The most common management tool used to manage Active Directory is the Microsoft Management Console (MMC). Using the MMC interface, administrators create custom console tools to manage the domains, AD objects, OUs, group policies, etc. There are various other management tasks involved apart from these basic functions. There you would need a better, self guided tool like AD manager to assist in day to day activities. Active directory (AD) can be even managed through command lines but the better option is taking aid of administrative tools designed specifically for this purpose.
The tech world is now flooded with various Active Directory management tools. Everyone tries to distinguish it from others with one feature or other but overall serving the same purposes. What exactly is beneficial in your case? Be a critic and scrutinize your network to get hold of the best service available as they all come for a price. One important aspect which I can ensure to prove beneficial is a product with good reporting standards. Every AD tool is set to perform the same tasks with different graphical interfaces and tweaks. Reports are what can make a difference, as after setting the initial parameters, one is not so concerned about the functions but the results.
The results can be availed via good reporting tools. A tool which has the capability to let you have a bird eye view over the complete network can be summoned as a good tool. User management, server management, organizational units and group management are the basic properties of any AD manager. Reports keep it simple to manage thousands of active directory users through its bulk user operation and easy-to-work interface. They provide the data about necessary changes, recent activities or unauthorized activities in the network which in turn helps you to take apt steps to rectify the issues.
Lepide Active Directory Management and Reporting (LADMR) is an efficient AD manager tool. It makes AD management easier and better. It is incorporated with all the above mentioned features and an elaborate reporting functionality. LADMR provides more than 50 built in reports on users, computers, groups, security, OUs and other network objects. You can also write complex scripts with a built in interface (query creator) to query active directory and WMI without learning complex scripting languages. The reports can be exported to HTML, CSV, PDF, RTF and TXT formats for further reference. Evaluate the software freely for 30 days but you can’t save reports with the trial version. For further information, please visit at here : http://www.lepide.com/active-directory-manager/
In Windows Active Directory environment, user, application and OS settings can be managed and configured with the help of Group Policies. Group Policies are basically a set of rules with which administrators can control user accounts, computer accounts and settings for users, desktops, devices, servers and many other resources.
In Active Directory management and reporting system, Group Policies play a vital role in managing the entire network. With proper Group Policy settings it is possible to administer the usage rights and access permissions for each and every object within the AD structure. Group Policies allow administrators to deploy changes, set up steady desktop and server configurations, lock down workstations, control end user access and even control Windows XP firewall.
Group Policy Architecture
Group Policy architecture consists of a client side component and a server side component as explained below:
The client side component also known as the Group Policy client side extension is responsible to interpret and make changes in the Group Policies which are applied to the users or computers.
The server side component is used to configure unique policies and includes the user interface for administrators.
A Globally Unique Identifier (GUID) is assigned to every AD object to identify that object to the operating system.
Troubleshooting Group Policy application in Active Directory
In Active Directory management and reporting, troubleshooting an application on Group Policy is done when it becomes important to validate objects in the Active Directory. Troubleshooting is also required to check that the file structure of each domain controller is correct and the server GPO is replicated in every DC. To carry out this process, administrators use the GUID to identify the GPO in the client side extension. Identification of GPOs with the help of GUID can be done in the following four ways:
Using LDP.EXE from the Windows 2000 Resource Kit
Using Active Directory Replication Monitor from the Windows 2000 Resource Kit
Using the DNS Management MMC Snap-In
Using Search.vbs Microsoft Visual Basic script tool
Group Policies and Third Party Tools
Since troubleshooting and planning is a big challenge while managing GPOs, the Resultant Set of Policy (RSoP) has become a proven tool to tackle such issues. Lepide Active Directory Management and Reporting is a highly useful Active Directory group management application that comes integrated with RSoP planning mode to text the existing GPOs for applied policy setting configurations. The in-built RSoP works as value planning and testing tool, making it easier for administrators to view the newly applied policies effectively.