Any process used for exchanging directory information between directory services implemented by different vendors or on different platforms. For example, the exchange of directory information between Active Directory in Microsoft Windows 2000 and Novell Directory Services (NDS) in Novell NetWare takes place using directory synchronization.
Directory synchronization is different from directory replication, which always takes place between directory services from the same vendor or on the same platform.
For example, domain controllers in a Windows 2000–based network maintain Active Directory by exchanging directory updates using directory replication.
Microsoft provides special directory synchronization agents that support the exchange of directory information between Active Directory and NDS. It also provides an agent for synchronizing Microsoft Exchange Server directory services with Active Directory. The Microsoft Exchange directory service is based on the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP).