both IP versions 4 and 6. Likewise, UDP and TCP port policy options are available.

More information on Microsoft’s QoS implementation can be found on the TechNet Web site.