Additional Lessons
Lesson 3


By Sai Kurada
August 17, 2023
AD-LDS, or Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services, is a Microsoft technology that provides directory services similar to Active Directory (AD) but in a more lightweight and flexible form. It is designed for scenarios where a full-fledged Active Directory domain controller is not necessary but where directory services are still required. AD-LDS is also known as ADAM (Active Directory Application Mode) in earlier versions of Windows Server.

Here's a breakdown of the key components and concepts related to AD-LDS

Lightweight Directory Services:
  • AD-LDS is a lightweight version of Active Directory, which means it doesn't include all the features and complexities of a full AD domain controller.
  • It is designed to be more flexible and can serve various directory-related purposes without the overhead of a full AD deployment.

Directory Data Storage:
  • AD-LDS stores directory data, similar to AD, but it's not tied to a Windows domain structure.
  • Data in AD-LDS is organized hierarchically in a Directory Information Tree (DIT) structure, consisting of objects with attributes.

LDAP Protocol:
  • AD-LDS primarily communicates using the LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) standard, making it compatible with a wide range of directory-aware applications and services.

Custom Schemas:
  • AD-LDS allows you to define custom directory schemas and attributes to tailor the directory service to specific application requirements.
  • This flexibility makes it suitable for scenarios where you need to store data that doesn't fit well into the standard AD schema.

Application Directory Partition:
  • AD-LDS instances are organized into one or more application directory partitions.
  • Each application directory partition can have its own schema, data, and security settings, making it easy to isolate and manage different data sets.

Authentication and Authorization:
  • AD-LDS can provide authentication and authorization services for applications and services by storing user and group information.
  • It doesn't handle domain-level user authentication like a full AD domain controller but can serve as a directory source for application-level access control.

  • AD-LDS supports replication, allowing you to distribute directory data across multiple instances for redundancy and load balancing.
  • Replication can be configured to replicate data between AD-LDS instances or between AD-LDS and a full AD domain controller.

  • AD-LDS provides security features such as access control lists (ACLs) to control who can read and modify directory data.
  • It supports SSL/TLS encryption for secure communication.

  • AD-LDS can be integrated with existing AD domains if needed, allowing you to extend directory services without creating a separate domain.

Use Cases:
  • Common use cases for AD-LDS include storing user profiles for web applications, managing application-specific directory data, and providing directory services for non-Windows applications.

AD-LDS is a valuable tool for scenarios where you require directory services but don't need the full features and complexity of a traditional Active Directory domain. It provides the flexibility to design a directory structure that aligns with your specific application or service requirements.