The Administration Service uses the configuration database to store configuration data. The configuration data includes definitions of objects specific to Active Roles, assignments of administrative roles and policies, and procedures used to enforce policies. The configuration database is only used to store Active Roles configuration data. It does not store copies of the objects that reside in the managed data sources, nor is it used as an object data cache.
Active Roles uses Microsoft SQL Server to host the configuration database. The replication capabilities of SQL Server facilitate implementation of multiple equivalent configuration databases used by different Administration Services.
Active Roles now supports database configuration on on-premises databases and Azure SQL databases. Azure SQL database variants, such as, Azure SQL database, Azure SQL Managed instance, and Azure SQL Elastic pool can be configured in Active Roles.
The data processing component provides a complete audit trail by creating records in the event log on the computer running the Administration Service. The log shows all actions performed and by whom, including actions that were not permitted. The log entries display the success or failure of each action, as well as which attributes were changed.
Network data sources
Through the Administration Service, Active Roles accesses and controls the object data stored in the following data sources:
- Active Directory domains & forests Provides the directory object information in Active Directory domains.
- Microsoft Exchange servers Provides information about mailboxes maintained by Microsoft Exchange.
- Azure AD Provides information about users in Azure Active Directory.
- Microsoft Office 365 Provides information about users in Office 365.
- Exchange Online Provides information about users in Exchange Online.
- Other data sources Provides information about objects that exist outside of Active Directory. This includes information from corporate databases, such as human resources databases, and information about computer resources, such as services, printers, and network file shares.
Active Roles is designed to help with the use and management of these data sources. Directory administrators can define and enforce business rules and policies to ensure that the data in the managed data sources remains current and accurate.
With Active Roles, you can utilize the information stores from a wide variety of data sources in your network, such as human resource data or inventories. You can use scripting to integrate these important data sources. This reduces the duplication of work, reduces data pollution, and allows for the validation of information that is often stored in more than one database.
Active Roles makes it possible for a custom script to receive control upon a request to perform an administrative operation, such as object creation, modification, or deletion. Custom scripts can be invoked through Policy Objects, which Active Roles uses to enforce corporate rules. For example, you could implement a Policy Object containing a custom script that will receive control whenever Active Roles is requested to create a user object in a certain OU.
The Policy Object could be configured so that Active Roles continues with the user creation only after a certain piece of the script (the pre-create event handler) has successfully executed. In this way, the script prohibits the creation of user objects whose properties violate corporate rules. It prevents the population of object properties with values taken from external data sources, and generates default property values in accordance with the corporate rules.
The Policy Object may also be configured to pass control to another piece of the script (the post-create event handler) immediately after a user object is successfully created. This enables the script to trigger additional actions, required by corporate rules, after the object has been created. For example, it can update external data stores, provision the user with access to resources, and notify that the user object has been created.
Security and administration elements
Active Roles offers three key security and administration elements, which are stored as objects in the Administration Database:
- Access Templates
- Policy Objects
- Managed Units
These elements enable any user or group in Active Directory to be given limited and effectively controlled administrative privileges.
Users and groups that are given administrative permissions in Active Roles are referred to as Trustees. Trustees can be assigned to Managed Units or directory objects and containers.
Trustees do not need special administrative rights within Active Directory. To give Trustees access to Active Directory, Active Roles implements proxy mechanisms that use Access Templates to specify the level of access. When Trustees exercise their access permissions, these mechanisms use Policy Objects to trigger additional actions, such as running integration scripts and validating input data.
When designating a user or group as a Trustee, you must specify the Access Templates that control what the Trustee can do. Permissions granted to a group are extended to all members of that group. To reduce administration time, administrative control should be delegated to groups, rather than to individual users.
To implement policy constraints and automation, you must configure and apply Policy Objects that invoke built-in or custom procedures upon administrative requests. Policy procedures may include running custom scripts to synchronize Active Directory data with other data sources, performing a data validity checkup, and initiating additional administrative operations.