Active Directory allows groups (herein called basic groups) to include members statically—select objects and add them to groups. Active Roles provides a flexible, rules-based mechanism for populating groups. Once set up, the process automatically adds and removes members from groups.
Active Roles provides rules-based groups called dynamic groups. Membership rules determine whether an object is a member of a dynamic group. A membership rule may take a form of search query, object static inclusion and exclusion rule, and group member inclusion and exclusion rule. As the environment changes, the memberships of objects in dynamic groups automatically change to adapt to the new environment.
Active Roles dynamic groups reduce the cost of maintaining lists and groups, while increasing the accuracy and reliability of this maintenance. Furthermore, it automatically keeps distribution lists and security groups up to date, eliminating the need to add and remove members manually.
To automate the maintenance of group membership lists, dynamic groups provide the following features:
- Rules-based mechanism that automatically adds and removes objects from groups whenever object attributes change in Active Directory.
- Flexible membership criteria that enable both query-based and static population of groups.
In the Active Roles console, dynamic groups are marked with the following icon:
When you convert a basic group to a dynamic group, the group loses all members that were added to the group when it was a basic group. This is because members of a dynamic group can be defined only by membership rules.
When you convert a dynamic group to a basic group, the group retains all its members included due to the membership rules, and loses the membership rules only.
When a member of a dynamic group, such as a user or another group, is deprovisioned, the dynamic group is automatically updated to remove that member. Hence, deprovisioning a user or group removes that user or group from all dynamic groups. This behavior is by design.
When you configure a dynamic group, you choose containers that hold the objects you want to be included or excluded from the group. For example, you could configure a dynamic group to include all users held in a particular Organizational Unit that meet certain conditions. These parent containers of dynamic group members can be selected from any domains registered with Active Roles. Depending upon the location of the members’ parent container, the dynamic group can include objects from domains other than the domain in which the group resides (external domains).
Active Directory has restrictions regarding the types of groups that can have members from external domains, and the types of groups that can have membership in other groups. All these restrictions apply to dynamic groups. Thus, Active Roles disregards membership rules that would add external domain users to a global group. With these natural restrictions, you can configure membership rules for a dynamic group to have members from any domains that are registered with Active Roles.
Whether dynamic groups can have external members depends upon the Dynamic Groups policy. If you want dynamic groups to include objects from external domains, ensure that the Enable cross-domain membership policy option is selected (see Dynamic groups policy options).
The behavior of dynamic groups is defined by the policy held in the build-in Policy Object called “Dynamic Groups.” The policy ensures that any changes made to a dynamic group with any other tool used to manage Active Directory will be discarded. The Active Roles group membership lists are determined by membership rules.
To view or modify the policy, display the Properties dialog box for the Built-in Policy - Dynamic Groups Policy Object (located in container Configuration/Policies/Administration/Builtin), go to the Policies tab, select the policy, and click View/Edit. This displays the Policy Properties dialog box.
On the Policy Settings tab in the Policy Properties dialog box, you can select the following options:
Enable cross-domain membership When selected, this option enables dynamic groups to have members from external domains. When cleared, it restricts the membership of each dynamic group to the objects from the domain in which the group resides.
NOTE: Enabling cross-domain membership adds an increased load to the Dynamic Group and Group Family processing. If you want to enable cross-domain membership only on a small subset of groups, enable the virtual attribute edsvaDGCrossDomainMembershipEnabled on those groups.
To enable the virtual attribute edsvaDGCrossDomainMembershipEnabled on a group, set its value to TRUE.
To disable the virtual attribute (and cross-domain membership) on a group, either set the value to FALSE or clear the value.
Receive directory changes from DirSync control Ensures that the policy correctly populates membership lists regardless of what tools are used to manage Active Directory. When this check box is not selected, some rules-based membership lists may be incompatible with membership rules. In this case, the policy only reapplies membership rules when directory changes are made by using Active Roles.
Include only mailbox-enabled users in dynamic distribution groups Prevents the policy from adding users without Exchange mailbox to the distribution groups configured as Dynamic Groups.
Add this message to the Notes field for each dynamic group Adds the message text to the Notes property of every dynamic group. (The Notes property is displayed in the group's Properties > General tab.)
Selecting the option that enables cross-domain membership should be considered a long-term commitment to scenarios where members of a dynamic group may reside in domains other than the domain of the dynamic group—external domains. Once you have enabled cross-domain membership, you can configure dynamic groups to include or exclude objects from any domains registered with Active Roles. However, if you later decide to un-select this policy option, the dynamic groups that were configured to include or exclude objects from external domains will cease to function. You will have to inspect and, if needed, reconfigure your existing dynamic groups to ensure that the membership rules of each dynamic group match only objects from the domain of the dynamic group itself.