• United States

Clear out that junk

Mar 31, 20043 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMicrosoft

* Are you able to see clearly through your directory forest?

After last year’s Directory Experts Conference (put on by NetPro in Ottawa), HP’s Wook Lee became a minor celebrity for his haiku (and senryuu, see “An ode to an identity management problem,” link below), which he used to brighten up his talk on “Active Directory Restore Mode” (without the humor this subject would be guaranteed to put people to sleep). Could he top that this year? Indeed he could, both in subject matter as well as in doggerel.

“Trees and Forests, Roots and Leaves: The Adventures of an Active Directory Forest Ranger,” was Wook’s subject and while the analogy of a directory forest to Smokey the Bear’s domain has been used many times he managed to make it fresh and vibrant.

Your Active Directory Forest is more than a group of trees to Lee; it’s an ecosystem. And just like in any biological ecosystem, you need to strive to maintain balance in your Active Directory ecosystem. You have to be cognizant of the elephants (or 800-pound gorillas) like Exchange that want to take over the forest and wipe out all of your resources by consuming them. But also, you want to avoid seemingly useless (but also endlessly growing) things like Distributed Link Tracking (he compared it to Kudzu – see “The Amazing Story of Kudzu,” and you’ll understand).

Wook drew many analogies to the activities he’s been involved in when Digital Equipment (his original employer) merged into Compaq, which then was (supposedly) subsumed into HP. He talked a lot about the problems that can occur when two different forests, containing many different species, are suddenly cheek by jowl.

The job of an Active Directory manager is a lot like that of a forest ranger. You need to be always on the lookout for potential problems, whether from native species (your users and applications), tourists and visitors (or in traders) and natural disasters (wildfires, floods, etc.).

To end his session, Lee reminded the audience that from the 1920s to the 1950s anyone driving to one of the U.S. national parks was sure to see a series of signs along the road advertising the Burma Shave Company (see for the history of this fascinating advertising medium). These were grouped in a series of five signs each carrying one line of a ditty, such as:

* A whiskery kiss

* For the one You adore

* May not make her mad

* But her face will be sore

* Burma-Shave

Lee, of course, adapted this format to his forest analogy:

* Picking up trash

* Can leave rangers bitter

* Just charge a fine

* Upon those who would litter

* Keep it clean!

And don’t you wish you could fine those who litter your Active Directory forest with useless junk?