Active Directory: A mission-critical service
In this day and age, most people have electronic devices which hold information and data which is near and dear to them. My thirteen year old daughter has three such devices of her own: an iPhone, iPad, and MacBook.
A very large percentage of people have at least one gadget which is fundamental to their personal organisation, without which they would be completely lost. And if it is lost, either through some kind of failure or theft, it is ‘a complete nightmare Dad’, as I was recently reminded. There was so much tears and frustration that I have put steps in place to ensure that all my daughter’s devices are now backed up on a regular basis, and can be easily restored should such a nightmare arise.
Now let’s consider the analogy of the device holding all the information for a company or organisation. This device is commonly known as the Computer Network which can exist within a single building, or indeed stretch across the globe, but simply put, it could be defined as a telecommunications network which allows computers to exchange data within a business or organisation. Indeed, it is the personal organisation device of any company.
An Active Directory®, or AD as it is commonly abbreviated, is a service provided by Microsoft® that stores information about items on a network so the information can be easily made available to specific users and administrators through a logon process. By using an Active Directory® it is possible to view an entire series of network objects from a single point and obtain an overall hierarchical view of the network. In other words, it describes the Computer Network.
Because an Active Directory® supports distributed network environments, they can be extremely complex and require a network administrator who is well-versed in this type of technology. In fact once an Active Directory® is put in place, it is the heart of the operation, and if the heart stops, so too does the body. To regenerate the heart, in this analogy, for larger organisations, will take not hours, but days or weeks, and all through this time the organisation’s productivity is severely impacted.
Active Directory® Recovery Plan
So of course, every organisation has an appropriate backup process in place, sufficiently tested, so in the event the Active Directory® fails it can be regenerated in as little time as possible to get the organisation up and running as it was before. You would think so, would you not?
Answer: If you want to make an Active Directory® administrator uncomfortable, ask them about their recovery plan. Experience tells me that even if there is a recovery plan in place, a large percentage of those responsible will not have tested it. The process can be rife with faults if not tested sufficiently and even if tested, can be cumbersome, limited and result in the organisation being on its knees for not an inconsiderable amount of time.
So why do so few organisations put together, and test, a disaster recovery plan for what is unquestionably one of a company’s most critical pieces of infrastructure? You will probably agree that an I.T. manager who has not put a suitable recovery plan in place is not doing their job.
There’s a lot of work required within a disaster recovery process of this magnitude, and there are also lots of pitfalls. A comprehensive test environment needs to be constructed and the process sufficiently tested to ensure that any other problem areas are unearthed which may not have been accounted for in the planning stage. This is a project that takes weeks of work. Even if the process is tested and works smoothly, there is a great deal of manual intervention.
Now would it not be wonderful if there was a service available which could completely automate the recovery of your Active Directory®, and in no time at all?
Having encountered problems, would it not be amazing if you could turn back the clock and return to a state where you knew that your Active Directory® was functioning as it should, without having to go through a rebuild process?
Would it not make you happy to think that the testing of your recovery plan is not going to use extensive amounts of your company’s resources, over and over again?
If you are directly responsible for your organisation’s Active Directory® or indeed for the operation of your organisation as a whole, and if you could click on a link which provided you with a solution to provide this essence of Utopia. Would you do it?