Windows Server 2003 - Active Directory
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AD organization
Trusts
Users
Groups
Domain Controllers
FSMO
DNS
Publishing
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The AD Active Directory is a database to store enterprise-wide configuration information for entities such as

  • User information such as name, password, etc.
  • Group information such as name, membership, etc.
  • Computer information such as name, role, etc.
  • Printer information such as name, driver, queue, etc.

Information about individual users, groups, etc. are represented by objects in the database. An object is like a database record.

Attributes are the characteristics of an entity such as name, password, membership, driver, etc.

The AD schema defines the each object type and its attributes. The schema is stored in the AD database and can be extended and modified.

The directory acts as the yellow pages for network resources. Resources are advertised by publishing related objects in the directory. Windows clients can query the directory to locate network resources. Searching can specify specific attributes of a resource, such as

  • Printers that print color
  • Printers that support double-sided duplex printing

 Active Directory has many improvements over NT domains as shown in the following table.

Feature Active Directory NT Domains
Maximum size 17TB for 1 million objects 40,000-60,000 users
Structure Hierarchical with OUs Flat list
Extensible Yes No
Delegation of administration Fine control General categories
Replication control Sites and domains Domains only
Trusts Automatic and complete Manual