A tool for locating, managing, and organizing network resources, which can include volumes, folders, files, printers, users, groups, and other objects. A directory service is a core component of a network operating system (NOS) and functions much like the yellow pages of a phone book. For example, if you look up “printers,” you’ll find a list of available printers and information for accessing them.
However, for a directory service to function like a network yellow pages, it must be combined with a complementary entity, the directory database.
The directory database is the hierarchical database structure that contains the actual information about the various resources on the network. In other words, you need a directory database, which contains the directory information, and a directory service, which allows you to search for and locate information stored in the directory. For simplicity, however, the terms “directory” and “directory service” are often used to refer to the combination of directory and directory service.
Examples of directory services produced by different vendors and standards bodies include the following:
An enterprise-level directory service (a service suitable for an enterprise-level network with thousands of users that is spread over a large geographical area) has the following essential characteristics:
Active Directory for Windows 2000 satisfies all these conditions.