Location of the Schema in Active Directory

The objects stored in Active Directory are arranged in a logical hierarchy called the Directory Information Tree (DIT) . Active Directory includes a preconfigured database (commonly referred to as the base DIT that contains the information that is required to install and run Windows 2000 and Active Directory. The base DIT is installed during a fresh install of a Windows 2000 domain controller. One section of the base DIT is the base schema.

The Directory Information Tree is divided into directory partitions. A directory partition is a tree of directory objects that forms a unit of replication in Active Directory.

Schema objects are located in the Schema container. The Schema container is not a container in the sense of a special type of Active Directory object that contains other objects; the Schema container is a special purpose object class. The Schema container (cn=schema,cn=configuration,dc=< forest root domainName >) contains all of the class and attribute definitions that are required to locate objects in Active Directory and to create new objects. It is the topmost object of the schema directory partition.

The relationship of the schema partition and the Configuration and Schema containers is illustrated in Figure 4.1.


Figure 4.1 Location of the Schema Container


The schema is a directory partition in its own right to prevent potential dependency problems that can arise because of the way directory objects are replicated. For more information about the schema directory partition and why the schema is a separate directory partition, see "Name Resolution in Active Directory" in this book.