What is an active directory?

Active Directory (AD) is a directory service used to store objects such as users, groups, and computers in a networked environment. It provides fundamental elements of authentication and authorization for network users, including logging in to network and accessing resources. It is mainly used on Windows server operating systems.

Key Features of Active Directory #

  • Centralized user and computer management
  • Integrated security and authentication
  • Multi-person authorization and delegation
  • Scalable and automated DIT structure
  • Cross-forest and multidomain support

Active Directory Components #

Active Directory is composed of three core components:

  • Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS): A distributed database that stores objects such as users, computers, printers, and other objects. It authenticates network users and computers and defines the security context on the network.
  • Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS): A lightweight implementation of AD DS that stores application data in a directory service store.
  • Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS): A federated identity management system that allows users to access resources in an external organization’s directory.

Uses of Active Directory #

Active Directory offers a wide range of usage scenarios, including:

  • Single sign-on to access services and applications
  • Storing user profiles and application settings
  • Securing resources and authentication for users and applications
  • Centralized account management and policy enforcement