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Distributed Services
Distributed services are those components that are spread (or distributed) throughout the network, and that
are highly dependent upon one another. The high-profile member of this group of Windows 2000 subsystems
is Active Directory, but the Windows 2000 security subsystem is another of the operating systemís
distributed services. In fact, in keeping with the interdependency of the distributed services, there is a
fundamental relationship between the Active Directory service and Windows 2000ís security subsystem.
Open Standards
Windows 2000 signals a big change in direction for Microsoft, away from the proprietary nature of many of
NTís features, and moving toward the adoption of industry standards. This new path is demonstrated most
prominently in the area of distributed services. Active Directory itself is based on the Lightweight Directory
Access Protocol (LDAP), thus making it compatible with other directory services, such as Novellís NDS,
which adhere to this open Internet standard.
Note:
LDAP standards are established by working groups of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
Active Directory is also compatible (although not fully compliant) with the International Standards
Organizationís X.500 standards for distributed directory services. With this commitment to supporting
widespread standards, Microsoft is demonstrating its serious intent to make Windows a true
enterprise-capable network operating system.
One of the primary requirements of an enterprise-level NOS in todayís security-conscious world is a way to
protect the integrity and privacy of the networkís data. So it is no surprise that there have been major, drastic
changes made to the security subsystem in the latest implementation of Windows server software.
Much as it has adopted open directory services standards, Microsoft has incorporated into Windows 2000
support for the widely utilized and respected Kerberos security protocol developed at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, and the ISOís X.509 public key security, another accepted standard. These are in
addition to the NTLM security protocol used in NT, which is included in Windows 2000 for compatibility
with downlevel (NT) domains. Figure 4.1 gives an overview of the Windows 2000 security structure.
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