For the greater part of the past 5 years I’ve worked mostly with Novell’s eDirectory and related services. I thought it was a great combination but I’m starting to realize how much better Active Directory is.
Now, as I get settled into my new position at my new company I’ve started to realize how much I actually missed working with Active Directory.
In the past I thought that eDirectory and NetWare was the way to go. It seemed reliable, fast, and easy to administer. For the most part I guess it was but Active Directory works that much better.
In my old environment we had NetWare servers, eDirectory for authentication and user related stuff, and GroupWise email. My new company uses Windows servers, Active Directory and Outlook/Exchange for email.
One of my main complaints about Novell was that it required client side software to connect to the services (Novell Client) where as Windows already has a built in client for Active Directory logins (I don’t care about Client Services for NetWare). What is the point of using a system that requires extra overhead of another client when there is already one built in. Not to mention the endless problems that arise because of NDPS/iPrint, NMAS, NICI etc that have to also be installed for the use of a lot of NetWare/eDir services.
With NetWare based services you have to use three different tools to administer everything, ConsoleONE, Netware Administrator and iManager just to accomplish simple tasks. And most of the time they never work right to begin with. With Active Directory most of it is done in the Active Directory Users and Computers console.
Working with printers in NetWare can be a nightmare. You have to manage the Broker, Manager, and printer agents. In Windows you just set up the printer and connect it to the print server (usually by creating an IP printer port on a dedicated print server). There’s not as many components to deal with or to fail in a Windows environment.
Those are just a few things, I could probably go on for quite a while about all the short falls of NetWare but I won’t. I’m quite happy re-learning all of the things associated with Windows and Active Directory. The one thing that makes Windows so much easier to work with is Remote Desktop. It’s much easier working in a GUI session on a Windows machine than it is to muddle through the NetWare console and it’s text based interface.
I’m not saying that NetWare and eDirectory is all bad but now that I’ve re-experienced a Windows environment I’m hard pressed to find a lot of good to say. Maybe it’s because I’m enjoying the challenge and the new environment but I suspect these feelings won’t go away anytime soon.