A design glitch in Windows 2000 Server poses an administration problem for businesses using server configurations with more than 51 IP addresses.
The bug leaves Windows 2000 Server's Domain Controller (DC) and Active Directory (AD) technology inaccessible.
Identified by two sources and confirmed by Microsoft, the glitch prohibits administrators from adding more than 51 IP addresses to a Windows 2000 Server configured as a DC. Doing so stops the server from authenticating users and prevents the administrative tools from working, the sources said.
Among the first to identify this problem was Terabyte Computers, a US consulting firm specialising in networks. Because of the glitch, hosting the FTP sites needed by all its branch offices will mean two Windows 2000 Servers are needed instead of one, one to act as the DC and the other with all the IP addresses.
"This is a major bug in their flagship operating system (OS) affecting its hot-ticket AD. Microsoft needs to be encouraged to fix problems, not brush them aside," said Brian Bergin, president of Terabyte.
Small Internet service providers face the biggest risks because they often use a single Windows 2000 Server as a DC and a Web server. Multiple Windows 2000 Servers will have to perform the tasks of one server.
Microsoft's said the limited IP behaviour was introduced into Windows 2000 by design and that the OS supports thousands of IP addresses per server, just not when the server is also a DC.
At the time of going to press, Microsoft gave no indication of when a fix might be expected. It has issued a statement saying the defect is not a security bug.
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