How to Configure DHCP High Available in Server 2012 R2

Dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) is providing IP addresses to network client workstations and server machines. The DHCP High Available role acts as load sharing and fault tolerance. So in this article we explain and configure DHCP high available to an step by step manner guide.

Before applying DCHP high available role in your production environment, once test it in a testing lab. For configuring dhcp high availability you need two Windows Server and a client for testing. I have a DC server installed Active directory, DNS Server, and DHCP Server. My second server is only DHCP installed.

The DHCP Failover Architecture

The two features of DHCP role for high availability are Hot Standby, and Load Sharing. In hot standby mode the primary server is responsible for providing IP addresses to clients and the secondary server is watching the primary server failure . When the primary DHCP server failed or not servicing properly, the secondary server start works to provide IP address instead of primary server.

If you are new with DHCP server, I recommend you to read the following article about DHCP Server.

  1. Install and configure DHCP role in Windows Server 2012 R2
  2. How to Configure DHCP in Cisco Routers?

I assume you know the basics of Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol.

Configure DHCP High Available

Now let’s start to configure DHCP high available in Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2016. Both works the same.

  1. Login to DC server and type “dhcpmgmt.msc” in Windows run to open the DHCP management console.
DHCP Management Console – Configure DHCP High Available

2. Add the second DHCP server to this primary DHCP management console. In order to do this right click the DHCP and select Add Server. Now select the secondary DHCP server from the list or browse and type the name of server you want to add it. Then click OK to add the second server.

Add Server to DHCP Management Console

Here is the result, the two servers are now have a Central access.

Multi-DHCP Server

3. To configure DHCP high available, right click on IPv4 on primary server and click Configure Failover. On the Configure Failover page read the introduction to DCHP failover then click Next.

4. Click Add Server and select the server form list. or simply specify the partner server to use for failover then click Next.

Specify the partner server to use for failover

5. On the Create a new failover relationship page, select Load balance mode and type a password then click Next.

Create a new failover relationship

6. Finally click Finish to set up failover between two servers. Make sure the process should be finished successfully. Close the page and to to see the changes on DHCP management console.

Final Result of DHCP Failover

7. Once refresh the DHCP console or reconnect the server to see the final result. Now the DHCP servers are ready to work as DHCP load balancing service and your clients never fail to obtain IP address.

Configure DHCP High Available

It is the easiest way using DHP high availability in Windows Servers 2012 and Windows Server 2016. I hope it has been informative for you and appreciate you to comment us the DHCP relevant problems.

DHCP ServerFailoverHigh AvailableLoad Balance
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  • Farhang

    so great article