Active Directory Definition and All A to Z Details

Active Directory
Active Directory

Active Directory is one of the most exquisite products of Microsoft, for managing the computer files and file server, on your computer. Several associations depend on Active directory management for reducing the chaos in managing permission and access to network resources.

What is Active Directory

Active Directory is a hierarchical system of objects, in such a manner that helps you to access the data quickly and easily. It works on the object-oriented technique. An object is a single component such as Company, Association, user, or a machine like printers. An object specifies as a source such as printers, security administration, user, organization or group.

The primary function of the Active Directory is authorization and authentication. It is an accessible database that communicates before a user is allowed to access to a device or a setting. We have to ensure that the user should be validated and after AD will decide whether the user is allowed or not to use the device or resource.

Active Directory classifies objects by its name, datatype and attributes. For example, The data of the student contains the name, age password etc. This information must need a different data type to store the complete details of a student where Student act as an object. We can access all the attributes of a student by finding its name.

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Benefits of Active Directory

  • It supports the Hierarchical organizational structure to store the data in object form.
  • It provides you with a single point of access to the global network resources.
  • It is useful in building a liable relationship with external networks running the older versions of Active Directory.
  • It assures the security of data by multiple checkpoints. You have to go through Multimaster authentication.
  • It helps in finding the resource location most quickly.

Active directory services

Active directory service will help you in access the data in an efficient manner by the help of the hierarchical arrangement of objects. It is a bunch os several services offered by Active Directory. It consists of Domain service, Certificate service, Lightweight Directory Service, Directory management service and Right management. Each one plays a specific role to enhance administration capabilities and its features. The primary function of the above directories are mention below:-

Domain Services

The primary function of domain service is to Stores centralized data and control the communication between users and domains. It interacts in the form of login authentication and searches functionality.

Certificate Services

It generates the certificate and also controls what data we have to share. The information is generally proceeded in an encrypted manner to allow a user to transfer data over the internet securely with a public key. It plays a significant role in AD.

Lightweight Directory Services

It plays a significant role in granting the application to use the Lightweight directory access protocol. It has the identical codebase as AD DS, providing familiar functionalities, such as the API. AD LDS. We can also run multiple instances on a single server to handle the data and save the data using LDAP.

Directory Federation Services

It will provide the authentication to a user to access the multiple application on a distinct network with the help of SSO(a single sign of )

It is cleary from the name of SSO, helps the user to access the thing in a network. We can sign on at once and free from multiple authentications for every service. It helps in easy access to services in the networks.

Rights Management

It manages data, rights, and administration. The primary role of AD RMSto encrypts the content, such as email, Word documents, message, text on a server so that it cant be accessed by all.

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Significant Terminologies of Active Directory Domain Services


The schema represents the class of the object and the various type of attributes included in the Directory. They also restrain the instance of an object by making the private variable in the class object. In simple words, it governs the attribute.


The primary function of Sites is to represent the physical structure with the connection, widely known as the topology of the network. These structures save in the Directory as Sites. It is one of the most efficient things to replace topology.

Global Catalog

The global catalog is a storehouse of objects present in the AD. We can easily search the student name and different details of the object (Example student ) like their contact, age, class, name, etc.

Lightweight Directory Access Protocol

It is also known as CLADP. This protocol allows communication between LDAP and Active Directory. It helps the LDAP in enabling several directory services present on the network.

Query and Index Mechanism

It will help the users to find each other in the Active Directory. It is one of the best examples to show the use of Query and index mechanism when you start typing a user’s email address in the client’s receiver field, matched data displayed on the screen.

Replication Service

We can easily understand the function of replication services from its name. Replication means you can change the Domain controllers with having no change in the catalog and schema. It plays a significant role in active directory services.

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What is DNS?


It is the entity that assists in finding the location of resources or services on the entire network. DNS servers hold all the documents of the services they are accountable. These are commonly known as service resource records (SRV). They serve a customer PC or laptop in placing AD resources such as Domain Controllers (DCS). Srv records are beneficial for the person who move a lot because it kept the records up to date. It also supports manual updates. DNS also includes documents such as a record, MX record, CNAME record, and so on which help in the functioning of the AD environment more fluid.

Domain controller

The server which is driving AD DS is called a domain controller. It can replicate the directory service database that lies inside the forest. It also assists you in handling the resource in the forest.

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How is it different from DAP?

It is known as the Directory Acess protocol, LDAP is the light version of DAP. It is an X.500 protocol that is a unique architecture where the customer and server can exchange their words through the open system Interconnection model. It does not use the standard of TCP/IP and demands massive investment. LDAP is quite a simple Association’s wallet and also follows fundamentals of the TCP/IP protocol.

What’s LDAP and How does it factor here?

LDAP stands for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. LDAP is an application protocol used to access and manage directory services of a network. It kept the data like username, password, and other detail of users in directory services while Active directory uses for sharing the data across the networks. It is a means of communication between client and server in a specific language. It is open and cross-platform that is useful to access the service directory.

