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Active Directory Migration at AU

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) announces updates in the Microsoft Active Directory (AD) migration project. A de facto industry standard, AD provides authentication, file, and print sharing services. The multiyear initiative will replace Novell Directory, file, and print services with improved offerings from Microsoft.

During this transition many of the daily systems you use like the new portal, wireless (eaglesecure), Blackboard, and SafeConnect have been reconfigured to use AD rather than Novell for authentication; more are being converted on an ongoing basis.

OIT is partnering with the AU technical team to replace older workstations with AD-ready computers, in compliance with the university’s established workstation replacement cycle. These new laptops and desktops have Windows 7 64 bit and more memory installed, and are faster and more secure than Windows XP. Seventeen percent of the workstations on campus now use AD rather than Novell. The transition is scheduled for completion by 2015.

Slight Changes from Novell to AD, Improved User Experience

With Novell, customers log in to a local Windows account and use the Novell client to access network resources.

With AD, the workstation is first joined to the American.edu AD domain. This one-time process allows you to log in to the computer with your AD username and password and access network resources transparently. Then, whenever an AD-aware system (like wireless or SafeConnect) prompts you for authentication, Windows silently logs in on your behalf, which means fewer password prompts.

Benefits of Active Directory

  • Working from home you now need only log in to the VPN, no need to launch the Novell client to get access to your network drives.
  • AD provides better compatibility and an improved user experience for Mac and Linux customers.
  • In the coming months OIT will roll out upgrades to go along with AD including an improved password reset process.

As departments transition to AD, OIT will migrate shared network drives to Windows servers to provide improved reliability and fault tolerance and improved access to shared data across departments.

OIT is also working with WCL and WAMU to integrate their AD services and systems into the American.edu domain.

For questions or more information about the Active Directory migration, contact the OIT Help Desk at 885-2550, helpdesk@american.edu, or instant message AskAmericanUHelp.