Many applications can make good use of Microsoft's Active Directory service. Up until recently Microsoft required the Active Directory to be installed on a domain server, and this most often was not the server that the application ran on. Locating AD on another system both imposed a performance penalty, and restricted the ability of developers to modify AD for specific application use.
From a developers' point of view, ADAM supports APIs such as LDAP, ADSI (Active Directory Interface), and the DSML (Directory Services Markup Language), all transparently interoperable with a full implementation of AD. This allows any application built on ADAM to be transferred to AD at a later date. ADAM can be installed on a domain controller, domain member or a workgroup member, and doesn't require you to create a domain or forest to support it.
Download instructions may be found here; which depending upon the version you download runs from 8.5 to 34.7 MB.
Barrie Sosinsky is president of consulting company Sosinsky and Associates (Medfield MA). He has written extensively on a variety of computer topics. His company specializes in custom software (database and Web related), training and technical documentation.
This was first published in November 2003