The main difference between Forest and Domain is that the Forest is a collection of domain trees in an active directory while Domain is a logical grouping of multiple objects in an active directory.
Overall, an active directory is a directory service developed by Microsoft that stores information on users, network resources and files which is capable of organizing all user and resources into groupings. These information helps to authorize and authenticate users and resources. Usually, there are multiple active directory objects which denotes the physical entities of a network. Forest and Domain are two such objects. Moreover, users, groups, shared folders, organization units etc. are some other active directory objects.
Key Areas Covered
Active Directory, Domain, Domain Controller, Domain Name, Forest
What is Forest
A forest provides the highest level of security boundary. It is a complete active directory instance. Information sharing only occurs between the objects inside the forest. If the objects in one forest require to communicate with the objects in another forest, these two forests should create a forest level trust between them. A forest is a collection of domain trees. Additionally, the schema or design is consistent throughout the forest.
What is Domain
A domain refers to a logical grouping of objects. In other words, it is an administrative boundary between objects. A domain can consist of multiple objects. Therefore, there is no limit to the number of objects that can exist within a domain. Also, it is not necessary for all the objects to be present in the same physical location. A set of domains create a domain tree or tree. Furthermore, an Organization Unit (OU) exists inside a domain. And, all these OUs inside a domain are connected together.
Moreover, a domain consists of several components. Firstly, it is a hierarchical structure of containers and objects. Secondly, there should be a unique domain name. Thirdly, there is a security mechanism to authenticate and authorize access to the domain’s resources. Finally, the policies that indicate how functionality is allowed or restricted for the users computers in the domain.
According to the above diagram, a triangle represents a domain. A set of domains is a domain tree or a tree whereas a collection of multiple trees is a forest.
Moreover, the domain controller is a server that performs authentication and authorization of the users and resources in the domain. It runs active directory services. Thus, it performs additions, deletions and modifications of objects within the domain.
Difference Between Forest and Domain
A forest is a collection of trees that share a common global catalog, directory schema, logical structure and directory configuration. But, a domain is a logical group of network objects (computers, users, devices) that share the same Active Directory database. Thus, this is the main difference between Forest and Domain.
Forest is a collection of trees or domain trees while the domain is a set of active directory objects.
Moreover, forests can communicate with each other by creating a forest level trust, and domains within a tree can communicate with each other using domain-level trusts (two-way, one-way).
In brief, Forest and Domain are related to an active directory. The main difference between Forest and Domain is that the Forest is a collection of domain trees in an active directory while Domain is a logical grouping of multiple objects in an active directory.
1.”Active Directory” By 小朱 – Create by self (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia