Active Directory refers to the domain structure just described as domain trees. Everything from the bottom of the object path is considered part of the domain tree — leading from the bottom up, all the way to the single domain parent at the top. The domain tree is unique in Active Directory because no two parent domains can be the same. The schema does not allow it.

As demonstrated earlier, the domain tree is a systematic collection of Active Directory domain objects that belong to a contiguous namespace. Remember that in Active Directory, the root domain can be extended or partitioned into multiple subdomains that share a common parent. Subdomain names must also be unique; however, they all share a common directory schema, which is the formal definition of all objects in the domain tree.

Active Directory deploys the DNS naming conventions for hierarchical naming of Active Directory domains and domain devices. In this regard, the Active Directory domains and the devices therein are both identified in DNS and Active Directory. Don't worry — Windows Server 2003 takes full advantage of Dynamic DNS, so DDNS names, such as WINS, do not have to be created in Active Directory and then manually entered into DNS. Although the two domain hierarchies have identical names, they still reflect separate namespaces. DNS manages your Internet namespace, while Active Directory manages your enterprise namespace. The enterprise namespace is, however, resolved via the services of DNS, which provides a directory to the servers that hold your Active Directory directories.

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