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how ldap works replicating AD?

am new to this but is familiar with the purpose of ldap.

I just can't visualize how it works.

What we would want to happen is have linux desktops to authenticate with a linux server to be able to gain access to network resources.

currently. We have linux server with samba as PDC and windows clients that connect to network shared resourced. Users just login via the "domain" and network drives are mapped. When server is unavailable (in cases of laptops) user just logs in and work with the local resources

We would like to have the same thing going with linux desktops and laptops. With LDAP how is this implemented? Hope someone can help us visualize so we know what softwares and configurations should be done in the side of both the server and the clients.