Active Directory’s Ins and Outs
For a detailed look at Active Directory, peruse
this technical reference.
If you haven’t worked with a directory service,
Active Directory Services for Windows 2000 Technical
Reference’s first chapter in Section One is a
good place to start. It does a great job of explaining
the business features of Active Directory (AD)
and briefly touches on its technical aspects.
But, be warned, this book isn’t written for beginners.
After the first chapter the author quickly dives
into how the AD service works, and the beginner
may be lost by the quick transition from the first
chapter to the second. (If you have worked with
AD, however, Chapter 1 might prove a tad dull.)
If you’ve worked with NDS and LDAP and want
to compare these with AD, this volume may be a
bit disappointing. The author only briefly talks
about LDAP, and NDS is discussed only in terms
of migrating from NDS to AD. The author does,
however, present a side-by-side comparison of
AD and relational databases.
The rest of Section One is devoted to design
considerations for a medium-size ore large environment.
The section dedicates an entire chapter to AD
and DNS, and this turned out to be one of the
most concise, well-written references on Win2K
DNS and its interoperability with AD that I’ve
ever read. The author gives a detailed rundown
on how the DNS process works within an AD environment.
Section Two really should be broken down into
three subsections. The first subsection presents
an in-depth description of AD that includes a
planning guide; a good, but not detailed, introduction
to Win2K security; an overview of the DC Promo
process; and a detailed discussion of the AD Schema.
The planning chapter presents useful information
for those who aren’t sure where to start the deployment
process. The security chapter offers a good overview
but doesn’t fully cover security issues such as
anonymous access, interoperability with NT 4.0
domains, or trusts.
The second subsection is dedicated to the practical
implications of deploying AD. It’s a good starting
point for those who are migrating from a previous
NT 4.0 environment, NDS or Exchange 5.5. Meanwhile,
the third subsection is a brief administrative
guide covering what changes you can and can’t
make after deployment. IntelliMirror and remote
operating system installation also are covered.
Overall, this is a well-written, easy-to-read
technical reference — as long as you have some
experience with AD. The book doesn’t go into enough
detail on subjects such as security and migration
from NDS or Exchange 5.5. But, if nothing else,
the DNS and Schema chapters make this book worth
Yolanda R. Reid, MCSE, CCNA, works closely with Win2K, Windows NT, and BackOffice products. As an employee of USI, her specialty is enterprise systems and designing Win2K infrastructures.