How Many Servers To Use

The number of Windows NT–based WINS servers an enterprise requires depends on two factors: the number of WINS clients per server and the network topology. The number of users each server can support depends on usage patterns, data storage, and the processing capabilities of the server. You might need to upgrade your server hardware to handle WINS service.

Clients Per Server

A single WINS server can adequately service up to 10,000 clients for NetBIOS name resolution requests and for WINS service, which is enough for a small network. To provide additional fault tolerance, you should configure a second computer running Windows 2000 and use it as a secondary (or backup) WINS server for clients.

If your network uses only two WINS servers, they should be configured as each other's replication partners. For simple replication between two servers, you should configure one server as a pull partner and the other server as a push partner. You can configure replication manually, or you can set it to be performed automatically by selecting the Enable Automatic Partner Configuration check box, which is on the Advanced property tab under Replication Partner properties.

WINS Server Performance

A WINS server should always be a dedicated device; it should not also be a domain controller, a mail server, or anything else. It should also have a high-performance disk subsystem, such as a RAID array. In general, avoid deploying WINS on domain controllers or on servers that perform other tasks unless absolutely necessary.

A WINS server can typically register 1,500 names per minute or answer 4,500 queries per minute. A conservative recommendation is to install one WINS server and a backup server for every 10,000 computers on the network, which is based on these query response rates. You should plan for the worst cases, such as large-scale power outages that force many computers to restart simultaneously.

Two factors enhance WINS server performance:

  1. A dual-processor WINS server increases performance almost 25 percent.

  2. A dedicated disk drive measurably improves WINS server name replication response time.

After you establish WINS servers on an intranet, you can also adjust the renewal interval. Setting this interval to reduce the numbers of registrations can improve server response time. You can set the renewal interval when you configure the server, and you can change the interval later in the WINS Replication Partner property sheet.