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Member server is a server role defined by Microsoft Active Directory (AD), a service that runs on the Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003 operating systems. A member server belongs to a domain but is not the domain controller. It can function as a file server, database server, application server, firewall, remote access server and certificate server. The domain controller is responsible for authenticating security requests such as logins and permission checking.
Member servers provide the backbone of services and applications in a domain.
When a server is connected to an Active Directory domain, it becomes a member server and permits a local logon and a domain logon. Every company has member servers, ranging from just a few to thousands. Member servers are the core production service of the company. They are available in all sizes, and perform a variety of responsibilities and functions.
A member server's key functions include:
Because member servers house all these essential functionalities, they contribute to the security of the network. The areas that member servers need to protect include user rights, ports, application permissions, services and local security accounts. Most of these areas can easily be configured by ensuring that security configurations are made right. The best tool for configuring the security of member servers in an Active Directory network is the group policy. Member servers adhere to group policy settings defined for site, domain and organizational units.