As is normal at any conference, DEC 2007 had its sponsors that were keen to show off their products. My journey with MIIS so far has been an entirely DIY affair, so I was interested to have a squizz at the products on display. It was a small conference, and there were only three software vendors with add-ons to promote. I’ll just give my impressions here – obviously for more information you should visit the relevant websites.
NetPro Mission Control
MIIS is sorely lacking in a good management interface, and NetPro have addressed this need with Mission Control. Some observations:
- It runs in a web GUI, so is easily accessible by whoever should need it.
It has the abilty to produce Visio maps of data flows – something that would be extremely useful in documenting an installation that has been allowed to get into a mess.
- There is a strong focus on auditing and reporting, with the ability to compare run times of like operations over different time periods (and no, you don’t need to keep months of Run History to do this – it stores that data in its own tables).
- It tracks all the changes made to the metaverse schema, management agents, DLLs. I wasn’t sure how useful this would be unless you have multiple people changing the server and no change control – and if that’s the case you’re probably in a lot more trouble than this can help with.
- It apparently has the ability to schedule run profiles along with pre- and post-processing tasks. Unfortunately I was not able to see this demo’d – a pity as it’s (to my mind) the most useful feature.
Mission Control is licensed on the number of MAs it is managing. You buy a server license for the product, and then packs of 10 MA licenses.
Omada Identity Manager
I had a rather rushed demo of this but I think I got the general gist.
Omada have focused on providing an interface for the management of users and groups, that can then tie in to MIIS. Their product runs on a seperate server with it’s own SQL database and web interface. Through web forms, administrators are able to create users and assign them to appropriate Roles. An MA provides the connection back to MIIS allowing users and group memberships to flow where needed.
I’m not really sure what effect ILM r2 will have on this product, as it essentially has the same structure. I suppose Omada will maintain their niche with their emphasis on a Role-based structure and their support for SAP, and besides, ILM r2 is still 12-18 months off.
If enterprise Roles is something you need to consider, and your organisation currently has no systematic way of assigning them, then Omada could be well worth a look.
Centrify DirectControl Suite
DirectControl allows you to greatly simplify your directory sprawl by allowing non-Microsoft servers and applications to use AD as an authentication authority. It does this by introducing new objects called Zones into AD – though somehow without extending the schema – I’m not sure how that works.
I made the point that I could already get Linux and Unix servers authenticating to AD by using the Services for Unix, but apparently that is only with seriously pathetic security, and besides SFU is to be discontinued (I had not heard that…)
They seem to have a good range of apps and systems that the product integrates with – not just from the Unix/Linux world, but also Oracle, SAP, Mac OS and others. In the Windows ITPro magazine thoughtfully left in my conference bag, DirectControl was compared with products from Quest and Centeris and it came out tops.
In case you’re wonderinig what this has to do with MIIS, Centrify do have an MA that allows the Zones to be managed through it. Unfortunately this was yet another demo that couldn’t be produced on the day, so I just have their word for it.