Synchronize user accounts and passwords in a heterogeneous environment

If your company's heterogeneous environment runs various OSs and applications, you spend a lot of time creating and assigning passwords to new user accounts or modifying existing accounts. NetVision's Synchronicity for NT simplifies this task by leveraging the power of Novell Directory Services (NDS) to create a homogeneous user and group account management structure. Synchronicity creates a central repository of user accounts and group relationships that it stores in an NDS database and distributes to your NT systems' SAM databases for user account validation. Synchronicity's central repository gives you one interface through which you can add a new user to your environment or change an existing user's password.

NetVision's tool snaps into NetWare Administrator, giving you instant access to Synchronicity's features. You use NetWare Administrator to manage your user accounts and passwords.

Synchronicity is an event-driven application, which means NT Synchronicity or NetWare modules generate traffic only when an event occurs. No constant communication link between your NT and NetWare servers exists, so the software doesn't flood your network with management traffic.

Installing the product is simple but requires a fundamental understanding of NT and NetWare account management. I installed the software on a Micronics-based dual-Pentium II processor running NT Server 4.0. I was also running a Dell PowerEdge 2300 server running NetWare 4.1. Before you begin installation, log on to your NT and NetWare servers. I used the installation CD-ROM to launch the setup application on the NT server, and the software prompted me with a list of components available for installation. I installed Synchronicity's NT, NetWare 4.1, and GroupWise components. The installation program copied several NetWare loadable modules (NLMs) to my NetWare server. Next, I installed Synchronicity's password-management modules on a Windows 95 test machine. When users change their passwords, these modules send the changes to the NDS database, which in turn distributes the new passwords to other network servers.

To test the software, I used the NetWare Administrator interface on the Win95 test machine. I added a new user by selecting the NT portion of my NDS tree, then clicking the new user icon. I supplied a username and password for the user tonypo, and I saved the user. When I ran User Manager on my NT server, tonypo was in my user list.

To test Synchronicity's ability to pass group information, I used NetWare Administrator to create a new group I called MIS and added tonypo to the MIS group. When I refreshed my User Manager session on my NT server, the MIS group was present and tonypo was an MIS member. Screen 1 shows an example Synchronicity interface in which an NT server is simultaneously running NetWare Administrator and User Manager.

Finally, to test the software's ability to share passwords among different systems, I logged on to the Win95 machine as tonypo and changed my password from infantile to bias. Next, I logged on to the NetWare server from another Win95 system. Synchronicity distributed the password change, so I couldn't use infantile to log on, but the bias password worked.

Synchronicity's cost is attractive for small and large environments because NetVision prices the software per user. You can download a full-featured 30-day trial version from NetVision's Web site to decide whether Synchronicity is the right solution for your environment.

Synchronicity for NT
Contact: NetVision * 801-764-0400
Web: http://www.netvision.com
Price: $14 per user for as many as 15,000 users
System Requirements: Windows NT Server 4.0 or later, Novell NetWare 4.1 or later, TCP/IP on each NT machine running NetWare Administrator or a synchronization service agent, 32-bit NetWare Administrator for NT or Win9x