Benefits of Active Directory

With the way that much of Microsoft Corp.'s enterprise software now works, customers usually benefit most when they deploy several Microsoft products in concert. The tight integration among Microsoft's Windows 2000 with Active Directory, Microsoft Metadirectory Services (MMS) for synchronization and Exchange 2000 lowers systems administration costs and maximizes an agency's return on its software investment.

For both the Air Force and the Army, for example, the chief benefits justifying the move from Windows NT 4.0 to Windows 2000 with Active Directory include:

* Increased scalability from a limit of 40,000 objects, such as users, computers, etc., on Windows NT to 10 million objects on Windows 2000.

* Improved manageability of networked software and users.

* Improved knowledge management, using Active Directory like a phone book to look up resources.

* Easier administration of other software applications, using Active Directory as a single point of reference.

* Cost savings in server consolidation. For example, the Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) estimates that the move will reduce its number of domain controller servers from 2,000 on Windows NT to 90 on Windows 2000.

* Cost savings and increased networked availability by simplifying infrastructure. For example, AFMC will reduce 1,000 Windows NT stand-alone networks to 25 Windows 2000 connected networks.

* Active Directory is standards-based, using Kerberos authentication and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol.

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