Working With Integrated Centrify Products

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Posted 2012-09-06 Print this article Print

My testing focused on the administration of users, management of systems and the end-user experience, as well as the enhanced capabilities provided to network managers. Installation of the suite was straightforward and presented no real surprises, and the included documentation and support smoothed over any issues that arose, which were related more to the particular environment I was working in than to the product itself.

As mentioned before, Centrify Enterprise Suite consists of several integrated Centrify products. Management takes place from a centralized console, which provides access to all the various features. In other words, I did not have to individually launch the products; I could access them all from the main console.

The DirectManage component provides centralized management and administration and uses a logical progression to manage and administer several critical capabilities. I found that DirectManage provided easy-to-use tools to create roles for users, as well as define zones for auto provision. I used DirectManage to create specific roles for the access and administration of Linux and other systems.

However, I was most impressed with the product's ability to discover systems and deploy software to Unix and Linux clients. Centrify calls the technology "Deployment Manager." Using Deployment Manager consists of discovering a machine, registering that machine with the system and then integrating that machine into Active Directory. The product automatically queries the system, figures out all of the users, the software installed and so on, to integrate the new system into Active Directory.

The product offers several options during integration into Active Directory. For example, I was able to choose a zone, a container and other objects to bring the system into Active Directory. Once the system was joined to Active Directory, I was able to create a single-sign-on (SSO) paradigm for the users.

While SSO benefits the end users, the real power of the product is the centralized management paradigm, where Active Directory becomes the primary repository for account information and machine inventory and OS-specific chores can be accessed centrally, instead of requiring an administrator to log on to each server individually.

DirectControl is another key component of the suite. With DirectControl, I was able to centralize account administration, including user rights, policies and settings. DirectControl works by incorporating Unix/Linux/Mac users into Active Directory and then extending it to support those accounts.

The product makes those once-alien systems part of Active Directory. With DirectControl, I was able to quickly define the rights and policies associated with a particular user, regardless of what system the user wanted to access. Simply put, DirectControl extends Active Directory capabilities to Unix/Linux/Mac systems, allowing administrators to centrally control user access.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at

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