Vintela Authentication Services let Windows and Unix play nicely together

Do any of these situations describe your company?

* You have a heterogeneous computing environment that includes a mix of Windows, Unix and Linux systems.
* Because of disparate platforms, you are forced to duplicate your efforts and execute identical identity management tasks on each of the environments.
* You already have or plan to make a significant investment in Microsoft Active Directory (AD) to control access to your Windows-based systems.
* Your company is under pressure to comply with government regulations regarding security and access to systems, applications and data.

If you've been nodding your head, then stay with me for this article. I might have the answer to your prayers.

I'm talking about Vintela Authentication Services (VAS), from Vintela. VAS is an interoperability product that allows the authentication interfaces that are native to Unix and Linux to work with Microsoft Active Directory, thus getting the non-Windows systems to join the AD Domain. All AD users and groups that have been "Unix enabled" can obtain secure access to all Unix/Linux resources using their AD credentials. It is, in essence, the single sign-on (SSO) you've been looking for.

VAS uses industry standards such as Kerberos v5 and LDAP v3 to transparently integrate Unix and Linux environments with Microsoft Windows without the need for proprietary protocols and methodologies. There is no need for synchronization, deployment of additional servers/services, or other multi-tiered approaches. VAS provides seamless integration of Unix/Linux systems with AD in real time by leveraging the standard Unix/Linux APIs like Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAM) and Name Service Switch (NSS). By using these standards, a Unix machine appears in AD just like a Windows machine.

The result is a single "trusted zone" for all your platforms in the AD tool that already manages all your Windows-based desktops and servers. End users, then, have one identity across all platforms, and administrators use one consistent tool to manage the identities. What's more, all user management and authentication occurs in real time without the need for password synchronizers or other repetitive administration tasks. VAS also provides full Network Information System (NIS) compatibility and tools to assist in migrating users and groups from NIS, NIS+, and other Unix user databases.

Southern Company, an Atlanta energy company, deployed VAS in its heterogeneous computing environment. The company brought its 20,000 Windows desktops, 800 Windows servers, and 350 Unix servers into one AD structure. The primary impetus for doing so was to increase security across the systems, but the company ended up saving millions of dollars in reduced help desk, problem resolution and other systems management expenses.

VAS is distributed by Brisbane-based Wedgetail Communications.

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