Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS)
Lesson 6

Organizational units

By Sai Kurada
September 09, 2023
Organizational Units (OUs) are containers within a domain in Active Directory used to organize and manage objects such as users, groups, computers, printers, and other Active Directory-enabled objects. They provide a way to apply policies, deploy software, and delegate administrative tasks in a more granular manner.
Key points about Organizational Units:

  1. Hierarchical Structure: OUs are organized in a hierarchical structure, allowing for a logical grouping of objects. This structure can mimic the organizational structure of a company, making it easier to manage resources.
  2. Delegated Administration: OUs can have specific administrative permissions assigned to them. This allows administrators to delegate certain tasks to other users or groups, reducing the burden on central IT teams.
  3. Group Policy Application: Group Policies can be linked to OUs. This enables administrators to apply specific configurations and settings to all objects within an OU, providing a powerful tool for centralized management.
  4. Container vs. OU: OUs differ from containers in that they allow for more advanced management capabilities, including delegation of administrative authority and application of Group Policies. While both containers and OUs can hold objects, containers have more limited functionality.
  5. Cross-Domain Management: OUs exist within a domain. However, if you have a multi-domain environment, you can use trusts and permissions to manage objects across different domains.
  6. Renaming and Moving OUs: OUs can be renamed and moved within the domain, but it's important to be cautious when doing so. Moving an OU can impact the policies and permissions applied to the objects within it.
  7. Naming Conventions: It's good practice to use descriptive names for OUs to make it clear what type of objects are contained within. This helps with organization and makes it easier for administrators to understand the structure.
  8. Default OUs: When you create a new domain in Active Directory, there are default OUs that are created automatically, such as the Users and Computers OUs. These can be used or modified to suit your specific needs.
  9. Nested OUs: OUs can be nested within other OUs. This allows for even greater granularity in organizing and managing objects. However, it's important to maintain a logical and easily understandable structure.
  10. Object Inheritance: Objects placed within an OU inherit the policies and settings applied to that OU. However, these settings can be overridden by policies applied at higher levels in the hierarchy.

OUs play a crucial role in the management of resources within Active Directory. Properly organizing objects into OUs can simplify administration, improve security, and make it easier to apply policies and settings across your network.