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Chapter 26. Joining a Domain and the Act... > What Is the Active Directory?

What Is the Active Directory?

The Active Directory changes the landscape dramatically. Active Directory uses domains, although simply as an organizational unit in the Active Directory database. The Active Directory also still allows for domain controllers, but it doesn't use PDCs and BDCs. All domain controllers in a domain are peers when the Active Directory is fully implemented. With this arrangement, changes to the security database can be made on any of the domain controllers. When using PDCs and BDCs, all changes to the security database must be made on the PDC (of which there can only be one in any particular domain). Additionally, those changes are propagated on a periodic basis out to the BDCs, which merely hold a copy of the security database.

You can probably notice a problem with this setup right away. What happens if the PDC is taken off line for some reason? In that case, no changes can be made to the security database. There is a provision that allows a BDC to be promoted to become the new PDC of a domain, and the process can be reversed when the PDC is brought back into service again. Network administrators can be thankful that using the Active Directory has eliminated this headache.


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