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About Active Directory

Overview

As of July 1, 2006, the central Active Directory service has been implemented and is ready for collegiate units and departments to begin using. The service includes departmental and individual file storage at no cost to the unit. The basic service includes OIT-Security approved policies, management distribution to departmental administrators, Kerberos authentication using UofMN Central servers, 20-30 day Shadow Copy backups where users can restore their data if accidentally deleted or edited, 45-day disaster backup, and 24x7x52 infrastructure monitoring. Additional services, including software distribution via SMS is available. Roaming profiles and folder redirection is also possible.

Active Directory Team

The services for Active Directory are a joint effort coming from various units within OIT. Currently services are being provided by the following units:

Design, Implementations, and Support: OIT/Academic Computing (AC)
Server Maintenance and Monitoring: OIT/Operations and Infrastructure Architecture (OIA)
SAN File Storage: OIT/University Data Management Services (UDMS)

There are over two dozen units using Active Directory at the start of the Spring 2009 term. With others slatted to join at various points during the school year.

Structure

A unit that wants to use Active Directory will be organized into what is called an "Organizational Unit." Local IT staff administrators will be responsible for managing the unitís resources in Active directory. They are known as "Organizational Unit Administrators" or OUAs. Support is available to the OUA through UMNAD, a group within OIT/AC.

End users in departments that have an OUA will receive support through their unitís support mechanism. AD users in units that do not have an OUA will contact 612-301-HELP for assistance.

Training

OIT has contracted with New Horizons to provide directed training to the departmental technical people who will be administering their unitís use of Active Directory. These training opportunities are being offered periodically on the Twin Cities campus. Check the Training link UMNAD website.

The Road Ahead

Within the next year the Active Directory team hopes to offer the following advanced services:

  • Application Virtualization
  • Full "Windows-like" integration for clients running Mac OS X, Linux, and other Unix variants via a third-party client
  • Software deployment and patching to Mac OS X, Linux, and other Unix variants
  • Advanced management and reporting tools
  • Greater load balancing, high availability, failover capacity spread over all four U of M Twin Cities campuses

Current Participants

Aurora Center, Academic Support Resources, Athletics, Audits, College of Biological Sciences, College of Continuing Education, College of Design, College of Education and Human Development, College of Food, Agriculture and Nutrition Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, Carlson School of Management, Center for Transportation Studies, Extension Services, Graduate School, Humphrey Institute, Institute of Technology, Law, Library, Office of Budget and Finance, Office of Human Resources, Office of Investments and Banking, Office of Information Technology, Office of Student Affairs, Office of Vice President for Research, School of Public Health, UM-Crookston, UM-Rochester, University Relations, and University Services.

When your unit is ready to begin looking at Active Directory as a solution to collegiate and departmental file storage and administration needs, please visit the Sign-Up page to begin the application process.

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