There are registries and databases that provide directory-type facility for applications and users, but not one is interconnected, share-centric, or distributed in any way. Active Directory is a universal distributed information storehouse through which all network objects, such as application configurations, services, computers, users, and processes, can be accessed, in a consistent manner, over the full expanse of a network or inter-network. This is made possible by the logical structure of the directory. Before you start scratching your head, you should understand that without Active Directory, you cannot log in to a Windows Server 2003 domain, period.
Chapter 10 discusses the Active Directory logical structure and illustrates the control you have over Active Directory's logical and physical structure.
We compare Active Directory to a database later in this chapter.
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