Servers play many roles
in the client/server networking environment. Some servers are configured
to provide authentication, and others are configured to run
Some provide network services that enable users to communicate or find
other servers and resources in the network.
As a user logged on to a network, you might need to connect to a shared
folder or send a print job to a printer on the network. How do you find
that folder and printer and other network resources?
A directory service is a network service that identifies all resources
on a network and makes that information available to users and
applications. Directory services are important, because they provide a
consistent way to name, describe, locate, access, manage, and secure
information about these resources.
Active Directory is the directory service in the Windows Server.
It extends the basic functionality of a directory service to
provide the following benefits:
Directory uses DNS naming conventions to create a hierarchical
structure that provides a familiar, orderly, and scalable view
of network connections. DNS is also used to map host names, such
as microsoft.com, to numeric TCP/IP addresses, such as
Active Directory is organized into sections that permit storage
for a very large number of objects. As a result, Active
Directory can expand as an organization grows. An organization
that has a single server with a few hundred objects can grow to
thousands of servers and millions of objects.
Active Directory enables administrators to manage distributed
desktops, network services, and applications from a central
location, while using a consistent management interface. Active
Directory also provides centralized control of access to network
resources by enabling users to log on only once to gain full
access to resources throughout Active Directory.
hierarchical structure of Active Directory enables
administrative control to be delegated for specific segments of
the hierarchy. A user authorized by a higher administrative
authority can perform administrative duties in their designated
portion of the structure.