Active Directory is Microsoft’s proprietary directory service and was first introduced as a part of the Windows 2000 architecture. With Active Directory you can create a centralized system that allows for the automated network management of user data, security and distributed resources and facilitates a variety of interactions with other directories.
According to Microsoft, Active Directory is actually a special-purpose database and is not designed as a replacement for a registry. It’s designed to deal with a large number of read and search operations and a smaller amount of changes and updates. Data stored in an Active Directory is hierarchical, replicated and extensible. Given that the data is replicated, Active Directory is not designed for the storage of dynamic data that require frequent updating. A few examples of the kind of data typically stored in an Active Directory include printer queue data, user contact data and network or computer configuration data.
The Active Directory database is comprised of objects and attributes. Both objects and attribute definitions are kept in the Active Directory schema. Active Directory is divided into three partitions or naming contexts: domain, schema and configuration. The domain partition is populated with users, groups, contacts, computers, organizational units and a variety of other objects. Furthermore, given the extensibility of Active Directory, you can also add your own custom classes and attributes. The schema partition is comprised of classes and attribute definitions. Finally, as its name might suggest, the configuration partition contains the required configuration data for services, partitions and sites.
Idera’s software developers understand the usefulness of Active Directory. That’s why all of the latest Idera data backup and server management products allow users to login through Active Directory accounts to avoid password management issues and are designed for seamless integration with complex Active Directory environments.