DirectAccess, Essentials 2012 and the mystery of DNS Failures

I am writing this post in order to try and highlight the issues people are having with DA, and suggest a course of action. Rather than simply reply to comments about various bits not working.

It was October last year when i posted my process for enabling DA on Essentials 2012, and at the time i was really excited about the new OS and the possibilities that having a supported DA configuration for SMB would bring. If you are not on-board with DA and what it can bring your customers – you need to consider it. Just like PowerShell i think DA is a really important technology for people to be picking up and deploying for small businesses.

Unfortunately, it is not working as smoothly as i had hoped, and, Microsofts response so far has not been ideal and has sapped a lot of the passion i had for this product.

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Enable DirectAccess on Windows Server 2012 Essentials


This post is now quite out of date and the instructions within are no longer reliable. Please refer to Microsoft’s own document online for the relevant steps.

One of the coolest improvements in Server 2012, is the simplification of DirectAccess. Not just the steps to enable it, but the requirements for your infrastructure to support it. In the past it was beyond most SMBs due to the need to have 2 consecutive public IPs a dedicated DA server, IP 6to4 translation capable equipment, and not to mention Windows 7 Enterprise, which few SMBs deploy. Moving into the 2012 line of products DA has become much more available to SMBs with the reduction in infrastructure requirements. Taking Essentials as an example, we can now run DA using just a standard Internet connected router, and with just our Essentials box as the DA endpoint.

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