Generally speaking, there are three ways for a product to be profiled here in this newsletter: the product is something I've tried and am familiar with; it's something that a trusted colleague is enthusiastic about; or it's a third party product that Microsoft uses in a production environment. I'm especially high on this latter group.While the sort of thing I like to use simply reflects the (some might say quirky) way I operate, and while some of my so-called "trusted" colleagues can be swayed by flashing lights (or loud music, come to that), I'm always impressed when some unit at Microsoft has the courage to choose outside services and applications. After all, doesn't Microsoft have a product for every niche?This time, it's MSN (formerly known as Microsoft Network) that's reaching outside the Redmond family to acquire management applications. Specifically, MSN has licensed Aelita's Enterprise Directory Manager to help get a handle on its multi-domain Active Directory environment. That's right, Active Directory - not some obscure system, but one of the mainstays of any Windows network. It's also a system that's key to the operation of MSN, which needs to track many thousands of members, preferences, profiles, charges and more. And MSN almost certainly has a bigger Active Directory installation than most other enterprises based on a Windows server system.When MSN's managers decided they needed to go beyond Microsoft's own tools for Active Directory, they conducted a series of tests on multiple products. Enterprise Directory Manager was the one that came out on top in the evaluation. While I don't expect that anyone from MSN would disparage Microsoft's own products, Lisa Gurry, director for MSN at Microsoft, was quoted as saying that the Aelita product's features "... make Enterprise Directory Manager the appropriate choice for our specific needs." (https:\/\/www.aelita.com\/newsroom\/PressReleases\/?id=20040209_001) For someone who has just gone outside her own company to purchase what might be termed a competing product, that's unfettered praise.Enterprise Directory Manager's strengths are in security, data integrity and management. These things are probably important to you and your organization. Microsoft's MSN execs thought they were important enough considerations that it was worth spending money to get the necessary tools. You should investigate that same solution. It may well be that Enterprise Directory Manager is overkill for your installation, but maybe not. Read all the details at https:\/\/www.aelita.com\/products\/enterprisedirectorymanager\/ then - if it looks like a possibility for your network - request a free evaluation. Then tell me what you think.