Ars Technica heeft een artikel in elkaar gedraaid met daarin hun persoonlijke 'top 5 coole features' voor Windows 2000 Professional en Advanced Server. Hier wat over nummer 3 voor de server versie, de feature Active Directory:
One of my favorite additions to the scene has to be the Directory Service, dubbed Active Directory. For a first version MS product, I must say that AD is an impressive implementation of LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) and X.500. The new DS rekindles the competition between MS and Novell, taking NDS (or eDirectory) head-on. Ah, yet another front for battle between two old nemeses. Regardless, the old way of going about NT domains is only in part retired, with a grander hierarchy replacing it. Now, instead of models like domains and even master domains, you have trees and forests. Domain controllers still exist, and each stores replica information of the directory for their domain. A new incarnation of DNS, dubbed Dynamic DNS, removes the need for a WINS server, and assists the transition from NetBIOS computer names to actual domain names for each resource (ex: resource.domain.com).
Confused? Don't be, just think of it all as a big catalog that contains all the information about computers, users (and other various resources), and all the ACLs concerning the access each resource with other resources within the catalog. The info is centralized (which is good), can be replicated out, and can be queried at will by various clients or resources. Also, since AD is based on X.500, communication can occur via HTTP or LDAP to the centralized directory (nice of MS to stick with industry standards here). Active Directory uses DNS as a locator service and supports LDAP queries ... allowing for greater ability to offer specific rights to resources in AD, and enabling programmers to talk to the authentication database with much greater ease.
Unfortunately, AD really deserves an entire discussion devoted to it, since anything less is a disservice. Nevertheless, I look forward to seeing Web Services (formerly IIS 5.0) and various BackOffice components (namely Exchange 2000 and SQL 2000) plug into AD. Yum-yum!
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