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Active Directory, 5th Edition by Brian Desmond, Robbie Allen, Alistair G. Lowe-Norris, Joe Richards

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Chapter 17. Designing and Implementing Schema Extensions

For Active Directory to hold any object, such as a user, it needs to know what the attributes and characteristics of that object are. In other words, it needs a blueprint for that object. The Active Directory schema is the blueprint for all classes, attributes, and syntaxes that can potentially be stored in Active Directory.

The following considerations should be kept in mind when you contemplate extending your schema:

  • Microsoft designed Active Directory to hold the most common objects and attributes you will require. Because it could never anticipate every class of object or every specific attribute that a company would need, Active Directory was designed to be extensible. After all, if these objects and properties are going to be in everyday use, the design shouldn’t be taken lightly. Administrators need to be aware of the importance of the schema and how to extend it. Extending the schema is a useful and simple solution to a variety of problems, and not being aware of this potential means that you will have a hard time identifying it as a solution to problems you might encounter.

  • Designing schema extensions is very important, in part because any new class or attribute that you create in the schema is a permanent addition. Under Windows Server 2003 and newer forests, you can disable or redefine schema extensions, but you can never remove them completely.

  • Although it is easy to extend Active Directory, it’s surprising how many ...

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