Active Directory is often compared to the central nervous system of the human body.
The central nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord, and nerves running throughout the body. Just as the central nervous system coordinates and influences every activity of all parts of the human body, Active Directory is a database that coordinates the servers, client computers, printers, shared files, and other resources, as well as securing network resources in a Microsoft Windows network. Active Directory accomplishes these tasks by providing a hierarchy of management elements enabling administrators to organize resources, advertise these resources accordingly, and control the users who access them.
Medical doctors suggest a checkup or physical at least once a year, as well as personal monitoring of your health. Even if you are healthy, the purpose of these visits is to screen for diseases, asses risk of future medical problems, encourage a healthy lifestyle, update vaccinations, and maintain a relationship with doctors in case of an illness.
The comparison to Active Directory here can also be made. Proper monitoring and periodic checkups can keep the database functioning smoothly and without issues. It can definitely benefit from checkups, or health checks. (Download our free infographic to see what questions you can ask to see if your Active Directory could use a health check!)
The purpose of an Active Directory health check could be for the same reasons listed above:
Screen for Diseases
- Verify trust relationships
- View replication failures between domain controllers
- View queued replication events between domain controllers
- Display replication partners and results of replication events
- Provide a summary of the replication state and health of the forest
- Analyze the state of all domain controllers in the forest and report problems
- Review results of Microsoft Best Practice Analyzer on domain controllers
Asses Risk of Future Medical Problems
- Discuss Microsoft Server Roadmap. Are you using the latest version? When will the next version be released? When will the oldest version no longer be supported?
- Meet with Active Directory stakeholders. Will the layout and design of database be affected by any projects or applications in the future?
Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle
- Discuss current administrative practices surrounding Active Directory. What is the process to add, change, or delete users or resources, etc.?
- Discuss and recommend monitoring strategies around Active Directory
- Discuss and recommend auditing strategies of Active Directory
- Review objects (users, computers, etc.) to check for stale/out-of-date resources, or illegal objects
- Validate patch levels on domain controllers
- Validate anti-virus/malware on domain controllers
- Discuss security around the database
Maintain a Relationship with Doctors in Case of an Illness
- Good to have a relationship with an infrastructure provider, like Zunesis, when issues arise and advanced assistance is needed
- Good to have an independent third-party, like Zunesis, doing the health checks. You aren’t allowed to prescribe your own medication, are you?
Just like the human body, proper monitoring and care can assist in keeping Active Directory healthy. Active Directory and the Windows network can only benefit from these periodic “doctor” visits. The Zunesis Active Directory Health Check will assess your current Active Directory Infrastructure and deliver a report providing a third-party review, validation, and recommendations for improvement of the current database design and implementation, based on Microsoft best practices. The assessment can also be used as a template by which you can provide your own regularly scheduled “checks” of the environment.