This post is sponsored by Softerra, Ltd. What’s this?
For most IT administrators, the Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC) tool is their primary gateway for AD object management. This tool is showing some age. Little annoyances include never remembering any setting that you check to the lack of real customization. Bigger issues include no granular builtin roles (which most other Microsoft products include) and a need to use multiple solutions for simple automation.
Adaxes completely refreshes Active Directory object management by providing a complete picture GUI that can control workflow, handle customization, and integrate with multiple tools. Knowing the limitations of the native tools, let’s explore how Adaxes can help you.
New Administrative Tools: Traditional and Web Access
Adaxes comes in two flavors: a traditional administrative console and a modern web interface. Both have their individual strengths and are very useful in that context. The administration console, at first glance, is a blend of ADAC with more advance tools that you would use in programming or database management. You will find all of the familiar ADAC icons along with a huge amount of extra functionality (baskets, roles, scheduled tasks, virtual OUs, etc).
Do you ever wish there was a lite version of Active Directory? You know, some type of tool that made resetting passwords/creating users/etc straight forward for tier 1 helpdesk or HR staff. The web version of Adaxes is built for that very purpose! Below, you can see a screenshot of the helpdesk version of the web console that highlights the user management section:
There is also a more complex administrator version of the web console for robust mobile work. The final part of the web console setup is the self-service portal. This page provides a simple way for standard users to edit their AD attributes. From here, they can upload thumbnail photos, rename themselves, change passwords, etc. There is even a tie in for self-service password resets that is driven from the Windows logon interface. Imagine all of the helpdesk calls a self-service portal can prevent. These three default configurations are not fixed. Each can be completely customized. You can even add additional Web Interfaces with own configurations.
AD Object Management – Streamlined
I never saw anything wrong with creating a user in ADAC until I created one in Adaxes. This is even with PowerShell creating many of my users beforehand. Adaxes simplifies the entire process. What exactly is wrong with creating users in ADAC:
- No standardization. Names can be omitted, rearranged, etc. This can lead to an assortment of naming conventions on display names and logon names
- Temptation to enter standard/poor passwords and issues with password complexity
- Having to finish setting up the user after creation (ex: create a mailbox or add in attribute data through account properties).
When an account is created with Adaxes, these problems do not exist. Take the screenshot below as an example. After typing the first and last name of a user, the user logon name is automatically generated based on your configured value. The display of the full name is configured by a custom value that you can configure as well. This generation is carried over into the Web UI. Regardless of the interface, that practically any AD attribute can be automatically generated or restricted to certain values. This provides a great deal of flexibility while ensuring standardization.
Passwords for users can be generated and in the same window, you can view the password policy. The next screens allow you to generate a mailbox and email for the user as well as configure user attributes.
A lot of thought went into improving the AD management experience. This same attention to detail is in each process that Adaxes controls. The crazy thing is, I now see other ways to take this even further (for example – adding a copy groups feature so that a new user’s group membership is copied from an existing user).
If I had to bet, the developers of Adaxes were Active Directory administrators that got tired of being inefficient. By using Adaxes, you can provide a custom AD management experience to different personnel. You can delegate account maintenance to trusted individuals or even enable a self service infrastructure. Finally, any work that you do is made quicker and easier with the streamlined wizards. You can live demo Adaxes or setup a free trial here.