The Active Directory schema contains the blueprint for how objects are structured and secured, what data they can contain, and even how they can be viewed. Having a good understanding of the schema is paramount for any Active Directory administrator, designer, or architect. Understanding key concepts, such as class inheritance, class types, attribute syntax, and attribute indexing options is critical to being able to adequately design an Active Directory infrastructure and should be considered mandatory for any developer who is writing applications or automation scripts that utilize Active Directory.
If you are one of the lucky few who is designated as a schema administrator (i.e., a member of the Schema Admins group), then the importance of the schema is already well known to you. This chapter serves as a guide to accomplishing many of the day-to-day tasks of schema administrators. For a more in-depth discussion of the schema, we suggest reading Active Directory, Fifth Edition, by Brian Desmond et al. (O’Reilly).
An interesting feature of Active Directory not common among other LDAP implementations is that the schema is stored within Active Directory itself as a set of objects. This means that you can use similar interfaces and programs to manage the schema as you would any other type of object without any need to shut down or restart Active Directory.
All schema objects are stored in the
Schema container (