7.1 Managing Groups

The Active Directory group class defines two types of groups and three scopes for membership in the group. Type and scope are controlled by the groupType attribute, which can be set via an Identity Manager policy when a group is created in Active Directory and changed by modifying the attribute.

A group holds a collection of object references. The Distribution Group type gives no special rights or privileges to its members and is commonly used as a distribution list for Exchange. The Security Group type is a security principal. Its members receive the rights and privileges of the group. Security Groups have a pre-Windows 2000 logon name (samAccountName) and a Security Identifier (SID) that can be used in Security Descriptor (SD) Access Control Lists (ACL) on other objects to grant or deny rights and privileges to its members.

Group scope controls whether an object from a foreign domain can be a member of the group and also whether the group itself can be a member of another group. The three scopes are Domain Local, Global, and Universal.

In general, Domain Local groups can hold references to objects anywhere in the forest but can be assigned permissions only within the domain. Global groups are the opposite. They can only hold references to objects within the domain but can be assigned permissions throughout the forest. Universal groups can hold references and can be assigned permissions throughout the forest. However, Universal groups come with their own restrictions and performance issues. Groups should be created and used in conformance with Microsoft recommendations.

The groupType attribute is a 32-bit integer whose bits define type and scope. Groups can have only a single scope at any given time.

Table 7-1 GroupType Attribute

GroupType Attribute


Bits That Define Type and Scope