AD on a DC

Posted on 2012-04-05
Last Modified: 2012-08-14
Does a DC ALWAYS need to have a "Windows Server" OS on it in order to run AD? Or can it use other OS's? Thanks.
Question by:Tymetwister
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LVL 59

Assisted Solution

by:Darius Ghassem
Darius Ghassem earned 160 total points
ID: 37814448
If you want to use Microsoft Active Directory then yes you need to run Windows OS. Now if you want to use some other LDAP system you can which will allow you to run on other OS platforms.
LVL 96

Accepted Solution

Lee W, MVP earned 160 total points
ID: 37814498
Active Directory - and more important, one of the key features of Active Directory, Group Policy, REQUIRES Windows Servers.

Otherwise, Samba exists to emulate a Windows domain on Linux.  And as dariusg suggests, there are other directory services you could run.

Author Comment

ID: 37814629
What are some other directory services are out there that are comparable to AD?
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LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 37814642
I don't know anything that is comparable - NOTHING has Group Policy like features.  What features do you need?  If you JUST need centralized password management, there's Samba and other LDAP directories.  Keep in mind, Windows has 90% of the market (or so) - I suspect if there other services comparable, Microsoft wouldn't be QUITE so dominant.
LVL 59

Expert Comment

by:Darius Ghassem
ID: 37814653
Right I would have to agree with leew there really isn't an exact comparable system to AD but there are some that are close like Novel eDirectory which has some portions of AD. Actually if I remember right AD's concept was built from Novell.

AD from my experience and many others is the best directory service out there.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 37814775
very tricky question?
DC is either Novell or Microsoft,
Novell is not OS, so what other OS you want AD to reside on,
if you mean AD as a collection of networking and infrastructure services including Directory Service, then you can have other OS to provide print services, file sharing, dns, dhcp
but still you are not having an AD
LVL 10

Assisted Solution

by:Prashant Girennavar
Prashant Girennavar earned 30 total points
ID: 37815020
No, You can not use other Operting system to install Active directory.

However you can use Implement LDAP so that you can use Active directory services from other OS'es.

Refer Below link to understand this better.

Integrating Unix with Active directory using LDAP.

Question - What are some other directory services are out there that are comparable to AD?

Here is a list,

Active Directory: Microsoft's modern directory service for Windows, originating from the X.500 directory it created for use in Exchange Server, first shipped with Windows 2000 Server and is supported by successive versions of Windows.

eDirectory: This is Novell's implementation of directory services. It supports multiple architectures including Windows, NetWare, Linux and several flavours of Unix and has long been used for user administration, configuration management, and software management. eDirectory has evolved into a central component in a broader range of Identity management products. It was previously known as Novell Directory Services.

Red Hat Directory Server: Red Hat released a directory service, that it acquired from AOL's Netscape Security Solutions unit,[1] as a commercial product running on top of Red Hat Enterprise Linux called Red Hat Directory Server and as the community supported 389 Directory Server project.

Open Directory: Apple's Mac OS X Server uses a directory service named Open Directory, which implements LDAP using a customized build of OpenLDAP and integrates support for both SASL and Kerberos authentication. It uses a plugins architecture to work with other LDAPv3 directories, including proprietary solutions like Active Directory and eDirectory.
Apache Directory Server: Apache Software Foundation offers a directory service called ApacheDS.

Oracle Internet Directory: (OID) is Oracle Corporation's directory service, which is compatible with LDAP version 3.

CA Directory: CA Directory contains pre-caching engine which can index all attributes that are used in LDAP search filters, and caching all attributes returned in search results.
Alcatel-Lucent Directory Server: CTIA 2009 - 4G Service Creation & Development Award Winner offering enhanced performance, high availability and proven efficiencies[2]
Sun Java System Directory Server: Sun Microsystems' current directory service offering[3]

OpenDS: An open source directory service implementation from scratch in Java, backed by Sun Microsystems[4]

IBM Tivoli Directory Server It is a customized build of an old release of OpenLDAP.

Siemens DirX Directory Server
Windows NT Directory Services (NTDS), later renamed Active Directory, replaces the former NT Domain system.

Critical Path Directory Server
OpenLDAP Derived from the original University of Michigan reference LDAP implementation (as are the Netscape/Red Hat/Fedora/Sun JSDS servers) but significantly evolved. It supports all current computer architectures, including Unix and Unix derivatives, Linux, Windows, z/OS, and a variety of embedded/realtime systems.

Isode Limited: High performance and high availability LDAP and X.500 servers.
UnboundID Directory Server: A commercial high-performance Directory Server product produced by the UnboundID Corporation.

Reference -

Hope this helps.

LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 37815033
Prashant - which of those support GROUP POLICY, one of the major features of Windows that allows you to properly lock down systems?

Author Comment

ID: 37815176
^ to what leew said, I'd like to know this as well. Great discussion here. I increased points just so we can open this topic up a little bit.
LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Prashant Girennavar
ID: 37816071
Leew - I have not worked on any of the other directory services other than AD.

However you can refer below link which explains the comparison between Active directory and eDirectory.



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