LDAP and Active Directory Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) is a directory service that works on the principle of Directory Access Protocol (DAP).

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Primary features in Active Directory Domain Services

Active Directory Domain Services manages a typical layout that includes trees, domains, and forests to coordinate between the different elements of a network.


A domain is a collection of objects, such as users, machines, or devices, that share the identical database of ActiveDirectory. It has a DNS structure.


When we combine two or more domains to form a group, then it creates a unique structure known as a tree. The tree structure uses an adjacent namespace to choose the collection of the domain in a consistent hierarchy. The domain reliable on each other. It creates a chain of trust in a hierarchical way like first one trust the second and second one trust the third in the same the chain goes on. Every domain explicitly depends on the two adjoining domains in a hierarchical structure. It plays a significant role in the link-up and made it simple to understand.


A forest is a collection of various trees. Its structure is intricate and to understand. A forest is a network of distributed files, directory schemas, applications, data, and domain configurations. The schema specifies an object of a class and attributes in a forest. Besides, global catalog servers give information of all the objects lies in the schema.

Organizational Units

The primary function of the Organizational unit is to control and manage the server, source, group, and devices in the network. The organizational unit must have a different namespace so that every user should be unique. It implies that the two users cannot have the same name.

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Structures of Active Directory

There is two primary structure of Ad that easily explain it all the aspect. It allows you to store the data hierarchically and made it simple to understand. The Structures are as follows;-

The logical side

It defines how the directory designed by using a different type of data structure and algorithm. It varies according to the specification required by an organization on how the organization wants.

The physical side

It defines the physical arrangement of services and devices in a network to carry out the directory services envisioned through the logical side. The physical structure design by an expert for its better performance.

Active Directory Objects

An object is an essential part of creating the environment for the Physical Active Directory. There are several Ad objects out of some specific and commonly used are as follows;-


Each member of the system in an AD having a distinct user name which defines with the help of user object. The object includes all the details of a member like a telephone number, age, first name, last name, branch, salary etc. These are the attributes which make the user unique.


A contact object is beneficial to save the data of sellers and buyers, who are not the employ of the organization. The Contact store a precise detail like a store like a name, amount etc. These are the outsiders who are not allowed to access network resources and services.


This object holds all the data about all the computers over the networks. It is essential.

Shared folder

It plays a significant role in accessing the computer from any part of the world. If a network mark as shared, then the user allows accessing any folder, from the other computers over the entire network. If you want to share files, you have to put the document in a shared folder.


It is a collection of several directory objects. We have to accumulate these group to assign a security policy. When we want ta file that is accessed by the more member if an organization that we have to make a group. Group enhance the capability of accessing files within the security policy and guidelines.


It is a type of box that contains various default group. These are a predefined group which install automatically when you install the Active directory domain service. Bulletin holds all the security policy of the group.

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How Does Active Directory Work?

Active directly act as a database or the Windows computer. The system constructed in such a manner that it performs the fundamental operation like reading, search changes and for the updates of the system. The data saved in Active Directory is to be hierarchical, replicated, and extensible. If the data founds replicate, then it is not as useful for dynamic information like Cpu performance statics. The data stored in AD includes printer queue information, user data, specific computer information or network configuration data. The data saved in the Active Directory act as object and structure in a specified format called schema.

Window active directory and its History

Active Directory (AD) is a significant feature used on PCs or laptop and servers working on the Windows operating system. Microsoft Active Directory is beneficial to store domain, network, and user data and was first built by Microsoft in 1996. It was the first release on Microsoft window 2000. Active directories perform various roles and features like providing data regarding objects customized for fast access and-or retrieval. It consists of three main components such as hardware, Network and domain features. Hardware include printer and scanner, the object is part of the network.

At the end of the year of 2016, Microsoft issued Azure AD Connect to join a testimony of Active Directory system with Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) to allow SSO for Microsoft’s cloud assistance. Azure AD Connect works with operations working Windows Server of different version like 2008, 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012.

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Competitor Of Active Directory in the tech world

There are several other Directory which Performs a similar function as Active Directory but not in that efficient way. The other directories are

Apache Directory, Red Hat Directory Server and Open Lightweight directory access protocol etc. Red hat Directory is pretty much similar Ad in using the ID and certificate-based authentication to protect access to records in the directory. Besides, Red Hat Directory Server controls the access of users to various systems in Unix environments


Active Directory is one of the best products of Microsoft to manage file servers, resources, and store data in a well-defined manner by using a hierarchical system of objects. It
plays a significant role in authentication and authorization, But with the advancement of
the IT industry demands for more, there is some feature that lags in AD. There is a
technique which likely to replace the Active Directory in the upcoming generation known
as Jump cloud. It seems like the advanced version of AD with a solution to all drawbacks
of AD.


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