Active Directory Overview

Gaining a good understanding of Active Directory is critical before you start your planning. Directory services are nothing more than orderly ways of classifying and managing resources on a network, whether users, printers, servers, or security parameters. Directories become the points of reference for user services and applications. They help find a printer in a field office, locate a user and direct an e-mail, or verify that a user has access rights to a particular file. They also provide Single Sign-On (SSO), which gives a user access to the whole network from a single logon. Directories are becoming increasingly important as business networks expand to include connections with business partners and customers.

Four basic topological components make up the Active Directory structure: forest topology, domain or domain tree topology, site topology, and organizational unit topology. This chapter will help you create an architecture document that incorporates planning guidelines for each topology, discussing the important decisions throughout the process. This document will then serve as your Active Directory architecture document for both migration and ongoing operations and support.

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