So you want to learn all about Active Directory on Windows Server 2003, eh? You've come to the right place, friend. Active Directory By The Numbers: Windows Server 2003 is designed and written to provide you all you need to promote a Windows Server 2003 system to an Active Directory Domain Controller, configure its settings, and add client computers, all with quick and easy to follow instructions. If you're a seasoned server administrator or the person who was "elected" by drawing the short straw to take care of computer matters at your workplace, this book is for you. The following chapters discuss Active Directory, detailing its various intricacies with easy to understand diagrams. We then provide real-life tutorials, step by step, to illustrate how to use all the fun stuff that Microsoft has added to make our lives easier as server administrators. Let's get to it!
What is Active Directory (AD)? AD is a network resource management solution that provides a single logon point for users and administrators alike. This central logon point grants users the right to access server/network resources such as:
User "profile" Folders
For administrators, Active Directory makes short work of setting up:
User and Group Accounts
Access to shared resources such as folders and printers
Group Policy Objects (GPOs), giving the administrator the ability to limit users' ability to make inappropriate changes with their computers
Folder Redirection and server based profile folders, allowing the administrator to keep users' data on a server for easy backup and retrieval
Periodic replication between AD Domain Controllers
If some of the above terminology sounds foreign to you, don't worry. We cover these topics in depth in later chapters. For now, Figure 1-1 gives us a general summary of AD.