What do you mean I have to WRITE CODE???

I first installed MIIS as a way of supporting the Exchange 2003 project I was working on. The environment was an educational institution with both short- and long-term courses, and hence a LOT of user churn. Add to that the large number (over 4000) of mail groups that were to be implemented – many of which were for self-subscribable Clubs – and it was glaringly obvious that some sort of automation was needed.

A project was underway, and had been for a couple of years already, to introduce the Netware IdM product (which I still think of as DirXML but seems to be called Identity Manager now), but the project had still failed to sync any live data, and besides, AD was so far down on the list of priorities as to not even be considered in scope.

So, out of self-defense, I installed MIIS on a test server. All the source data was helpfully in a SQL database already, and my thinking was: “SQL server – MS product; AD/Exchange – MS product; MIIS – MS product…. gotta be easy, right?”


Out of the box all MIIS 2003 can do is join pre-existing objects, and pass values as-is (or insert a Constant value, but that’s of pretty limited use). To make it do anything remotely interesting you have to code.

One of the weirdest things about my coming to this understanding was that it took so long. When at that very new starting out point, I found the MS documentation far too detailed and obtuse to give me the newbie (but technical) introduction I needed. Finally it was the excellent whitepaper Provisioning with Microsoft Identity Integration Server 2003 from Oxford Computing Group that actually drove home the message that you have to code!

The choices seemed to be VB.NET or VC#.NET. I chose VB.NET because it sounded like it might be easier. By hacking together some downloaded code I managed to get simple account provisioning working in AD, but all my users came through disabled (because I hadn’t set the password), and I had absolutely no clue what do do about populating group membership.

At this point I realised I was going to have to take this seriously. I booked a couple of days working from home, downloaded the MIIS Walkthroughs, and got studying.

I can’t imagine how anyone could just muddle their way through MIIS without some kind of study. The Walkthroughs were an excellent starting point for me.