1 Introduction

The Active Directory Web Services: Custom Action Protocol is used for directory access in identity management and topology management. Examples of these operations are managing groups and passwords (identity management; see section 3.3) and retrieving information about the forest and domain (topology management; see section 3.4). A portion of the Microsoft implementation of the Active Directory Web Services: Custom Action Protocol is used to communicate between servers; for example the implementation of server-to-server FSMO transfers or the implementation of server-to-server methods for retrieving group memberships from other servers. Those server-to-server communications are not used by Microsoft to communicate with Windows client operating systems and are not included in this specification. Licensees can implement those server-to-server communications using any protocol they choose. This specification describes the client-to-server portions of the Active Directory Web Services: Custom Action Protocol that are used between Windows servers and Windows client operating systems to manage Active Directory identities and topologies. In some cases, the client-to-server communications include status of the success or failure of server-to-server communication, to give administrators the ability to assist in diagnosing or monitoring the server-to-server implementation. However, the specific content of these communications is not understood by Windows client operating systems, and the semantics are not prescribed by this specification. Interoperation with Windows client operating systems does not require an understanding of the status of the server-to-server implementation. Licensees can implement the Active Directory Web Services: Custom Action Protocol to provide and accept any status that is meaningful for diagnosing or monitoring their server-to-server communications, or no data at all, as they choose.

The goal of this specification is to enable the transition of client applications that are currently using non–Web services protocols such as Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) version 3 [RFC2251] for managing information held in directory services to using Web services protocols.

Sections 1.5, 1.8, 1.9, 2, and 3 of this specification are normative. All other sections and examples in this specification are informative.