Quest and Unix-Active Directory Integration: An Overview

Christopher Tozzi, Contributing Editor

March 28, 2011

3 Min Read
Quest and Unix-Active Directory Integration: An Overview

We’ve had a lot of coverage lately of Centrify and Likewise, two big names in the channel for Unix-Active Directory integration. But we’ve yet to write much about Quest, another major player, though one with a somewhat different focus. Lest we be accused of favoritism — or, worse, of neglecting a big part of the picture — here are some of the highlights of Quest’s offerings in the AD market.

For starters — and because life is best lived in the past — some history: Quest’s direct entry into the AD-integration channel dates to July 2005, when it acquired Vintela. Back then, Quest, which was founded in 1987, was already deeply involved in the AD and identity-management market, but the Vintela acquisition provided it with a solid base for extending its focus to include AD solutions for Unix platforms.

Since 2005, the channel has evolved in significant ways. For one, other commercial vendors such as Likewise and Centrify have emerged with competing solutions. At the same time, the mandate for seamless integration of Linux, OS X and Unix machines with the Active Directory has grown ever more important, as the heterogeneity of computing environments has increased and as Active Directory has become a must-have for organizations of virtually all sizes.

What’s Different About Quest

Quest’s AD-integration solutions provide the same core functionality as other products currently on the market. The most obvious factor setting Quest apart, however, is the company’s larger size, longer history and broader business front.

Centrify and Likewise, at least for the time being, are focused relatively exclusively on the Unix-AD channel. That may change in the future, especially as the advent of the cloud gives rise to novel opportunities for extensions and integrations in this channel (and on that note, I’ve been told to keep my eyes open for interesting new cloud-focused identity-management applications from both of these organizations).

For now, however, Quest’s profile remains unquestionably broader. The company offers an extensive range of Windows management tools, including but not limited to identity and access-control solutions, of which the AD-integration software for Unix machines is but one component.

This wider focus means different sorts of solutions for customers. Quest aims to leverage its large family of identity-management solutions to position itself as a “one-stop shop,” offering AD-integration as well as a host of other products for related needs. Ultimately, this broader approach amounts to a different experience.

Whether this broader profile is a good or bad thing can be determined only on the basis of the customer’s specific agenda. Bigger isn’t always better, but it is different, and in this respect, at least, it’s readily apparent what distinguishes Quest from other movers in this channel.

That said, of course, there’s much more to Quest than its size and history. Stay tuned for a more specific look at some of its particular products in the AD channel, and how they compare to other offerings.

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About the Author(s)

Christopher Tozzi

Contributing Editor

Christopher Tozzi started covering the channel for The VAR Guy on a freelance basis in 2008, with an emphasis on open source, Linux, virtualization, SDN, containers, data storage and related topics. He also teaches history at a major university in Washington, D.C. He occasionally combines these interests by writing about the history of software. His book on this topic, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” is forthcoming with MIT Press.

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