What's in Your Active Directory?
Aelita's Enterprise Directory Reporter collects and organizes AD information.
If you're using Active Directory on your network, you know that there's
almost too much information stored there. Even a moderately sized network
can have thousands of AD entries to keep track of. Whether it's determining
what applications are installed on the workstations or determining what
group policies apply to a particular user there are thousands of little
details that are useful—if you can find them.
Aelita's Enterprise Directory Reporter tackles the challenge that all
of this information presents in two steps. First, it allows you to collect
the information from the Active Directory and other information about
the network into a SQL Server database. Second, the information can be
extracted from the database through Aelita's Reporting Console.
Aelita's Data Collection Manager module manages the information that
is collected from the network. You create, through a wizard process, a
collection that specifies what data you want to capture. This can include
active directory information, a hardware and software inventory for servers,
workstations, or both, and even information about Microsoft Exchange servers.
Once you have the collection defined you can run it immediately and set
a schedule for subsequent data collections.
Depending upon the size of your network and the level of detail that
you asked for Enterprise Directory Reporter to log, it may take a significant
amount of time to complete the collection process. In some cases this
can be several hours, particularly if you asked for file-by-file logging.
Once the logging process is complete you can start the Reporting Console
to see what gems of information you can find.
I had problems with the Reporting Console component. The reason turned
out to be that the Reporting Console, which must already be installed
separately from the Enterprise Directory Reporter, does not include the
database of reports for reporting on Enterprise Directory Reporter. After
running the installation for the reports database I was able to load the
database into Reporting Console and finally see the data that I had captured.
Additionally, the first time that you run a report in the Reporting console,
it takes an excessively long time for the report to be generated—to
the point that you wonder if the program has locked up. After the first
report has been run, the reports times settle down to something more reasonable.
Although the product does a great job of collecting information from
network sources and storing it into the SQL server database the interface
is a little quirky, requiring that you anticipate how the program wants
you to interact with it. This frequently means many missteps before figuring
out the correct path. Normally, I'd blame this on not reading the manual,
but the manual for the data collection process is 11 pages—and I
read it. Although it helped, it also left several unanswered questions.
|Aelita offers flexible reporting options for making
sense of large amounts of network information. (Click image to view
If you need a way to collect and report on information from your enterprise
and report on it, then Enterprise Directory Reporter may be the right
product for you. Be forewarned, however, that you'll likely have to explore
for a while before you get the product working the way you want it to.
Robert Bogue, MCSE, has contributed to more than 100 book projects and
numerous other publishing projects. Robert is a technical consultant for
Crowe Chizek in Indianapolis. His latest book is Mobilize Yourself! The Microsoft
Guide to Mobile Technology (is available wherever books are sold. He is also a frequent contributor to CertCities.com.