Active Directory   «Prev  Next»
Lesson 3The course project
ObjectiveLearn about the project you will be completing at the end of this course.

Active Directory Course Project

To prepare you to take the MCSE Exam and to provide a final opportunity to practice what you have learned in this course, we have designed a case study, which requires you to implement the skills taught in this course. The casestudy appears in the final module in this course. The course project consists of a series of exercises in which you will respond to scenarios and troubleshoot various network problems that occur within a fictitious company, TACteam, Inc, an international training and consulting company.
You will be taking the role of an enterprise administrator and solving a series of problems that will help you demonstrate your ability to administer a network effectively and efficiently. Along the way, you will have access to important resources in a case file illustrated below that will help you make decisions and complete each task.
Case Files

Brief History of Directories

In general terms, a directory service is a repository of network, application, or NOS information that is useful to multiple applications or users. Under this definition, the Windows NT NOS is a type of directory service. In fact, there are many different types of directories, including Internet white pages, email systems, and even the Domain Name System. Although each of these systems has characteristics of a directory service, X.500 and the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) define the standards for how a true directory service is implemented and accessed.


In 1988, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and International Organization of Standardization (ISO) teamed up to develop a series of standards around directory services, which has come to be known as X.500. While X.500 proved to be a good model for structuring a directory and provided a lot of functionality around advanced operations and security, it was difficult to implement clients that could utilize it. One reason is that X.500 is based on the (OSI)Open System Interconnection protocol stack instead of TCP/IP, which had become the standard for the Internet.
The X.500 was never needed by most clients, and this prevented large-scale adoption. It was for this reason that a group headed by the University of Michigan started work on a "lightweight" X. 500 access protocol that would make X.500 easier to utilize. The first version of the (LDAP) Lightweight Directory Access Protocol was released in 1993 as Request for Comments (RFC) 1487, but due to the absence of many features provided by X.500, it did not gain traction.
It was not until LDAPv2 was released in 1995 as RFC 1777 that LDAP started to gain popularity. Prior to LDAPv2, the primary use of LDAP was as a gateway between X.500 servers. Simplified clients would interface with the LDAP gateway, which would translate the requests and submit them to the X. 500 server. The University of Michigan team thought that if LDAP could provide most of the functionality necessary to most clients, they could remove the the gateway and develop an LDAP-enabled directory server. This directory server could use many of the concepts from X.500, including the data model, but would leave out all the overhead resulting from the numerous features it implemented. Thus, the first LDAP directory server was released in late 1995 by the University of Michigan team, and it turned into the basis for many future directory servers.
In 1997, the last major update to the LDAP specification, LDAPv3, was described in RFC 2251. It provided several new features and made LDAP robust enough and extensible enough to be suitable for most vendors to implement. Since then, companies such as Netscape, IBM, the OpenLDAP Foundation, and Microsoft have developed LDAP-based directory servers. Most recently, RFC 3377 was released, which lists all of the major LDAP RFCs.

Active Directory Summary

Now that we have given you a brief overview of the origins of Active Directory, we will leave you to read ahead and learn more about Active Directory in the comming modules. Throughout the rest of this online course, we will bring you up to speed with what you need to know to successfully support Active Directory as well as to design an effective Active Directory implementation.
Next, you will begin the first part of the course.