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Microsoft Gives Out More Information on Stand-Alone Active Directory

IT professionals interested in the stand-alone version of Active Directory for applications that Microsoft started discussing last month can find out more about the technology in a new white paper on Microsoft's Web site.

Known as Active Directory in Application Mode, or AD/AM, the feature will come in Windows .NET Server, which is due out at the end of the year. AD/AM addresses one of the major criticisms with Active Directory in its debut incarnation with Windows 2000: the fact that it was inextricably tied to the server operating system and the domain structure.

"AD/AM is a new capability of Active Directory that addresses … specific scenarios related to directory-enabled applications," the Microsoft white paper reads. Unlike the current version of Active Directory, AD/AM runs as an independent service instead of as an operating system service, does not require deployment on a domain controller and can be run in multiple instances on a single server. AD/AM will also run on Windows XP Professional for development and testing purposes.

In working with customers over the past three years, Microsoft says it has identified three main scenarios where applications run into problems with the original Active Directory model. One is if an application has its own set of data that needs to modify the schema. Another is when an application has different load characteristics that may place different demands on a directory service that the original implementation planned for. Finally, an application may have different replication requirements or no need for replication.

The new white paper lays out several usage scenarios for the new technology, including application-specific directory scenarios, application developer scenarios, extranet access management scenarios and migration scenarios. In one interesting scenario, an application running in a Windows NT 4.0 domain could store data in AD/AM through a Windows .NET Server running as a member server in the domain.

Microsoft posted the white paper called "Introduction to Active Directory in Application Mode" to its Web site this week. The white paper may be found at: www.microsoft.com/windows.netserver/techinfo/overview/adam.mspx.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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