IT professionals preparing for the new MCSA certification will find a stronger emphasis on Active Directory. Microsoft Active Directory, or AD, is a database management system that can be replicated across logical network partitions called domains. The AD stores configuration information such as user login credentials and contains objects representing users, groups and computers. Administrators can group these objects into units according to business requirements and centrally manage them through group policy objects. They can also use AD to push software and desktop configuration updates to user systems. While AD has long been a central component of Windows Server, significant updates have expanded its role in the MCSA exams.