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Part: V Appendices > Microsoft's Active Directory

Microsoft's Active Directory

When Windows 2000 Advanced Server was released, it changed Windows networking dramatically. Before, computers and user accounts were organized into domains, and there were primary domain controllers (PDCs), which were used to hold the master copy of the security database, and there were backup domain controllers (BDCs), which held a copy of the security database and provided for redundancy. Changes could be made to the security database only on PDC and then propagated to the BDCs. In a large domain, this could take some time, and when the PDC was down, the administrator could either wait until it was online again to make changes like adding new users or promote a BDC to be the new PDC.

This is only a brief description of the PDC/BDC method of storing security information. In addition, if users wanted to access resources in other domains, special trust relationships had to be set up between domains and then administrators in the resource domains had to grant permissions to users or groups of users. All in all, it worked, but it was a complicated method for administering a large number of computers and users.


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