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What is Active Directory? The Complete Guide

Published By Deepa Pandey
Ashwani Tiwari
Approved By Ashwani Tiwari
Published On April 2nd, 2024
Reading Time 6 Minutes Reading
Category Active Directory

Overview: If you are looking for What is Active Directory? Then your search ends here. In this article, you will find a complete explanation of the Active Directory with its benefits, working, database, and many more.

The Active Directory is a database that stores user information such as name, phone number, passwords, permissions, and many more. It is used to connect the users with the network which they require. Because of the AD, the admins can control the IT environment of the users. The admin verifies that the authorized users can only access the permitted resources. There are different benefits to using Active Directory in organizations let’s find some major ones.

Table Of Content

Benefits of Active Directory

  1. The AD improves data security in the organization which reduces the chances of data loss.
  2. The overhead of admins is reduced because they can manage the rights of the users from one place.
  3. After the process of authentication, the users can access all the permitted resources.
  4. All the files are stored at a centralized from where the files can be shared easily with others to improve collaboration.
  5. Taking a backup of data is also easy because of the centralized location for the admins.
  6. It supports the multi-master replication, due to which the changes are reflected on all the ends if the changes are performed from one end.

How Does the Active Directory Work?

As per the discussion on the What is Active Directory. Now it’s time to discuss the working of AD. There are multiple services in the Active Directory. But the major one is the Active Directory Domain Services which is the part of Windows Operating System.

The AD uses the servers which are known as the Domain controllers. The AD requires multiple DCs to store copies of the entire directory for a domain on each domain controller. So that if changes on the single domain are made such as deletion & creation of an account. Then the changes get reflected in the other domain controllers as well. The Global catalog also used the domain controller to store the complete details of the objects of their domain and partial information of the other domain in the same forest.

Devices that run Windows such as Desktops and laptops can be part of the AD but they cannot run the AD DS. The Active Directory is only for the on-premises environment which is different from the Azure AD. Some other services of Active Directory such as Lightweight Directory services can run in multiple instances on one server and hold the data in the data store. The LDAP is used to store details such as usernames and share those details over the network. The certificate services are also used to generate the certificates for providing the encryption of the data.

The Active Directory Federation services are used to provide one-time authentication for multiple application access which reduces the overhead of the users. The AD RMS is used to track the permissions of the users to access the required data only.

Also Read: How to Perform Email migration to Office 365 easily?

What is Active Directory Structure?

The AD uses the domain, trees, and forests to complete their structure. The objects such as users, and computers are accessing the same database when they are in the same domain. The combination of multiple domains is stored under a tree.

The forest is a group of multiple trees and acts as a boundary. The objects in the different domains can not able to interact with each other until a trust relationship is built by the administrators. The experts advised to the separate the forests for the different business units.

  • Domains – These are the collection of several objects such as users, computers, etc.
  • Trees – These are the combination of multiple domains in which the trust relationship is maintained.
  • Forests – The forests are used to provide the security boundary. It has multiple trees.

What is Active Directory Trust Relationship?

There are different types of trust set up in the Active Directory to perform interaction. Some of them are.

  • One-Way Trust – where the one domain allows access privileges to the other domain but the other domain does not allow the first domain for the same.
  • Two-Way-Trust – When both domains allow the accessing permissions to each other.
  • Trusting domain – A single domain allows the user access to another domain.
  • Transitive trust – It can extend beyond two domains and enable the other domain to access the data within a forest.
  • Forest Trust – Accessing between the domains in a forest that can be one-way, or two-way.

Also Read: What is Office 365 Migration Project Plan?

What is Active Directory Database and How is it Organized?

Microsoft provides the default schema to store objects such as printers, shared folders, and so on. The objects have different types of data such as usernames, and passwords. The attributes of the objects differ from each other. Some of the attributes are also stored in the Active Directory such as Globally Unique Identifier (GUID), Security Identifier (SID), group membership, and last log-on time.

The AD has some predefined rules to store the object’s details in the schema. The default schema can be modified as per the requirements of the administrators. But the key advised using the schema as it is provided. The changes in the schema can cause several problems later in the Active Directory such as data corruption. Now after understanding what is Active Directory in detail.

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As per the query, what is Active Directory? We have explained all the information regarding AD such as its benefits, working, and databases. This article provides a complete understanding of the AD in a detailed manner.