Active Directory has been around for over a decade, Windows 2000 was Released To Manufacturing in December 1999. Since then it has been slowly evolving, but the design considerations largely haven’t changed.
At it’s core, Active Directory is the heart of any Microsoft Technology Enterprise.
Active Directory provides a single point of administration for core services such as authentication, file storage and network printing as well as infrastructure services that largely remain transparent such as WINS, DHCP and DNS.
It can also provide enhanced functionality such as software deployment via Group Policy, Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), and Distributed File System (DFS).
It forms the base for other Microsoft Technologies, such as Exchange Server, System Center Configuration Manager, Lync Server and more.
There is no right way or wrong way to deploy Microsoft Active Directory but over the years we have found that for each organization there is usually an optimal way.
Active Directory design involves two separate but related and parallel streams:-
Logical Active Directory design takes into account the organisation hierarchy which covers topics such as Forest, Domain, Organisation Unit structure and Delegation model.
The Physical design more closely recognises the technical design constraints, and covers server sizing, service placement, site design and replication topology.
There are many options available in an Active Directory deployment and there are important implications in regard to different design and migration decisions, for example the physical AD site design directly affects Exchange Server mail flow within an organisation with Exchange Server 2007 and above.
Choices regarding the method of populating Active Directory with user accounts can also limit or even dictate the available options for co-existence, integration with legacy infrastructure or data migration at later stages in a migration project.
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