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  Servers play many roles in the client/server networking environment. Some servers are configured to provide authentication, and others are configured to run Networkapplications. 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:

 
DNS integration
Active 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 192.168.19.2.

Scalability
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.

Centralized management
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.

Delegated administration
The 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.
 
 
 
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