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Dsrazor For Windows 4.4 From Altman Technologies

from Network Computing Magazine September/October 2009

Active Directory may be an integral part of today's business network infrastructure, but it must be managed effectively and consistently to ensure compliance with data protection regulations. There are plenty of tools available, but many entail a steep learning curve and require specialist skills.

DSRAZOR for Windows offers a slick alternative that aims to reduce training costs and management overheads, as it can be used straight from the box and without complex scripting. A key differentiator of DSRAZOR is its exclusive use of applets to interrogate and document AD and NTFS data and security. Applets can either be run directly from the DSRAZOR console, or they can be saved as executables where they become standalone applications, that can be distributed to help desk staff.

Installation doesn't get any easier as you simply load DSRAZOR onto a Windows workstation or a central location where it can be accessed by multiple users. There is no requirement for anything to be loaded on the domain controllers and access security for DSRAZOR is determined by the domain privileges of the user running it.

The software comes with a heap of predefined applets which can be accessed directly from the DSRAZOR console. These are all organised tidily into different categories where you have applets that focus on AD/NTFS security and AD searches and queries for those specifically for checking file system privileges. Running them is a cinch as you double-click your chosen applet which loads a new window displaying available AD domains. You can set the query to start at the root or at any point in the tree just by selecting a container and hitting the search button to the side.

The search results are displayed in a table that can be sorted by its columns. The results may be printed directly, and you can select single or multiple table entries and export the data to text or CSV files. Access security worked perfectly as we tried to run a query as a user with no domain privileges and found we were not allowed to access or search the AD tree on our domain controller.

With its patented visual scripting environment, the Designer tool makes light work of creating your own applets complete with customised views. The process is largely drag-and-drop, removing the need for complex scripting commands, and the manual steps in with solid tutorials. On completion, hitting the Test Drive button helps to see if the new applet you created works and if you wish, you can save it as a standalone executable.

A handy feature of applets is their ability to define the container in the AD tree where the query is to be run. This allows you to pass out DSRAZOR applets to help desk staff that will only query the containers those users are authenticated for. Applets can automate many tasks so you could, for example, create ones to provide drag and drop AD group management, or remove selected users, along with their Exchange mailboxes and home directories.

The Viewer component allows you to select and execute individual applets that haven't been saved off as standalone versions. The process is as easy as using the console as the Viewer lists all the local applets on the workstation for selection. Security is maintained as the script runs with the domain privileges of the user that started it. DSRAZOR clearly has the ability to handle large AD domains containing many thousands of objects. Its applets can automate many everyday tasks, so reducing training and management overheads, and the beauty of this approach is that staff who don't have any scripting or programming skills can fully benefit.CS

Product: DSRAZOR for Windows 4.4
Supplier: Altman Technologies
Tel: 0113 273 0300
Web site:www.altman.co.uk