The Management History feature is designed to help promptly investigate what changes were recently made to directory data, as well as when it was done and by whom. As such, this feature is not intended for data change auditing nor is it intended to explore 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 best suits your needs.
You can use the Management History feature to examine changes that were made to directory data via Active Roles. The feature is designed to help you 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 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 actions, 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 you use 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. 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 you increase this setting, do it carefully; otherwise, you may encounter the following problems:
- 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 you join an additional Administration Service 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 gives you a different means for change auditing, change-tracking reports, included with the Active Roles Report Pack. These reports are designed to help 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 only contains events generated by one Administration Service. 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. With the Collector wizard, you can configure and 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 you can build the reports. 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.