The main difference between Active Directory and Domain Controller is that Active Directory is a directory service developed for Windows domain networks while Domain controller is a server that runs on Active Directory Domain Service.
Active Directory is a directory service that stores information of users, network resources, files and other network objects. On the other hand, a domain controller is a server that responds to security authentication requests within a Windows Server domain.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Active Directory
– Definition, Functionality
2. What is Domain Controller
– Definition, Functionality
3. Difference Between Active Directory and Domain Controller
– Comparison of Key Differences
Active Directory, Active Directory Domain Service, Domain, Domain Controller
What is Active Directory
Active Directory is a directory service developed by Microsoft. It has information about the users, computers, resources such as files and folders and printers. Usually, it operates like a telephone directory. Therefore, it arranges the users and resources into groupings. Windows Server operating system consists of Active Directory as a set of processes and services. Furthermore, it uses the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol version 2 and 3, Microsoft version of Kerberos and DNS.
The Active Directory Services consist of multiple directory services, which are called Active Directory Domain Services.
Active Directory Terms
The objects are physical entities of a network that can be described by a set of attributes. Then, a container object consists of other objects such as users, computers etc. In addition, the security principal object has the objects capable of performing authentication and assigning permissions. Moreover, it has Global Unique Identifiers (GUI) and Security Identifier (SID). A domain, on the other hand, is a logical grouping of objects. In other words, it is an administrative boundary. Moreover, it is not necessary for all the objects to be present in the same physical location. A domain tree is a tree structure arranged to a parent domain and child domain structure.
Another important term in Active Directory is a Forest. It has the highest level of the security boundary. It contains objects such as domain, users and network resources. In a forest, is only possible to exchange information between the objects inside the forest. In other words, objects in one forest can communicate with the objects in another forest when there is forest level trust. Furthermore, a forest can consist of one or more domains or a collection of domains or domain trees.
Furthermore, Organization Units is a unit that appears only inside a domain. It represents a department, team or a function. It contains objects such as users, groups and shared folders. Organization units inside a specific domain are connected together.
What is Domain Controller
Domain Controller is a server which helps to authenticate users and to authorize their access to various IT resources. These resources include files, systems, applications and networks. A collection of resources is a domain. The task of the domain controller is to ensure that only correct users access the resources. Moreover, the purpose of designing a domain controller initially was to work with Microsoft environments with active directory serving as the core identity provider.
Domain controller works with directory services databases called Identity Provider which stores information about usernames and passwords. Therefore, the Identity Provider helps the domain controller to verify the users.
Firstly, the system allows the user to enter the username and password. It sends this information to the domain controller. Then, the domain controller authenticates them with the directory service database. If the user entered details and the credentials stored in directory service are the same, the domain controller allows the user to access the resource. If not, the domain controller prevents the user from accessing the resource.
Difference Between Active Directory and Domian Controller
Active Directory is a directory service developed by Microsoft for the Windows domain networks. In contrast, Domain Controller is a server that responds to security authentication requests (logging in, checking permissions etc.) within a Windows domain. Thus, this is the main difference between active directory and domain controller.
Furthermore, active directory stores information about all the users and resources in an arranged manner while domain controller performs authentication and authorization of the users to access the resources. Hence, this is another difference between active directory and domain controller.
In summary, the main difference between active directory and domain controller is that Active Directory is a directory service developed for Windows domain networks while Domain controller is a server that runs on Active Directory Domain Service. In brief, the domain controller runs on Active Directory Domain Service.
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