Chapter 4. Active Directory Schema

The schema is the blueprint for data storage in Active Directory. Each object in Active Directory is an instance of a class in the schema. A user object, for example, exists as an instance of the user class. Attributes define the pieces of information that a class, and thus an instance of that class, can hold. Syntaxes define the type of data that can be placed into an attribute. As an example, if an attribute is defined with a syntax of Boolean, it can store True or False as its value.

Active Directory contains many attributes and classes in the default schema, some of which are based on standards and some of which Microsoft needed for its own use. However, the Active Directory schema was designed to be extensible, so that administrators could add any classes or attributes they deem necessary. In fact, extending the schema is not a difficult task; it is often more difficult to design the changes that you would like to incorporate. Schema design issues are covered in Chapter 12, and in Chapter 24 we cover how to extend the schema programmatically. In this chapter, we're concerned only with the fundamentals of the schema.

    Part II: Designing an Active Directory Infrastructure
    Part III: Scripting Active Directory with ADSI, ADO, and WMI