WHAT IS ACTIVE DIRECTORY DOMAIN SERVICES?
What is Active Directory Domain Services?
Active directory Domain Services (AD DS) is a server role in Active Directory that allows admins to manage and store information about resources from a network, as well as application data, in a distributed database.
AD DS helps admins manage network elements — both computing devices and users — and reorder them into a custom hierarchical structure. AD DS also integrates security by authenticating logons and controlling access to directory resources.
A directory is a hierarchical structure that stores information about objects on the network. A directory service, such as Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS), provides the methods for storing directory data and making this data available to network users and administrators. For example, AD DS stores information about user accounts, such as names, passwords, phone numbers, and so on, and enables other authorized users on the same network to access this information.
Active Directory stores information about objects on the network and makes this information easy for administrators and users to find and use. Active Directory uses a structured data store as the basis for a logical, hierarchical organization of directory information.
This data store, also known as the directory, contains information about Active Directory objects. These objects typically include shared resources such as servers, volumes, printers, and the network user and computer accounts. For more information about the Active Directory data store, see Directory data store
Security is integrated with Active Directory through logon authentication and access control to objects in the directory. With a single network logon, administrators can manage directory data and organization throughout their network, and authorized network users can access resources anywhere on the network. Policy-based administration eases the management of even the most complex network. For more information about Active Directory security,
Active Directory also includes:
- A set of rules, the schema, that defines the classes of objects and attributes contained in the directory, the constraints and limits on instances of these objects, and the format of their names. For more information about the schema, see Schema
- A global catalog that contains information about every object in the directory. This allows users and administrators to find directory information regardless of which domain in the directory actually contains the data. For more information about the global catalog,
- A query and index mechanism, so that objects and their properties can be published and found by network users or applications. For more information about querying the directory,
- A replication service that distributes directory data across a network. All domain controllers in a domain participate in replication and contain a complete copy of all directory information for their domain. Any change to directory data is replicated to all domain controllers in the domain. For more information about Active Directory replication
How does AD DS work?
AD DS is the core component of Active Directory that enables users to authenticate and access resources on the network. Active Directory organizes objects into a hierarchy, which lets various Domain Services connect with them and users access or manage them. The hierarchical structure includes the following:
- Domains. A group of objects, such as users or groups of devices, that share the same AD database makes up a domain
- Organizational units. Within a domain, organizational units are used to organize objects within the domains.
- Active Directory trees. Multiple domains grouped together in a logical hierarchy make up an Ad Tree The bonds between domains in a tree are known as “trusts.”
- Active Directory forests. This AD Functional level is made up of multiple trees grouped together. Trees in an AD forest share trusts, just like domains in a tree share trusts. Trusts enable constituent parts of a tree or forest to share things like directory schemas and configuration specifications.
What services does AD DS provide?
Active Directory covers a range of services. AD Domain Services is the main service that encompasses these five services.
Domain Services stores centralized directory information and lets users and domains communicate. When a user attempts to connect to a device or resource on a network, this service provides login authentication, verifying the user’s login credentials and access permissions.
Lightweight Directory Services (LDS)
AD LDS is similar to Domain Services, but it uses Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP, which has fewer restrictions. AD LDS enables cross-platform capabilities that, for instance, let Linux based computers function on the network.
What Are The Things To Know About Active Directory Domain Services?
Some common AD DS related terms and concepts include the following:
- Global catalog. The Global catalog holds all AD DS objects. Administrators can find directory information — such as a username — across any domain.
- LDAP. This protocol provides the language that servers and clients within the directory use to communicate with each other.
- Multi-master replication. A function that ensures all domain controllers on a network are updated with any changes made to Active Directory.
- Objects. These are the pieces of information that Active Directory organizes. There are two types of objects: Container objects are organizational units, such as forests and trees, that hold other objects inside of them. Leaf objects represent things like users, computers and other devices on the network.
- Query and index mechanism. This mechanism enables users to search the global catalog for directory information.
