No matter the size of the organization, Active Directory Management is a necessity if you are a Windows-based shop. From user provisioning to employee self-service, the tools below offer the features you need to keep your department running an efficient Active Directory environment.
If you have used any of the tools in this article, share your thoughts in the comments section below. Also, if you have an Active Directory management tool you have used with success that is not on this list, share it with us.
1. Adaxes from Softerra
From user and manager self-service to automating administrative functions, Adaxes makes an Active Directory administrator's job much easier. Managers can request (or set up on their own, if you like living dangerously) user accounts and make or request changes; users can maintain their own AD fields, such as addresses and phone numbers; and administrators can set policies on all of these actions to make sure they are done properly - or not happen without approval from IT.
Adaxes also contains a Password Self-Service feature that can be installed on every desktop in your organization and allow domain users to reset passwords much like local users can on a stand-alone machine - via a link on the login screen that takes them to a web page. Users are then required to answer a certain number of questions or you can send an SMS or email message to them with a verification code. Licensing is perpetual and based on the number of enabled and not expired user accounts in AD. Annual Maintenance and Support is also available.
2. ADManager from ManageEngine
ADManager does management, workflow, automation, and delegation in an easy-to-use web interface. The management is pretty standard, but workflow gives you the ability to set up users or groups who are requesters, reviewers, approvers, and executors for tasks such as user addition and deletion. Network Admins can even set up specific help desk staff, who are not otherwise domain administrators, to perform various tasks.
Finally, ADManager's most stand-out features are its Reports – from lists of users with soon-to-expire passwords and users without mailboxes to NTFS and Security reports – and especially Dashboard. The Free Edition allows you manage domains with up to 100 objects; larger domains are charged based on the number of domains and help desk technicians, as well as by version: Standard or Professional.
3. AutoMate from Network Automation
AutoMate is a simple task builder and scheduler, but it also contains link-ups to services like Active Directory. Network admins can use a tool like this to not only automate tasks in Windows but also to provision AD users and groups as well as make system-wide changes. The Task Builder allows you to arrange the steps in each task and complete that task with as little interaction as possible. Once you've built the task, the AutoMate Task Administrator is your centralized store for all of the tasks you need to manage your environment. Pricing was not available on the website.
4. XIA Automation Server from Centrel Solutions
Much like others in this list, XIA Automation Server is a task builder tool that is focused on Active Directory and other User Provisioning-related tasks. The task builder environment has tasks for creating and maintaining users and groups, creating and maintaining file directories and shares, provisioning email boxes, and even executing external applications or custom code. XIA Automation Server is licensed for an entire organization, regardless of the number of domains, users, or administrators. Discounts are offered to educational institutions. The initial license includes one year of maintenance and support; additional years are 20% of the license cost.
5. Z-Hire and Z-Term from Zohno
Z-Hire and Z-Term from Zohno are a pair of user account tools that allow administrators to set up templates for different types of users and then quickly provision or terminate Active Directory user accounts, Exchange mailboxes, and Lync accounts; run custom scripts against AD or other systems; or create and terminate accounts on cloud services such as Office 365 and SalesForce. Templates can be configured with a multitude of options, enabling administrators to quickly provision users correctly and consistently. Z-Hire and Z-Term are free products.