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Active Directory Connector (ADC)

The Active Directory Connector (ADC) allows administrators to replicate a hierarchy of directory objects between a Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5 directory and the Windows 2000 Server Active Directory. This makes ADC an indispensable tool for migration from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2000 Server. This tool can also be used where coexistence is a requirement. The ADC is included with Windows 2000 Server and will be updated in the final release of Exchange 2000. Features of ADC include

  • Fast and reliable population of information into Active Directory from the Exchange 5.5 directory

  • Flexible upgrade and migration strategies from Windows NT 4.0 to Windows 2000

  • Multimaster, bidirectional replication between Exchange and Active Directory, as well as single-directional replication. Only the changes are replicated between the directories, reducing bandwidth utilization.

  • Bulk import and export from Active Directory using a text file (LDIF format)

  • Flexible object-matching rules for connecting objects in the two directories, resulting in fewer conflicts and enabling more flexibility in how AD is replicated from Exchange

  • Use of connection agreements that allow administrators to tweak the replication schedule, authentication parameters, and the format of the replication schema

Active Directory Connector (ADC) operation is based on the same replication model used by the Exchange DS from versions past. It is important to know that Exchange uses object-level replication, which is in contrast to AD and its attribute-level replication.

Exchange object replication uses Unique Sequence Numbers (USNs). These USNs are associated with every object in Exchange. When a change is made to an object, its USN is changed. This change to the USN flags the object as being a local copy that requires updating.

USN—Unique Sequence Number.

Exchange object replication uses Unique Sequence Numbers (USNs). When a change is made to an Exchange object, its USN is changed.

Prior versions of Exchange used two different types of replication: intersite and intrasite. Of the two replication methods, intersite puts more load on system resources. ADC replication is based on the intersite method.

The ADC must reside on a Windows 2000 server. The ADC installation will update the AD schema if the schema does not already have the Exchange 2000 extensions. When configuring the ADC synchronization interfaces, it is possible to reference a remote Exchange 5.5 or an AD server. The protocol used to Exchange directory information with both server is the industry-standard LDAP.

Two variants of the ADC are currently offered: The first ships with Windows 2000, the second with Exchange 2000. The Windows 2000 ADC only replicates the Exchange Site NC. In addition to the Exchange Site NC, the Exchange 2000 ADC replicates the Configuration NC. It is important that the Exchange 2000 ADC be used.

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