Why Windows 2000?

  1. Active Directory
  2. Two-way, Transitive Trusts
  3. Enhanced File Management
  4. Terminal Services

Active Directory

Active Directory (AD) is the directory service included with Windows 2000. It stores information about network objects (computers accounts, user accounts, etc.) and makes them available to users and administrators from anywhere in the domain tree. Active Directory provides administrators with a single point of administration for all network objects.

Some of the benefits of Active Directory include:

  • Enhanced security
    For domains in native mode (no NT 4.0 Domain Controllers), Kerberos v5 is the default authentication protocol. Kerberos enables single sign-on capabilities, Internet Protocol security (IPSec), and the QoS Admission Control Service.
  • Dynamic DNS
    The Domain Name System (DNS) is the primary locator service in Active Directory. Dynamic DNS removes the need for manual editing and replication of a DNS database. Dynamic DNS also allows authenticated DHCP servers to update a client's FQDN to IP address mapping whenever a DHCP lease is issued.
  • Easier domain administration
    Active Directory provides the means to organize user and network resources hierarchically. This can give domain administrators a single point of management of users, groups, and network resources, as well as the ability to distribute software and configure user desktops through Group Policy.

Two-way, Transitive Trusts

A trust between two domains allows for access to resources in one domain to be granted to chosen members of the other domain. For example, if Domain A trusts Domain B, then the administrator of Domain A can grant access to resources in Domain A to select users in Domain B.

Two-way trust
Two-way Trust

In Windows 2000, domains that participate in an Active Directory directory service automatically have two-way, transitive trusts established between them. In the diagram to the left, Domain A is the root domain of an Active Directory directory service and Domain B is a child domain.

The trust in this example is two-way because not only does Domain B trust Domain A, but Domain A trusts Domain B. Therefore, resources in domain A can be granted to users from Domain B, and visa versa.

The transitive quality of Windows 2000 trusts is demonstrated in the example to the right when Domain C joins the Active Directory as another child domain. Not only do Domain A and Domain C have a two-way trust, but Domain B and Domain C have a two-way trust because they both trust Domain A. This allows Domain B and Domain C to make resources available to one another without manually establishing the trust.

Transitive trust
Transitive Trust

Enhanced File Management

Compared to NT 4.0, Windows 2000 provides significant enhancements to file management, including:

  • Disk defragmenting, which NT 4.0 lacks.
  • Disk Quotas: Administrators can set storage limits for users on a volume. Users are charged for files that they own on a volume. A volume can include different partitions on the same physical hard disk.
  • Encrypted File System (EFS) uses public key technology to encrypt files or folders.
  • Backup software: Ntbackup is extremely useful for backing up files that the operating system always has open, such as Active Directory databases and the registry.
  • Distributed File System (DFS) makes it easier for users to locate data on the network.
  • Power Management provides greater overall power efficiency and prolonged battery life. Especially useful for portable systems.
  • Plug and Play implimentation, similar to Windows 98, makes it easier to install devices.
  • Group Policy allows administrators to manage the desktops of user running Windows 2000 Professional, including which applications they can use.

Terminal Services

Windows 2000's Terminal Services are similar to those of Citrix Winframe/Metaframe. They allow client machines to access applications running entirely on the server and supports multiple client sessions. The server manages all computing resources for each client that is connected to the server and provides each user with her own environment. Terminal Services are also extremely useful for remote administration of Windows 2000 Server.