A Few of My Favorite Things: NetPro DirectoryAnalyzer
Compaq knows a thing or two about troubleshooting large networks. Here are some of the utilities and programs it uses most and likes best for Windows 2000.
NetPro’s DirectoryAnalyzer is an
essential component of the AD administrator’s
toolkit. One of its best features is its enterprise-level
view of the environment. Traditionally, native
NT management tools—and, to a lesser degree, Win2K
tools—have focused on narrow aspects of administration
and haven’t performed well tying together enterprise
management information. DirectoryAnalyzer takes
a high-level approach to monitoring AD, allowing
the administrator to troubleshoot problems generally
beyond the scope of a single system. For example,
DirectoryAnalyzer includes several troubleshooting
tools to test connectivity between sites or DCs,
which can’t be done easily with native tools.
DirectoryAnalyzer can also check for attribute
consistency between DCs.
The figure shows the troubleshooting
tool that tests connectivity between DCs.
screen tells you if your DCs are talking to
each other. (Click image to view larger version.)
DirectoryAnalyzer monitors important
AD services like replication, DNS and the various
Operations Master functions. It also maintains
consistency between DCs, Global Catalogs, domains
DirectoryAnalyzer continually monitors
DCs, polling them regularly for current status
and configuration details.
Most operations take place using
simple configuration panes for domain, naming
context and site alerts. Indicators in the dialog
boxes tell you what the default setting for each
alert is and whether or not the alert is currently
The DirectoryAnalyzer interface is
built on the same framework as FrontPage or Outlook
2000, with the button bar along the left side
and a detail pane that occupies most of the right
side of the application. On the downside, the
current implementation doesn’t follow the standard
MMC framework used for the native Windows administration
tools, and there’s no right-click functionality.
Building the tool on the MMC framework and including
context menus for right-click actions would both
improve and standardize the tool.
Despite those drawbacks, DirectoryAnalyzer
is still a vital tool and should be included in
every enterprise that plans to manage a distributed
Win2K environment effectively.
Jeff A. Dunkelberger, MCSE, MCT,
is a senior consultant from Compaq’s Professional
Services’ Windows and Messaging Platforms Practice.