A Fitness Tracker for Your Active Directory Health [New Paper]

“How many steps have you taken today?”

People asked me that four or five times the first week I wore my fitness tracker. I thought it was odd at first, but now I think it helps me check my health. Between the tracker and the app, I can monitor and analyze my activity over time.

Of course, “How many steps have you taken today?” is what the polite people ask. Before long, everyone will be used to wearables and the questions will get a lot more personal and, well, nosey:

  • “How many calories have you burned off?”
  • “Isn’t that an awful lot of sleep for one day?”
  • “How much spinach have you had this week?”
  • “Is your fitness tracker helping you lose weight finally?”

I Don’t Expect to Answer Questions Like Those Myself, But I Do Expect to Ask Them In an Active Directory Health Check

Think about it: Your personal health check is one thing, but your AD health check is another. The health of your entire organization (and of your career, for that matter) depends on keeping Active Directory secure and available. The nosier the questions you can ask and the more personal the information you can get back from AD, the better.

How do you translate calories, spinach and sleep into metrics for Active Directory health? Our Chris Ashley goes into that in a new paper called Keeping Active Directory Healthy and Fine-Tuned. Chris describes several areas ripe for monitoring Active Directory:

  • Replication – Keeping domain controllers (DCs) in sync ensures data integrity and contributes to a healthy AD. If you’re in danger of replication failures or even replication slowdowns, you may have bigger problems coming at you.
  • Domain name system (DNS) – AD relies on DNS to locate hosts and services on the network. If DNS sneezes, your Active Directory users get a cold when they try to access servers, file shares, printers and other resources.
  • Group Policy – You can try to manage your DCs without Group Policies, but you and your AD will get sick before you know it. The health of Active Directory depends on smooth, centralized management of DCs, member servers and desktops.
  • Site topology – Slow network? Maybe your DNS servers aren’t located appropriately on your network for traffic load, replication and fault tolerance. Be sure that sites are contacting the nearest DC to prevent slow logon times and slow access to email.
  • Domain controllers – AD health depends on knowing how many DCs (physical and virtual) you have, where they are and how they are synchronized.

Active Directory Monitoring is About More Than AD Health Checks; It’s About the Moving Parts All Over Your Network

Microsoft provides utilities like dcdiag, repadmin, GPOtool.exe and Active Directory Replication Status Tool to give you a picture of all of those moving parts and let you troubleshoot them. The utilities ask plenty of nosey questions, but the answers provide snapshots rather than the history and log data for properly monitoring and diagnosing AD.

We’ve released Active Administrator for Active Directory Health. Like a fitness tracker for your network, it monitors the health of domain controllers, Group Policy, DNS and site topology to show you what’s happening on your network and affecting the performance of your AD.

Active Administrator for Active Directory Health monitors Active Directory health and automates all the work you would have to go through running one-off utilities here and there around your network. It gives you a high-level view and alerts you to emerging problems before your AD gets sick, your network becomes unstable and your users start losing productive time.

Read our new paper, Keeping Active Directory Healthy and Fine-Tuned, for a deeper dive into the parts of your network that affect AD health. Come up with the nosiest questions you can.

And keep taking as many steps a day as you can.