A Review of Softerra’s Adaxes AD Automation Software

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With the rise of ad automation software and internet marketing, there has been a significant increase in demand for skilled information technology professionals. With this increased demand comes an abundance of job opportunities. The most well-known name in AD Automation Software is Softerra’s Adaxes product line. In this review, I’ll provide insight into what sets Softerra apart from their competitors as well as how it compares to similar products on the market today.,

Adaxes is a software that automates the process of managing user and device access. The alternative to this software is Softerra’s AD Automation Software. This article reviews both software tools and their features.

A Review of Softerra's Adaxes AD Automation Software

Full disclosure: Softerra, the inventor of Adaxes, sponsored this content.

In the vast majority of enterprises, Active Directory (AD) has been an essential piece of functionality. For over 16 years, AD has given us with single sign-on capabilities.

Because AD is so widely used, administrators have a lot of expertise with it. They understand that AD is a difficult system to handle. Everyone in the company is reliant on AD.

It’s a key system that, if not properly maintained, may quickly devolve into an organizational disaster. This is where a tool like Softerra’s Adaxes may help. I got the opportunity to evaluate this product, and after over ten years of managing AD, it’s the solution I wish I’d had years ago.

Adaxes is a tool that seeks to assist almost every user in a company with AD management. It is more than just an AD administration tool for admins. Adaxes also includes a user interface for managing their own accounts, help desk agents to assist with account administration, and an administrator console, as you would expect from an AD management package.

Adaxes has three logical components: a self-service site for users and non-administrators to manage their own accounts or help with other account management, an administrative interface where practically every aspect of AD can be automated, and a general AD management solution. All three components work together to provide a full AD administration and automation solution.

Installation

To begin using Adaxes, you must first download and install the software. The installation is simple and behaves as you’d expect from a conventional MSI-based installer. However, keep in mind that the installer requires.NET 3.5, which is not installed by default. You must also be logged in as a domain user to utilize the installer. I attempted to install it as the domain administrator, but it failed.

A server component and an administrative console are included in the package. Although the server component may be installed on the same system, it is advised that the management interface be installed on your workstation.

Softerra Adaxes InstallationSofterra Adaxes Installation

On a Windows Server 2012 R2 server in my lab, I’ve installed the Adaxes Service. On a Windows 8.1 computer in the same domain, I installed the Service Administration Console and PowerShell Module for AD.

When I initially opened the admin portal, I was pleasantly delighted to discover that it recognized the server where I had installed Adaxes Service. I then carefully followed all of the needed post-installation processes, even though I didn’t have much to do since I was just dealing with one domain.

Adaxes post-installation proceduresAdaxes post-installation procedures

I was ready to start once I had the product installed. I’m not going to discuss a few of Adaxes’ components, the self-service portal and the AD administration component, since my major emphasis is on automation. I can’t reasonably examine both of these components in the depth they deserve since there’s so much to each of them. I recommend visiting their product information website for additional details on those characteristics.

In this post, I’ll show you how Adaxes’ AD automation tools may help you and your company save time, keep AD organized, and standardize your AD administration operations.

Business Procedures

First, I’d like to cover Business Procedures in Adaxes. When shown the demo of the product the concept that I was really interested in was Business Procedures. In Adaxes-speak, Business Procedures are like automation workflows complete with triggers, conditional logic and actions of all kinds. Adaxes has the ability, through Business Procedures, to not only automate various things with AD but can tie into many other things like user home folder creation, creating Exchange mailboxes, provisioning accounts in Office 365 and even running PowerShell scripts! All of these actions are completely customizable based on a number of conditions.

Business Procedures in AdaxesBusiness Procedures in Adaxes

New user provisioning is a procedure that I’m sure many of you are acquainted with. It’s not enough to create an AD account for a user. To onboard a new employee, a variety of procedures must be followed. This is a compelling argument to construct a business rule.

I work best from examples or an existing template. I found it’s much easier to learn something this way. I was easily able to pick up the concept of Business Procedures due to an existing rule called After User Creation that was provided out of the box.

I decided to make my own business rule as a test. When a female employee marries, her last name changes, and I’ve had to update that name in a variety of locations during my career. I wanted to put this to the test using Adaxes to see how tough it was. To do this, I wanted to develop a business rule that altered her home folder name and username if just her last name was changed.

Although the procedure was simple and didn’t need a PowerShell script, I was curious in how Adaxes used PowerShell. To change the user’s home folder, I chose to utilize PowerShell.

When I selected the PowerShell script action in the business rule wizard, I was greeted with a built-in PowerShell editor that had syntax highlighting and rudimentary Intellisense tools. Wow! I was also able to simply enter Adaxes-specific variables, as you can see below where I’m using the user’s existing home directory.

I’ve never seen a product with better PowerShell support. It has logging features as well as mechanisms for performing Adaxes-specific operations from inside your script. PowerShell support gets an A+.

Adaxes has a PowerShell script editor.Adaxes has a PowerShell script editor.

After I set up the business rule, I was able to change the last name using Adaxes’ console tree’s built-in AD administration node. When I did, I saw that the Display Name had changed to match the last name change, and that the name of the home folder had also changed. That’s fantastic!

Tasks Scheduled

Another topic I wanted to focus on was Adaxes’ Tasks Scheduled. Tasks Scheduled in Adaxes are exactly like Windows Tasks Scheduled only that they run Adaxes actions. Tasks Scheduled are similar to Business Procedures in that they allow you to set a near unlimited amount of conditions to check for various things and then take action on something. However, instead of being triggered on a particular action, Tasks Scheduled are triggered on a time.

Tasks Scheduled in AdaxesTasks Scheduled in Adaxes

The software contains a few useful built-in Tasks Scheduled that show off its ability. One that caught my eye was the Inactive User Deleter task.

Built-in Tasks ScheduledBuilt-in Tasks Scheduled

Stale AD accounts are common in enterprises, particularly in big organizations. I’ve spent several hours developing powerful PowerShell scripts to detect and handle these accounts. You may simply tweak a couple of the activities in this one scheduled job in Adaxes to meet your requirements and be done!

Adaxes also features a built-in approval procedure. This implies that if it’s going to do anything detrimental, such as deleting a user account, you may give it your consent. This then sends an email to a manager, for example, to confirm that the account has to be terminated, and only after confirmation will the account be deactivated. Scripting this in PowerShell would be a headache!

Adaxes in My Opinion

“Wow, this device does a LOT of things,” I thought when I first saw it. The number of bells and whistles on this device originally overwhelmed me.

Every new panel presented you with a variety of buttons and levers to manipulate the behavior of that function. This is certainly a mature product with a great deal of consideration put into every element.

This is wonderful for flexibility and ensuring that the user can do almost whatever they want, but it comes at the expense of simplicity. It was simple to set up the product. I didn’t have any serious problems.

Although all of the choices and settings were self-explanatory, I couldn’t help but believe that there must be a better way to put everything into a straightforward technique. Which one would you prefer? A comprehensive, feature-rich solution that accomplishes all you need at the expense of a longer learning curve, or a simpler, easier-to-learn one with fewer features? I’d go with the first option.

This is an incredible product. The level of attention to detail is incredible. The fact that they brought in a beautiful PowerShell script editor shows that they don’t see PowerShell as a rival like some other automation tools, but rather as a supplement to help their clients complete the final mile of automation.

If you’re an Active Directory administrator, I strongly advise you to try Adaxes.