Active Directory Fundamentals

Every day you walk into your organization, access numerous resources like files, printers and many more. Have you ever thought about the process that goes behind all these? Have you ever thought about how your identity is verified and you are given access to the resources? It is the Active Directory service which does all this.

Directories have the sole aim of helping us find information in a simple manner. However, the work of a directory doesn’t end with just finding the information. It does something more than that. It helps us manage those large chunks of information. This makes a directory a central repository of information.

Evolution of Active Directory

Communication is an indispensable process for a business. When organizations were computerized, there arose a need to connect computers and share information to conduct everyday business. In this attempt, several networking styles were invented, such as workgroup. As workgroups were a set of loosely connected computers that share resources predominantly in a peer-to-peer fashion, they did have their share of woes in resource sharing/management. The major drawback was the limitation that workgroup posed to expanded computing and networking. A user in workgroup cannot access resources of another workgroup, which confined this networking model to smaller businesses or home use.

The advent of directory services

In its attempt to simulate the real-world organizational communication and dynamics, the IT world found that centralized data management is the best solution, a key factor that’s missing in workgroups or other networking styles. So, directory services – which can store and manage resource information centrally – soon became a viable option. Adding user authentication and access control capabilities to them turned them into a multipurpose server, which took care of identity verification and access control too.

Later on with the growth of internet and usage of computers, there was a need to expand the directory service further to include information on users and computers of wider networks. Application specific directories were later developed to meet the specific needs of each individual application. With the growth of distributed computing, there was a need for developing a multipurpose directory service catering to different needs rather than having application specific ones.


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