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Directory Services: Port Exhaustion

It’s a problem that will cause TCP and UDP communications with other machines over the network to fail. Port exhaustion can cause all kinds of problems for your servers. Here’s a list of some symptoms:

– Users won’t be able to connect to file shares on a remote server
– DNS name registration might fail
– Authentication might fail
– Trust operations might fail between domain controllers
– Replication might fail between domain controllers
– MMC consoles won’t work or won’t be able to connect to remote servers.

That’s just a sample of the most common symptoms that we see. But here’s the big one: You reboot the server(s) involved, and the problem goes away – temporarily. A few hours or a few days later, it comes back.

So what is port exhaustion? You might think that it’s where the ports on the computer get tired and just start responding slower over time – but, well, computers aren’t human, and they certainly aren’t supposed to get tired. The truth is much more insidious. What port exhaustion really means is that we don’t have any more ports available for communication.[…]

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