Overview of Active Directory
Active Directory plays many roles, from being the backbone of distributed security to providing a service publishing framework. Active Directory provides a central service for administrators to organize network resources, to manage users, computers, and applications; and to secure intranet and Internet network access.
As an increasing number of distributed applications take advantage of Active Directory, you can benefit by not having to implement and manage application-specific directory services The result is that you save administrative and hardware costs.
You can deploy Windows 2000 Server and Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Professional before, in parallel with, or after Active Directory. It is not necessary to deploy Active Directory first. You can take advantage of many of the new features in Windows 2000 by upgrading member servers and client computers right away. For more information about upgrading member servers, see "Upgrading and Installing Member Servers" in this book.