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AN active directory is a configuration used on Microsoft windows based computers and servers to keep information about networks and domains. Created in 1996, it is primarily used for online information. Always known as AD, it has a variety of used like the ability to give information on objects, assists to arrange the objects for easy access. It also permits access by end users and allows administrators to from up security for directory. It can be described as a hierarchical structure that is broken in three major classes. The resources in AD include hardware such as printers, services for end users like web.

When you are a computer administrator for a big organization, it is easy to update all the end users with new software, files patches by just updating one object. Since each object fits into a set schema and has precise attributes, a network administrator can easily clear someone on a tree or immediately give or deny access to select users for certain applications. It is vital to know that active directories are a great way to organize a large corporation's computers' data network. When active directory misses, most end users would have computers that would require to be updated solely and would not get access to a bigger network where data can be processed and reports can be formed.

Centeris Corp., wash-based startup is a vendor in the Linux ID management space. It intergrates Linux servers into a mixed Microsoft active directory but it still is the biggest hurdle for small and big corporations. Two other competitors for Centeris are Centrify Corp. and Quest Software Inc with the Vintela Authentification Services it has. Centrify Direct Control is largely considered to be better than nothing and it shares numerous features as Centeris these including centralized password management and user privileges  for Linux servers.

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It is very hard for Ubuntu users to avoid the use of Microsoft Active Directories and the only problem or rather issue is synchronizing Ubuntu to comply with the active directory. There are hence numerous solutions for whoever wants to integrate Linux systems within AD atmosphere. There are plans for the future by Ubuntu to introduce active directory, enterprise computing and the future. Centrify offers similar products for AD but unlike Ubuntu, it targets mostly big enterprises and does not view likewise as a straight competitor.

There has been increasing demands for Ubuntu especially on servers though red hat remains the favorite Linux platform for Centrify's customers. Although the numbers somewhat does not point towards that, evidence shows that Ubuntu's market share is now at least same as that of Suse. Centrify has seen increasing use of Ubuntu workstations among Centrify customers especially in mid-size organizations in Europe. Centrify has responded to these increase of popularity by chasing a tight relationship with Canonical. It promised to support Ubuntu server edition 9.14 when it was released in 2009.

Centrify has introduced AD solution made specifically to aid in expanding the company's customer base by making offerings to mid-sizes enterprises. It will endear to small and medium-sized businesses by simplifying the sales procedure as it helps to expose more potential customers outside the large-enterprise market to Centrify. Linux administrators are wary of losing their control to Microsoft service like active directory. While these products are distinctively AD, numerous Unix and Linux security protocols remain available to the customer. The fear is often that Microsoft is vulnerable to target of viruses hence AD having control over their boxes is quite uneasy.

Apple too has released its integration with Active in the manual Integarting Mac OS X with active Directory. It describes precisely how Mac OS X can authenticate on Microsoft servers while utilizing the AD in various circumstances. The manual includes illustrations. The excerpt read ' It is now possible to integrate Mac OS X computers into environments based on MAD(Microsoft's Active Directory).... These other approaches by Mac are increasingly finding popularity among the apple users. Thursby Software Systems also released ADmitMac 4.0, a version of Mac OS X software for incorporating Macs into Active Directory environments. The ADMitMac 4 version has an option to automatically disconnect agfetr a specific period of inactivity. Othe new options added are like ADMitMac Deployment Utility plus the ability to turn off ACL support. One can also set up volumes to mount at startup, choose the position of sysvol.  

When one reverses, windows users to mac OS X Server v.10.3. one must have the Mac OS X server running as an Open Directory Master. The new version of ADmitMac adds some new elements which include full read and write support of NTFS that will keep multiple-forked Mac files as a single file, an AD commander utility to run the Active Directory schema from Mc OS X, Support of the secure NTLMv2 and SMB signing with windows server 2003 needing not the downgrading of security of the server.

With Microsoft lauching the active directory, other operating systems have acted swiftly by adoting the system thus giving Microsoft a run for their money. Ubuntu, Linux, Apple all have applied the system whether via Microsoft or their own ways thus providing a competitive ground.

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