Tool combines slick interface, AD automation, steep price (sort of)

The User Management Resource Administrator from Tools4ever is an incredibly slick program that handles automated updates to Windows Active Directory and provides tools for batch creation of AD objects. It has three separate modules, each priced individually and available as a standalone product.

The User Management Resource Administrator from Tools4ever is an incredibly slick program that handles automated updates to Windows Active Directory and provides tools for batch creation of AD objects. It has three separate modules, each priced individually and available as a standalone product. While these products are specifically designed for Windows environments, the company is committed to providing solutions for users with other platforms, as well.

According to the company, the three modules are:

1 - Mass provides the bulk function, which enables mass account creation/maintenance and deletion, in addition to mass AD attribute maintenance. Mass utilizes CSV/text file input.

2 - Forms & Delegation enables you to build custom forms for ANY administrative functions and the processing required to perform the function automatically, and then securely delegate the task to other staff. Popular examples are the automation of account creation/maintenance and deletion, and password resetting.

3 - Automation enables you intelligently, and automatically, synchronize Active Directory and SIS/HR systems.

I stumbled across the application as I was looking for a script to create hundreds of new student users from a CSV data file dumped out of our new student information system. Similarly, we had several new hires this year, as well as a lot of staff shuffling, so I had data available from our HR program. While such scripts are floating all over the Net, the demo I downloaded from Tools4ever had great instructions, a point-and-click interface, and a whole host of user management tools (basically customizable Visual Basic scripts wrapped in a slick GUI) that random scripts couldn't touch.

By the time my trial period had ended, I was hooked and emailed the company for a quote. I won't disclose the price since I'm sure there would be some legal issue with me doing so, but it was enough for a bit of sticker shock. Don't get me wrong; it's not ridiculous, and in terms of time savings, I have to say I think it's worth the money. I just didn't have the money in my budget. Fortunately, they offer a subscription service for educational institutions that spreads out the cost over three years.

We won't be abandoning our Windows infrastructure any time soon, even as we bring more open source subsystems online. So I shelled out the cash. I'll discuss the additional features as I use it more this year. Feel free to talk back below about any goodies you have for synchronizing user accounts with the bodies actually floating around your schools.