The Resilient Evolution of Active Directory It's Alive and Kicking!

Is Active Directory truly on the brink of extinction, or is it thriving and evolving? Discover how Active Directory continues to adapt to the modern IT landscape, providing enhanced security, improved performance, and increased versatility. Read the full article to find out why we declare, 'Active Directory is alive! It’s alive! IT’S ALIVE!


Richard Dean

10/27/20232 min read

For years, rumors of the death of Active Directory (AD), the stalwart backbone of identity and access management in Windows environments, have persisted. Critics claimed it was outdated, insecure, and ill-suited to the cloud era. But, contrary to the naysayers, Active Directory is far from dead. In fact, it's not only alive but thriving, as evidenced by the latest component updates for Domain Services. In this blog, we'll explore the recent developments in Active Directory that highlight its enduring relevance and the ways in which it continues to evolve.

A Steady Pulse of Updates

The latest update for Active Directory Domain Services was rolled out on April 28, 2023, and included minor enhancements in Directory Services and Identity spaces, along with a crucial security update on August 8, 2023. These updates signify a commitment to maintaining the security and functionality of Active Directory.

Major Upgrades in the Windows Server Insider Preview

Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) and Active Directory Lightweight Domain Services (AD LDS) have seen significant upgrades in the latest Windows Server Insider Preview. These updates enhance the scalability, performance, security, and supportability of AD, helping customers manage their hybrid identity infrastructure more efficiently and effectively.

Exciting Highlights of the Latest Preview

1. Expanded Domain and Forest Functional Level: The introduction of a new domain and forest functional level enables 32,000 database pages, allowing for increased object size and multi-valued attribute values. This expansion makes Active Directory more versatile and adaptable.

2. NUMA: Support Active Directory now supports Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA), enabling it to utilize CPUs in all processor groups and expand beyond 64 cores. This enhancement boosts processing power, making AD more efficient and responsive.

3. Replication Priority: The new replication priority feature allows you to configure the replication order for specific naming contexts and partners. This means you can prioritize the replication of critical data, ensuring consistency across domains and forests, making AD more reliable and resilient.

4. Performance Counters: New performance counters for LDAP client requests, name and SID lookups, and DC locator provide the means to monitor and measure Active Directory's performance, offering greater transparency and accountability.

5. Legacy Protocol Deprecation: Active Directory is moving away from legacy protocols like WINS and mailslots, and it now offers improved mapping of NetBIOS names to DNS names. This shift reduces dependency on outdated technologies, embracing modern standards for greater compatibility and security.

6. Enhanced Security: Active Directory receives enhanced security measures, including improvements in LDAP connections, password changes, Kerberos encryption and signing, and PKINIT algorithms. These enhancements ensure the protection of Active Directory data and communications against unauthorized access and tampering, making it more trustworthy and compliant.

Active Directory is far from obsolete. It continues to adapt and evolve, staying ahead of the curve in the ever-changing IT landscape. The recent updates and improvements in Active Directory Domain Services and Active Directory Lightweight Domain Services demonstrate Microsoft's commitment to keeping this essential component not just alive but thriving. To learn more about these latest features and enhancements, visit the What’s new in Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) and Active Directory Lightweight Domain Services (AD LDS) page.

So, in the words of Dr. Frankenstein, I declare, "Active Directory is alive! It’s alive! IT’S ALIVE!" Embrace its continued vitality and reap the benefits it offers in the modern age of IT.