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Why Use Centralis Contex for AD user Administration?

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By Ewen Anderson

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Posted: 20 Mar 2002

Current version: ZENworks for Desktops 3.2

Ewen Anderson is the Managing Director of Centralis, a Novell Solutions Partner specializing in developing software to assist Novell / ZENworks administrators managing both PC and Citrix MetaFrame environments.


Centralis Contex for AD is a tool for all network administrators supporting users in a mixed eDirectory / Active Directory environment. This version of the software allows the administrator to manage key user settings from Novell's ConsoleOne and synchronises these with the users Active Directory entry, simplifying administration procedures and greatly reducing the time needed to create and manage user accounts in a multi-platform environment.

Who Needs Centralis Contex for AD?

Active Directory Administrators

This version of Centralis Contex is not just for Thin Client Server solutions. Any administrator who is managing a mixed eDirectory / Active Directory environment can benefit. Adding value to Novell's Account Management 2.1, Centralis Contex for AD brings Active Directory domain settings into the template user, and management of RAS dial-in settings to ConsoleOne.

Windows Terminal Server / Citrix MetaFrame Administrators

For administrators with Active Directory and Terminal Server / Citrix MetaFrame looking after the integrated environment means using multiple consoles to achieve even simple tasks such as creating or editing a user.

Centralis Contex is designed to help those administrators, by bringing all the information they need into one console - ConsoleOne.

Fig 1: Centralis Contex for AD Configuration page

From here, the administrator can:

  • Edit all the major user fields across the Novell / Microsoft and Citrix environments
  • Store standard settings for Terminal Server / Citrix MetaFrame in template users
  • Synchronise selected settings across multiple users
  • Automatically create user Aliases in a specified container

Administrators Managing RAS Dial-in Settings

Novell administrators often need to manage RAS dial-in settings for users connecting into both AD / NT and Citrix MetaFrame environments. These settings cannot be viewed through ConsoleOne on a Windows 2000 environment.

Contex for AD enables Novell administrators to use ConsoleOne to grant users permission to use Dial-Up Networking for connecting to the network, and determine call-back settings if required. Because ConsoleOne is Java based, Contex for AD allows the administrator to manage these settings from any Java compliant platform.

Contex for AD also supports adding these settings into the Template User.

Additional Template User Support in Centralis Contex for AD

Centralis has added a number of additional pages to the template user through Centralis Contex for AD. This has been done to simplify and standardise the process of setting up new users in a mixes eDirectory / active directory environment.

Profile Settings for Template Users

Centralis Contex for AD provides Template User support for all the major user fields. This allows the administrator to automatically set up templates which define all the defaults for the organisation by user type, and have them applied automatically for every new user.

Fig 2: Centralis Contex for AD Profile page for a Template User

Domain Access Settings for Template Users

Contex for AD further extends the Template User concept by providing a view of the Active Directory environment by container, and allowing the user to be automatically allocated to multiple AD Domains and Domain Groups.

Fig 3: Centralis Contex for AD Domain Access page for a Template User

Domain Settings for Template Users

Finally, Centralis Contex for AD allows Active Directory settings to be set for the template user though the Domain Settings page (see fig. 4 below). This supports setting the default (Non Terminal Server) Home Directory, Profile Path and Login Script paths within the template object.

Fig 4: Centralis Contex for AD Domain Settings page for a Template User

Product Key Features

The product has the following key features:

  • Presented as a set of ConsoleOne snapin pages
  • Exposes all Windows Terminal Server and Citrix MetaFrame user configuration settings
  • Supports single & multi-user editing
  • Multi-user editing allows selection of fields to be synchronised across multiple user
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  • Adds template user support for Active Directory to Account Management 2.1
  • Supports the creation of Template users for all exposed settings
  • Can automatically substitute the username within profile and home directory paths for Template users and during single and multi-user edit
  • Allows management of RAS dial-in settings on a per user and template user basis
  • Supports Active Directory via Account Management 2.1
  • Allows automatic creation of user Alias in specified container by adding it to the template user
  • Shipped with Centralis Lyncx for bulk user Alias creation
  • Pages are designed to have a similar 'look and feel' to User Manager for Domains.

Cool Solutions Offer

Any Cool Solutions readers who order Contex up until the close of BrainShare 2002 will be provided with 12 months free upgrade protection. Simply quote "Cool Solutions offer" on the order to activate.

Useful Links

For more detailed information, please check out the Centralis Contex for AD APPNote.

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