Are you looking for Benefits of Active Directory Domain Services in Windows Server 2008? Then you are at right place. In this article we talk about the major benefits of Windows Active Directory.
Advantages and Benefits of Active Directory
The major benefits of the high-powered Active Directory Domain Services include:
- Centralized resources and security administration
- Single logon for access to global resources
- Fault tolerance and redundancy
- Simplified resource location
Now, we will discuss each benefits of Active Directory in detailed.
Centralizing Resource and Security Administration
This is the main benefits of Active Directory. Active Directory provides a single point from which administrators can manage network resources and their associated security objects. An organization can administer Active Directory based on an organizational model, a business model, or the types of functions being administered.
For example, an organization could choose to administer Active Directory by logically dividing the users according to the departments in which they work, their geographical location, or a combination of these characteristics.
Active Directory can simplify the security management of all network resources and extend interoperability with a wide range of applications and devices.
Management is simplified through centralized access to the administrative tools and to the Active Directory database of network resources. Interoperability with prior versions of Microsoft Windows is available in Windows Server 2008 through the use of functional levels.
When Active Directory is installed and configured, it includes a number of GUI and command-lines tools that can be used to administer network services, resources, and security at a detailed level.
These administrative tools can be accessed from any domain controller in the network or an administrative workstation that has these tools installed. When you configure a Windows 2008 Server as an Active Directory domain controller, you will see the following tools added to the Administrative Tools folder:
- Active Directory Users and Computers
- Active Directory Domains and Trusts
- ADSI Edit
- Active Directory Sites and Services
Providing a Single Point of Access to Resources
Active Directory provides a single point of management for network resources. Active Directory uses a single sign-on to allow access to network resources located on any server within the domain.
The user is identified and authenticated by Active Directory once. After this process is complete, the user signs on once to access the network resources that are authorized for the according to his or her assigned roles and privileges within Active Directory.
Prior to the introduction of directory services into corporate networks, all users were required to log on to many different servers in order to access a variety of different resources.
This required users to enter their authentication information multiple times, and an administrator had to maintain duplicate user account on every server in the organization.
Imagine how enormous the task of managing a separate username and password on each server would be if your organization contained 10 servers and 10 users per server.
Now imagine how much more difficult that would become with 10 servers and 500 users per servers. You would have to create and maintain 5000 user accounts, with all of the associated security assignments, if you were maintaining separate authentication for each individual server.
Benefiting from Fault Tolerance and Redundancy
Fault Tolerance and Redundancy is the second benefits of Active Directory Domain Services. Active Directory builds in fault tolerance through its multimaster domain controller design.
This fault tolerance is created due to the fact that all domain controllers in an Active Directory domain share a common database file called ntds.dit; any change that is made on one domain controller is replicated to all other domain controllers in the environment. This ensures that all domain controllers have consistent information about the domain.
A system is said to be fault tolerance if it is capable of responding to a software or hardware failure. For example, a server is fault tolerance if it can continue to function when a power supply or a hard drive suffers a mechanical failure. An authentication system such as Active Directory is considered fault tolerant when it has the ability to continue providing authentication services even if one or more servers that provide authentication services experience hardware failure or a loss of network connectivity.
In this way, Active Directory can offer a redundant solution which can continue to provide authentication services without any adverse effects noticed by users, workstations, or other services.
Windows Server 2008 introduces the Read-Only Domain Controller (RODC), a domain controller that contains a copy of the ntds.dit file that cannot be modified and that does not replicate its changes to other domain controllers within Active Directory.
Microsoft introduced this type of domain controller as a way to increase security in branch-office deployment because many companies find it necessary to deploy domain controllers in far-removed locations that are not secured as well as a centralized data center.
The Read-Only Domain Controller protects Active Directory against unauthorized changes made from these remote locations.
Because the entire Active Directory database is duplicated on all domain controllers, it is possible for authentication and resource access to take place via another domain controller if one domain controller fails.
Because a single domain controller environment does not offer the fault tolerance described here, configuring at least two domain controllers in every environment is recommended.
Simplifying Resource Location
Active Directory simplifies this process by allowing files and print resources to be published on the network. Publishing an object allows users to access network resources by searching the Active Directory database for the desired resource.
This search can be based on the resource’s name, description, or location. For example, a shared folder can be found by clicking the appropriate search button using My Network Places in Windows XP or Microsoft Windows Server 2003 or the Network and Sharing Center in Windows Vista.
A user can configure the search scope. The shared folder name and keyword do not need to be search criteria. Providing more search information creates more specific results.
For example, if you have configured the word “accounting” as a keyword for 100 folders, a search for the keyword will return 100 results that a user would need to sort through to find the desired folder.
Imagine you are a user in a 10 server environment, where every server has a different set of resources that you need to do your job.
If you were in this situation, identifying which server provides each resource would not be an easy task. This is even more complicated when you have mobile users, such as an employee visiting from another site who needs to locate printers and other devices to become productive at the new site.
So, guys these are the major benefits of Active Directory Domain Services.