Defragmentation of Active Directory Database
There are many essential tools used in Microsoft Windows Servers and Active Directory is one of the core objects of Window Server platforms. It is important to define Active Directory before stating in regards to Active Directory Database.
Active Directory is a Microsoft technology that provides a variety of directory and network services. Active Directory was first released with Windows Server 2000 edition. It was later revised to improve administration and functionality in Windows Server 2003. Additional changes were made in Windows Server 2003 R2. Active Directory was later named as Active Directory Domain Services after further improvements and it was the new feature of Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2.
Active Directory Database:
Active Directory Database is one of the core tool of Active Directory that refers to the storage and management of directories. Active Directory database saves data into partitions so that the data can be segmented in appropriate order and then retrieved efficiently when required. Microsoft refers these partitions and data stores as ‘naming context’. Active Directory database is an important task as it is used to recover the lost or corrupted data and to repair the database in such cases. Extensible Storage Engine also known as ESE. It is an Active Directory Database and is used to manage all the objects of Active Directory in a Database. ESE uses different types of log files in regards to managing and maintaining the databases.
Fragmentation and Defragmentation:
Fragmentation occurs as a result of deleting and adding new records in a database with the passage of time and it reduces the efficiency of Active Directory. Further to this, fragmentation also slows down the overall performance of Active Directory that further effect the system performance. defragmentation is performed to overcome such problems and keep the Active Directory in an efficient state. While updating records the data is stored in random sections and defragmentation is a process of updating the randomly saved data into contiguous sectors. This process increases the speed of access and retrieval of data and keeps the overall efficiency to the maximum.
Defragmentation is performed by moving a database to a new location and the original file is not deleted in this process. Hence, the original database can be used in case the defragmented file is not working. It also allows copying to a different hard drive in order to perform hardware maintenance. There are two types of defragmentation; online and offline. Online defragmentation is performed automatically every 12 hours by default as part of Garbage Collection Process and it does not reduce the size of database file. Moreover, online defragmentation optimizes data storage and reclaims space for new objects in the directory. Offline defragmentation, however, is manually performed by System Administrators and it reduces the size of database file and saves disk space. The offline defragmentation can only be performed while the database is inactive\offline.
Comparison of Active Directory Database versions:
Active Directory Database and its defragmentation process are same in Active Directory 2003 and Active Directory 2008. Hence, the process of offline defragmentation and online defragmentation is performed in a same manner in 2008 version as it was performed in Active Directory 2003. However, there have been lots of new features in Active Directory 2008 and Active Directory 2008 R2 as compared to Active Directory 2003 and Active Directory 2003 R2 in different objects and tools but the database process and defragmentation has remained the same.