- Schema. The schema is a set of rules a user establishes to define classes of objects and attributes in the directory. These rules also dictate the characteristics of object instances and naming formats.
- Sites. The physical groupings of IP Subnets They enable the easy replication of information among the domain controllers and the deployment of group policies.
What role do domain controllers play in AD DS?
Domain controllers are physical servers that host AD DS and newer Windows services like Kerberos Key Distribution Center, Netlogon, Intersite Messaging and Windows Time. Active Directory requires at least one domain controller to respond to authentication requests and verify users on the network.
Domain controllers also replicate the AD DS database inside an AD forest. Changes made in a directory on one domain controller — such as a password change or account deletion — replicate to other domain controllers on the network.
Active Directory Advantages
An active Directory is a powerful tool that can have many benefits for an organization. Active Directory provides features such as superior security, advanced management tools, and fast access to information. Active directory also has many advantages over other directory services.
- Customization: Active Directory allows you to customize how your organization’s data needs to be organized, manage, planned as per company needs.
- Easy to Access: Active Directory provides easy to access resources, centralized control over users, computer objects through Active Directory group policy feature while making sure of security for organizations.
- Manage Resources: Active directory enables the network administrators to manage and store information about user accounts computer settings, and resources.
- Single Sign-on: Active Directory provides a single sign-on to allow access to network resources available on any server in the domain.
- Security: Active Directory provides high-end security options with enhanced data protection capabilities which helps in protecting your business from external threats.
- Compliance: Active directory provides strong security and compliance features like password policies, data encryption, and auditing which can be applied to specific objects or containers within Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS).
- Auto Update: Active directory ensures efficient management since it automatically updates and maintains information about devices connected to it without any manual intervention.
- Devices Management: Active directory also allows efficient management of multiple devices over large geographical areas as it automatically updates and maintains information about the devices connected to it.
- Scalability: Active directory enables corporations to manage over a large group of objects in a single container, unlike other directories due to its multi-master replication model.
- Data Protection: Active Directory Data Protection capabilities protect the data from being viewed by unauthorized users.
Active Directory Disadvantages
- Planning: Active Directory needs proper planning to implement Active Directory infrastructure in an organization.
- Windows-Only: Active Directory is a Windows-only solution. If Linux or Mac machines need to be managed, they will require LDAP(Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) clients instead of an Active directory.
- Expensive: Active Directory can be very expensive depending on how many systems are being managed by Active Directory and what kind of volume is required out of Active Directory.
- Replication: Active Directory uses a multi-master replication model where changes to the directory must be propagated between all Domain controllers in order for information to remain accurate and up to date. This can cause conflicts when there are differences in data on different DC’s, such as an outdated password policy.
- Performance: Active Directory can cause performance issues when used with larger networks or more DC’s than recommended by Microsoft.
- Monitor Usage: Active Directory does not provide the ability to easily monitor Active Directory usage across an entire Active Directory forest, making it difficult for IT administrators to determine which users are doing what in Active Directory and how much network bandwidth is being used up by Active directory traffic.
- RODC: Active Directory cannot be installed on a read-only domain controller (RODC) which means ActiveDirectory has a single point of failure. If Active Directory is ever corrupted or if Active directory services are unavailable, Active directory replication will halt and no changes can be written to Active directory until the issue that caused Active directory failures is resolved.
- Need Internet: Active Directory requires an always-on internet connection in order for Active Directory users to authenticate Active directory passwords, preventing Active Directory users from accessing Active Directory when the organization has no internet connectivity.
- Import Accounts: Active Directory does not provide an easy way to import existing user accounts into Active Directory.
- Maintenance Cost: Active Directory has high maintenance costs to manage.
Active directory benefits greatly from its reliability and scalability; making Active directory very popular among big companies.
Active Directory not only centralizes the administration of your network resources but makes your network more secure.
I hope the above article on Active Directory advantages and disadvantages is helpful to you to plan an active directory setup in your organization.
PowerShell has an Active Directory module to work with the active directory and manage the active directory using its cmdlets.
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