The choice between Active Directory and SCCM is often a difficult one. The two products are very similar in that they both manage clients and provide services related to security, but they’re also very different in how they do it. Which is better for your situation depends on what you want to accomplish with the product and how much experience you have with managing client-server networks.
Active Directory is a directory service.
Active Directory is a directory service. It’s a database that stores information about the objects in your network, such as users and computers. AD lets you manage those objects through its database, which can be accessed by other applications (like SCCM).
It’s important to note that AD is not only a storage tool for user accounts and other data. It’s also an application framework built on top of that database that handles all kinds of tasks related to managing networks and resources on them. That includes:
- Creating and maintaining user accounts
- Managing group membership for users
- Registering systems in the domain (that is, assigning them permissions)
SCCM is a client management service.
SCCM is a client management service. It can manage clients using policies that are distributed from a server. SCCM manages clients by pushing out machine configurations and certain objects from the server to each client machine.
AD can control how different groups interact with each other in the network by defining organizational units, group policies, and users.
For AD to be used by other services, it needs to be installed on all servers or workstations within an organization so that they know who has access to what resources when someone logs into their account locally or remotely using another device such as a smartphone or tablet computer (iOS/Android).
SCCM manages clients using policies that are distributed from a server.
SCCM is client-server-based. It can use Active Directory for authentication and push out policies to clients. SCCM will manage computers and users within an organization, as well as software updates, distribution, etc.
It can also manage mobile devices and has built-in support for applications, operating systems, and drivers. SCCM is a powerful tool to help you manage your entire enterprise infrastructure.
AD manages accounts, permissions, and other security objects that other services can use.
Active Directory (AD) is an LDAP-compliant directory service that can be installed on Windows Server operating systems. AD stores information about objects in a database and provides authentication, authorization, and other security services to users and computers of a network. These services include:
- Authentication: A process that verifies a user’s or computer’s identity on the network.
- Authorization: The process of allowing the access and use of resources based on individual user rights and permissions.
- Auditing: Records events about system activities, such as login attempts or changes to files or directories on disk drives, by using audit policies to track activity within domains. This can be used for compliance monitoring purposes and troubleshooting issues related to unauthorized access attempts, such as hacking incidents through malicious software attacks like Trojan horses, etc., who may attempt unauthorized access into your organization’s systems through some form of penetration into them.
AD has little control over what is installed on each client machine – SCCM does.
An Active Directory (AD) server is a network service that provides authentication, authorization, and data management services for your network. AD has little control over what is installed on each client machine – SCCM does.
This means that when you install an application in AD, it doesn’t tell the client machines what they will be installing (unlike SCCM). For example, if you were to install an application called “Office 2016” from the command line in Windows 10 Professional, it would simply show up as such on their computer – no matter how many times a user logs into the machine or reboots it. However, with SCCM, we can use task sequences and packages to determine whether something gets installed!
So why use both? Because these two systems complement each other perfectly:
-AD can be used to install applications required for your organization (such as Office 2016) but is not necessarily required for every user.
-SCCM is great for installing applications that need to be configured on each client machine individually (such as software development tools).
To install an application using AD, use the command line to run “sccm softwareinstall” and add the package you want to install. For example: -sccm softwareinstall packagename=Office2016
Which to start with depends on what you want to do.
SCCM is good for managing computers and users, while AD is good for managing security and permissions. You can use one or the other or both.
If you want to manage a small number of computers, we recommend using SCCM as it has fewer moving parts than AD and requires less maintenance. However, if you plan to expand your network continually, it’s worth getting up and running with AD, too, so your infrastructure can grow.
We recommend starting with SCCM if you want to manage your machines remotely and have an on-site IT person who doesn’t need too much help configuring the network. If you’re just getting started with managing computers, then AD might be easier to use because it doesn’t require anything but a domain controller for everything else to work correctly. Suppose you’re already using Active Directory as part of your infrastructure. In that case, adding SCCM shouldn’t be difficult – take care when upgrading so that no information gets lost during the process!
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