RMS System Overview

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

This topic provides information about how the RMS Web services and RMS client technologies work together in an RMS system.

The following table lists the types of servers that are involved in an RMS deployment and describes their functions. For detailed deployment information, see "RMS: Deployment " in this documentation collection.

Cluster Function


Runs the following RMS services:

  • Subenrollment. Subenrolls servers in licensing-only cluster.

  • Activation proxy. Acts as an Internet proxy for client requests for lockboxes and RMS machine certificates.

  • Certification. Issues rights account certificates.

  • Publishing. Issues publishing licenses.

  • Licensing. Issues use licenses.

Every deployment must include at least one server in a root cluster. There can be only one root cluster per Active Directory forest.

Licensing-only (optional)

Runs the following RMS services:

  • Publishing. Issues publishing licenses.

  • Licensing. Issues use licenses.

Licensing-only cluster are often deployed to support individual departments or to offload licensing requests from the root cluster. Licensing-only clusters are optional.

Database server, such as SQL Server

  • Runs the RMS configuration, logging, and directory services databases.

  • Stores rights account certificates in the configuration database of the root cluster.

Domain controller and global catalog

  • Provides user authentication and directory services.

  • Stores the service discovery location of the root cluster.

RMS uses the Enrollment and Activation services hosted by Microsoft to provide a common root of trust for the system. For more information, see "RMS Trust Hierarchy" later in this subject.

The following diagram depicts the different components of an RMS system and their roles in the system. Arrows represent requests and responses that are being passed between the different components.

RMS System Components

For more information about each component, see "RMS Software Components" later in this subject.