Exchange 2010 – Data in Active Directory


In the last few days, surprisingly I had to answer this question multiple times to multiple people – Where is Exhange 2010 Data stored in Active Directory and how is it accessed? Well – Exchange Server 2010 stores all information in AD Directory Service database.

Schema Partition:

  • During Schema Preparation, Exchange extends the schema and adds Classes & Attributes required for Exchange specific information
  • Replicates to all Domain Controllers in the Forest

Domain Partition:

  • During Domain Preparation, updates objects in Default Contrainers and OUs to support Exchange
  • Recipient Information including Users / Groups
  • Replicates to all Domain Controllers in same domain
  • Replicates a sub-set to all Global Catalogs in Forest

Configuration Partition:

  • Stores Forest-wide information for Exchange like: – Exchange Global Settings – Transport Settings – System Policies – Client access settings – Connection Settings – Address lists – Address and display templates – MRM, Mobile, and UM Policies – E-mail address policies
  • Exchange information is stored in a seperate Sub Folder in Services Container in Configuration Partition
  • Replicates to all Domain Controllers and Global Catalogs in Forest

Now, that we are aware the AD Database stores all information, needless to say that AD Domain Controllers need to be available for Exchange to function properly (DC unavailability – a reason for majority of supoprt calls)

How: All Exchange Servers have a Service – Active Directory Topology running that accesses information from all AD Partitions. This service uses a AD API to access information. Exchange binds to DC/GC in same site. You can use Get-ExchangeServer cmdlet to check which DC is being accessed for getting information from AD.