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- Extending Active Directory for Mac OS X clients;
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Expand single sign-on SSO and file sharing, and control access to non-Windows systems. By extending Group Policy to non-Windows platforms, BeyondTrust provides centralized configuration management, reducing the risk and complexity of managing a heterogeneous environment.
Allows users to log onto Unix, Linux, or Mac systems using their Active Directory AD usernames and passwords, without requiring additional infrastructure or password synchronization. Enables IT to leverage AD group membership to centrally control server and workstation access. Facilitates migration from multiple authentication mechanisms, identities, and directories to a single Active Directory-based infrastructure for all systems and users.
This centralizes control and speeds user onboarding and off boarding. If the majority of your users are already defined in an Active Directory node, or you already have a significant investment in your Active Directory infrastructure, you may decide to extend your Active Directory schema to provide support for attributes and object classes specifically for Apple objects.
Administrators had been reluctant to extend the Active Directory schema because it was impossible to reverse a change in versions of Windows Server prior to Windows Server If your Active Directory domain controllers are running Windows Server or later, however, this is no longer as much of an issue, because you can make schema changes inactive. Also impressive: It succeeds without modifying the Active Directory schema.
If you want to take full advantage of Apples client management architecture, the best solution is to implement Mac OS X Server in your Active Directory environment. They also share three matching attributes: username, password and home directory.
Modifying the Active Directory Schema to Support Mac Systems
This can make creating a fully integrated infrastructure a very big challenge because it requires extending the schema of one or both platforms. There is a method of offering partial Mac client management and access to other Mac OS X Server services under Active Directory that doesnt require schema modification. The approach is twofold.
- How to Extend Active Directory® Identities to macOS.
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Second, create a directory search path on Mac servers and clients that searches both the Active Directory domain and an Open Directory domain hosted by one or more Mac servers. This configuration allows you to create computer lists in the Open Directory domain that contain Mac computer accounts from Active Directory. Management settings can then be enforced on those computer lists using Mac OS X Servers Workgroup Manager with no further configuration.
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The same approach can be extended to groups of users by creating group accounts in the Open Directory domain and populating them with user accounts from Active Directory. It can function as a temporary solution if you are planning to extend the schema but require an immediate solution while you do so. Its security options rely on a Microsoft user authentication module being installed on Mac clients, a version of which was never developed for Mac OS X.
Extending Active Directory for Mac OS X clients
As such, the only way to support Mac OS X access to SFM shares and print queues is by using clear text passwords or the limited encryption of an older version of the AppleShare protocol. SFM also suffers from performance issues because of its design and the fact that it relies on the outdated AppleTalk protocol. These products offer enhanced security options but they also offer one other feature that can be important for some Mac users.
When working with SMB-mounted drives, Mac OS X typically performs a translation of the resource fork into a separate file to work around this issue. For most applications, this functions very well. However, some applications encounter problems with this approach.
In those situations, having an AFP server solution can result in a more seamless workflow. Ryan Faas is a freelance writer and technology consultant specializing in Mac and multiplatform network issues. In addition to writing for Computerworld , he is a frequent contributor to InformIT. Ryan Faas, a contributing writer for Computerworld, is a technology journalist and author who has been writing about Apple, business and enterprise IT topics, and the mobile industry for over a decade.
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