AD RMS Deployment in a Resource Forest Step-by-Step Guide

Applies To: Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2

Authored By: Bill Mathers

This step-by-step guide walks you through the process of configuring Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD RMS) in a test environment that includes a Microsoft® Exchange Server 2007 resource forest. An Exchange Server resource forest is also called a dedicated Exchange Server forest. A basic example of an Exchange Server resource forest topology has two forests. One forest contains the primary user accounts for your organization. This forest is called the accounts forest. The other forest does not contain any primary user accounts. It only contains the Exchange Server servers and disabled user accounts. It will also contain the AD RMS servers. This forest is called the resource forest. A full copy of this document for download can be found at Active Directory Rights Management Services in a Resource Forest – End-to-End Solution (

In this guide, the AD RMS cluster will be extended to allow users from the accounts forest to create and consume protected content. Once complete, you can use the test AD RMS lab environment to assess how AD RMS on Windows Server® 2008 can be created and deployed within your organization to accommodate for a resource forest.


In order for the test environment to work, the security identifier (SID) of the user accounts from the accounts forest are mapped to the sIDHistory attribute of their corresponding disabled user account in the resource forest. It is important that you understand using SIDs and sIDHistory across forests, which is outside the scope of this documentation. For more information see Using SID History to Preserve Resource Access (

This version of deploying AD RMS does not represent the only acceptable architectural design. Another possible design consists of having a certification-only cluster in the accounts forest and a licensing-only AD RMS cluster in the resource forest.

In this document, the linked-mailboxes in the resource forest are either created manually, with Exchange System Manager, or Windows PowerShell in the automated portion. Another acceptable way of accomplishing this would be to modify the ILM FP1 provisioning code and use the ExchangeUtils class. For additional information about ExchangeUtils see the ILM FP1 SDK on MSDN (

The infrastructure required before implementing the steps in this document is fairly extensive. Although these steps are outside the scope of this document, the Appendix H - Pre-Implementation Checklists topic provides some useful checklists in addition to reference links that will help you set up your environment. The software requirements are listed in the Prerequisites for AD RMS Deployment in a Resource Forest topic.

The Administrator account in each forest was installed with Pass1word$ as a password. If you have setup your environment with a different password, make sure that you substitute it where appropriate.

As you complete the steps in this guide, you will:

  • Configure Microsoft® Identity Lifecycle Manager 2007 (ILM 2007) Feature Pack 1.

  • Write some code and compile it with Microsoft® Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1.

  • Use Active Directory Migration Tool (ADMT) to migrate an account user's SID to a resource user's sIDHistory.

  • Use Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Windows PowerShell to create linked mailboxes.

  • Verify e-mail functionality after you complete the configuration.

  • Verify AD RMS functionality after you complete the configuration.


ILM 2007 FP1 is not required for AD RMS. However, we strongly recommend it for this guide. It is used in this scenario to accomplish the following:

  • Automatically provision disabled user accounts into the resource forest based on their corresponding accounts forest user account.

  • Automatically provision users to a SQL table and track when that user has had their sIDHistory attribute populated.


Visual Studio 2008 is not required for AD RMS. It is used in the scenario described in these topics to compile the ILM FP1 extensions and the automation application, which uses the code provided in the Appendices. If the full version of Visual Studio 2008 is unavailable, you can use the one of the express editions. For more information about Visual Studio products see Visual Studio 2008 Express Editions (

What This Guide Does Not Provide

This guide does not provide the following: