Understanding Management History
The Management History feature provides information on who did what and when it was done with regard to the Active Directory management tasks performed using Active Roles.
This feature provides a clear log, documenting the changes that have been made to a given object, such as a user or group object. The log includes entries regarding actions performed, success or failure of the actions, as well as which attributes were changed.
The Management History feature can be used to examine:
- Change History Information on changes that were made to directory data via Active Roles.
- User Activity Information on management actions that were performed by a given user.
Both Change History and User Activity use the same source of information—the Management History log, also referred to as the Change Tracking log. For information on the configuration settings of the Change Tracking log, see the Management History configuration section.
Active Roles also includes reports to examine management history by collecting and analysing event log records. For more information on reports, see the Active Roles Reporting section. However, the process of retrieving and consolidating records from the event log may be time-consuming and inefficient.
NOTE: You must import the Management History from the old version after an upgrade in order to perform Deprovisioning operations and Undo Temporal Group operations.
Considerations and Best practices
The Management History feature (also known as Change History or Change Tracking) is designed to help investigate promptly what changes were recently made to directory data, as well as when it was done and by whom. However, this feature does not provide for data change auditing exploring large volumes of data changes that occurred during a long period of time. For this reason, in addition to the Management History feature, Active Roles provides a suite of reports for change tracking and auditing, which is part of the Active Roles Report Pack. Each of these options, Management History and Report Pack, has its own advantages and limitations. Follow the recommendations in this section to choose the one that is best suited.
The Management History feature can be used to examine changes that were made to directory data via Active Roles. The feature is designed to help answer the following typical questions:
- Who made the most recent changes to a given user or group object?
- Who modified a given user or group object during the last X days?
- What changes were made to a given user object last night (yesterday, the day before)?
- Have any planned modifications of a given user or group object actually been performed?
- What objects did a given delegated administrator modify during the last X days?
Management History can be accessed instantly whenever an investigation is required or troubleshoot a problem that results from inappropriate modifications of directory data. Management History includes a dedicated repository to store information about data changes, referred to as the Change Tracking log, and GUI to retrieve and display information from that repository. No additional tasks, such as collecting or consolidating information, are required to build Management History results. However, the advantages of the Management History feature also entail some limitations. Before using the Management History feature, consider the following recommended best practices and limitations of using this feature. The main factor to consider is the size of the Change Tracking log. To ensure real-time update of the log on all Administration Services, the log is normally stored in the Active Roles configuration database, but can be separated into its own database if required. This imposes some limitations on the log size. By default, the Change Tracking log is configured to store information about changes that occurred within last 30 days. If the setting is increased, do so carefully; otherwise, the following problems may be encountered:
- Excessive increase in the log size significantly increases the time required to build and display Change History and User Activity results.
- As the log size grows, so does the size of the configuration database. This considerably increases the time required to back up and restore the database, and causes high network traffic replicating the database when an additional Administration Service is joined to Active Roles replication.
- The GUI is not suitable to represent large volumes of Management History results in a manageable fashion. Since there is no filtering or paging capabilities, it may be difficult to sort through the results.
To address these limitations, Active Roles provides different means for change auditing, change-tracking reports, included with the Active Roles Report Pack. These reports are designed to answer the following questions:
- What management tasks were performed on a given object within a certain period of time?
- What management tasks were performed on a given object during the object’s entire life time?
- When was a certain attribute of a given object modified?
Change-tracking reports are based on data collected from event logs. A separate log is stored on each computer running the Administration Service, and each log contains events generated by one Administration Service only. Therefore, to use reports, the events from all event logs need to be consolidated to form a complete audit trail. The process of consolidating events, referred to as the data collection process, is performed by a separate Active Roles component—Collector. The Collector wizard can be configured to execute data collection jobs, and schedule them to run on a regular basis. The main limitation of change-tracking reports is the fact that the information needs to be collected and consolidated in a separate database before the reports can be built. The data collection process exhibits the following disadvantages:
- Collecting data may be a very lengthy operation and the database size may grow unacceptable when collecting all events that occurred within a long period of time in a large environment.
- Collecting data is impossible over slow WAN links. This limitation is inherent to the Active Roles component intended to collect data for reporting.
Management History configuration
The configuration of Management History includes the following elements:
- Change-tracking Policy Builds the data pertinent to history of changes made to directory objects, and specifies what changes are to be included in the reports on change history and user activity.
- Change Tracking Log Configuration Specifies how many change requests are to be stored in the log.
- Replication of Management History Data Specifies whether to synchronize Management History data between Administration Services that use different databases.
Management History is being synchronized, the Active Roles service is unavailable:
Management History Wizard:
The Management History Migration Wizard was designed for a "one-to-one" database migration for an Active Roles upgrade. It was designed to speed up the upgrade process as the history migration can be quite lengthy - sometimes in excess of 25 hours (depending on history and environment).
The tool has never been tested in migrating several Management History databases to one. This type of scenario is not supported.
However, the tool can be re-run several times from the same source database in this upgrade scenario. The import for the Management History database is a Merge import and adds any changes to the target Active Roles database.
NOTE: The Configuration database import functionality performs a Replace action. This operation overwrites current settings.
Active Roles stores its configuration data in the Configuration database in SQL. It is recommended to backup Configuration and Management History databases prior to the upgrade.
For more information on upgrade paths, refer to the knowledge base article https://support.oneidentity.com/kb/111679.
Active Roles 7.0 introduced the Configuration Center, which provides a simple method for changing or updating the Active Roles service account.