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LDAP And Microsoft Active Directory


Active Directory is one of the main components of Windows. The Active Directory is a directory service from Microsoft for Windows domain networks. It makes use of the LightWeight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP versions 2 & 3, DNS and Kerberos. Most of the Windows Server OS have an Active Directory. The Active Directory (AD) works wonderfully with the EDMS software. It manages the contacts of your various accounts and enables to log in with a single username and password for multiple accounts.

Today users have multiple accounts on different platforms. Remembering the IDs and passwords for a number of accounts is a daunting task. Moreover, it is also time consuming to log-in to various accounts one by one. With Active Directory users can easily log into their multiple accounts simultaneously. A centralized User & Group for different accounts can be created with AD. The Active Directory acts as a central Network Operating System. A number of files are stored in the AD which comprise of Transaction logs and the system Volume. The latter is known as Sysvol which has logon scripts and Group Policy Information.

The AD acts as a single and a main point of administration for different accounts on a network. With AD users get a single logon point for different network resources. Users have to initially give access to the AD for different accounts and thereafter with every log on to the AD, automatic access to multiple accounts for whom the access has been granted can be accessed. This facility is available not only on a single network but also on PCs that are a part of that network. Thus, it enables Administrators to log on to a single PC and access accounts on other computers in the network.

An Active Directory contains information which is arranged in a structured format known as the Objects. The Objects are classified into 2 categories: Resources and Security principles. The latter refers to the accounts which are given unique Security Identifiers.

The central unit of the structure of the Active Directory is the Domain. The Domain is the logical group of networks objects. It is noteworthy that there can be more than one domain in an Active Directory of an enterprise. It is the domain which enables administrators to divide the network which can be managed easily. Objects can be grouped into one or more domains and networks can be divided along the same administration. Each domain is an independent administrative unit which has its own security and administrative policy. Different security models can be given to each domain. This is done in order to keep the security of each domain different from another. Thus, administrators keep the security of one domain in isolation from the other. A domain consist of different network objects and stores information about those objects only.

Let us understand the structure of a domain. The hierarchical structure of the Domain is known as the Tree. One or more Domain in a contiguous namespace constitute a Tree where one or more domains have a common schema and a contiguous namespace. The Schema refers to the structure which is supported by the Database Management System. It refers to the structure-the constituents of the Database. It determines the objects in the Active Directory. The namespace refers to the DNS name structure of the Domains. Objects are grouped into domains which are identified by their namespace.

The first domain created in the Tree is known as the ‘Root’ domain. The subsequent domains which are added in the ‘Root’ domain are known as the ‘Child’ domain. The features of the Tree are based upon the DNS standards. The name of the each domain added (Child Domain); is the relative name of that particular Child Domain appended with the name of that of its Parent domain. Domain residing in a Single Tree have a common schema and also have a common Global Catalog. The Global Catalog acts as a central unit or repository of information about all the objects in a tree. The apex of the entire structure of the Forest which is a collection of Trees that have a Global Catalog. Logical Structure, schema and the directory configuration. So, it is the Forest in which users can access information.