From the client point of view, the applications get configuration data from three separate data sources or strata. These strata are the default stratum, the user stratum and the policy stratum.
The user stratum and default stratum are the existing data sources that client applications currently deal with. The default stratum is deployed with the application and is mostly unchanged throughout its lifetime. It is stored locally alongside the application. The user stratum stores the changes made by a given user to the application settings. It is stored either locally or in a shared location.
The policy stratum is stored centrally in the configuration repository, which contains configuration settings that are managed by the Configuration Manager. These settings are associated on the server with entities such as organizations, roles, users, and hosts. They are accessed on behalf of a given user or host and are read-only for the user or host.
The Configuration Manager is able to read or write the configuration settings of the policy stratum only. The content of the default or user stratum cannot be accessed by the Configuration Manager. The client application configuration system is in charge of the retrieval and the combination of the values gathered from all strata. See Merging.