Active Directory® 101

Active Directory 101

As a new generation of IT management tools emerges, it can be valuable to step in the old Wayback machine to understand and appreciate history. In particular, there has been a generation of Microsoft® tools that set the foundation for a number of IT markets. In this blog, we’ll focus on the identity and access management (IAM) space and start with a history lesson on one of the most important identity management solutions of the PC generation—Microsoft Active Directory®. Welcome to Active Directory 101.

Humble Beginnings

Active DirectoryMicrosoft released Active Directory (AD) in 1999, but likely had been working on the product for a number of years before then. After all, one of the main protocols AD was based upon, LDAP, had already been around for several years at that point. The move to build an identity provider was a brilliant one on Microsoft’s part. They already owned the operating system and productivity space with solutions such as Windows®, Office, and Exchange.

Active Directory would be the tie that bound all of these solutions together in an organization. A user could login to their Windows machine and be immediately given access to anything on the on-prem network including servers, applications, files, and, of course, the network itself.

Microsoft relied on two identity management protocols to help make this happen: LDAP and Kerberos. To make the solution even more successful, they included it with Windows Server, so as long as you had purchased Windows Server and the appropriate client access licenses, AD was effectively “free”.

Active Directory was a huge hit, and likely Microsoft’s largest market share product. Over the years, Microsoft would complement AD with other solutions such as SCCM (previously known as SMS) and automation frameworks like PowerShell. All of this would further embed AD into the enterprise. At the turn of the century into the early 2000s, Microsoft was the king of the IAM market, and AD, its bold knight and domain controller.

A Storm Rises

While things were going well for Microsoft and Active Directory during this time, the IT world started to (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog – JumpCloud authored by Zach DeMeyer. Read the original post at:

Zach DeMeyer

Zach DeMeyer

Zach is a writer and researcher for JumpCloud with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. He loves being on the cutting edge of new technology, and when he's not working, he enjoys all things outdoors, making music, and soccer.

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