Product Reviews

Help for Diverse Directories

Need help managing heterogeneous networks? Perhaps bv-Admin is the answer.

By now, you certainly know that Windows 2000 has introduced a new model for managing such elements as users, groups, rights, and Active Directory. And if your horizons are broad enough, you know that Novell NDS has been offering similar capabilities on NetWare networks for quite some time. A few lucky systems administrators are running one of these enterprise-level directory services on a completely homogeneous network.

But what do you do if your organization hasn’t enforced a single standard, and you have a mix of Win2K, Windows NT 4.0, and NetWare networks, all interconnected and sharing resources? One thing you can do is install BindView’s bv-Admin package (formerly known as Entevo DirectAdmin).

Put simply, bv-Admin is a management solution for multiple, heterogeneous directory services. It can show you NT and Win2K domains, organizational units (OUs), trees, forests, Novell NDS directories, and Microsoft Exchange directories in a single console. All of these directories are condensed to a single treeview, and commands are uniform across the full reach of directory services. For example, you can create or delete users across all directory services with a single operation.

The bv-Admin application is designed to scale effectively using a delegation model. Delegation allows the overall network administrator to identify users or groups who should be allowed to perform particular management actions, without turning them loose on your entire directory structure. For example, you can designate a particular user on your network to edit computer properties, without giving that user control over other users. This control is fine-grained, with 11 predefined roles and more than 50 separate tasks that can be delegated.

The bv-Admin application also can help you keep track of your network with a series of management reports. These track everything from computers through users and groups down to individual files across all computers in your network. The reports are interactive as well. For example, after listing all folders on a network share, you can inspect and set the attributes, sharing or securing properties of any of the folders. A whole set of utility programs supports the main bv-Admin console. These include bv-Admin Web Server, which provides a browser-based management solution, and bv-Admin for Windows 2000 Migration, which handles the tasks involved in converting an existing NT domain structure for efficient operation under Win2K Active Directory. In addition, DirectScript supplies a set of COM objects that gives you the ability to call up bv-Admin’s capabilities from a COM client program such as Visual Basic, VBScript, or ASP pages.

bv-Admin offers fine-grained control over administrative privileges. This report displays some of the rights delegated to a particular group. (Click image to view larger version.)

Overall, bv-Admin does an impressive job of simplifying management for complex heterogeneous networks, as well as opening up the possibility of delegating the management job. If you’d like to see for yourself how this works, you can request an evaluation CD directly from BindView’s Web site.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.

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