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Supported technologies and protocols

To interact with and manage other directories, regardless of their location or their underlying operating systems, Active Directory provides extensive support for existing standards and protocols. It also provides application programming interfaces[1] (APIs) that facilitate communication with these other directories. Thus, unlike Windows NT 4.0 which did not support LDAP standards, Windows 2000 can interact with Netware's NDS and other LDAP compatible directory services. Microsoft includes a tool for migrating an NDS directory tree to a Windows 2000 domain; and other migration tools can be easily developed by third parties using the provided APIs.

Active Directory is the directory service for the Windows Server 2003 operating system and DNS is the primary name resolution service for Windows Server 2003. DNS is a core component of Windows Server 2003 TCP/IP networking. Strictly speaking, DNS is not a component of Active Directory. However, knowledge of how Active Directory depends on DNS is necessary to understand how Active Directory components are able to perform their assigned operations. DNS is used by Active Directory for domain controller location and DNS naming is leveraged by Active Directory for domain naming. Because Active Directory depends on DNS for domain controller location and DNS influences Active Directory domain naming, DNS is discussed in this technical reference subject as a component of the Windows Server 2003 directory service solution.

Mastering Active Directory
[1]Application programming interfaces: A set of routines used by a program to request and carry out lower level services performed by another component, such as the computer's operating system or a network service.