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Active Directory Topology Diagrammer

Thursday, May 17, 2018 - Posted by Keith A. Smith, in Automation, Microsoft


Have you ever wondered…what does our Active Directory structure really look like? Do you want to automate the process of creating a diagram of Active Directory OU? As described on Microsoft’s download page for Active Directory Topology Diagrammer:
The Microsoft Active Directory Topology Diagrammer reads an Active Directory configuration using LDAP, and then automatically generates a Visio diagram of your Active Directory and /or your Exchange Server topology. The diagrams may include domains, sites, servers, organizational units, DFS-R, administrative groups, routing groups and connectors and can be changed manually in Visio if needed.

If you need to create Active Directory drawings for Visio, then this is the utility that is going to do it for you in really detailed fashion.

You Don’t Create the Drawings From Inside Visio

Previous versions of Visio made connections into different data sources. For instance, you could ping networks and connect up to Active Directory. Visio 2016 does not connect up to Active Directory directly, and the Active Directory Topology Diagrammer does not operate from inside Visio.

After downloading the AD Diagrammer, you run it independently. You actually don’t even need Visio on your machine unless you want to edit the diagrams. If you just want to view them, you can just use the Visio Viewer, or upload them to a SharePoint site with Visio Services enabled.

Running the Active Directory Topology Diagrammer

To create your Active Directory diagrams, start the AD Topology Diagrammer and provide it with the domain name in the Global Catalog Server / DNS Domain Name section of the main window. The tabs let you specify which parts of the directory information you want to diagram. You can also choose to update the drawings that are already there or to create new drawings. You can also choose whether or not to diagram the trusted domains, or just provide the details for the trusts. Choose whether you want your diagram to include user counts for each domain diagrammed.

For OU options, you can limit the number of levels to search in an OU and you can also include the names of any GPOs that are applied to an OU.

Options that you can set in the Sites tab let you decide if you want site connections listed, including empty sites, and whether or not to include subnet information in the AD diagrams being created. You can also specify whether or not to include all possible site connections for cases where the sites have more than 2 connections.

The Exchange tab allows the utility to connect into your Exchange Server to diagram the message connectors, as well as options like counting the number of mailboxes per server and overwriting the Routing Group information with AD Sites instead.

There’s only one options for diagramming the application partition, and that’s whether or not to diagram it! Make your choice and you’re done with this tab.

Likewise, you only need to set whether or not to include the DFS Replication settings for the DFS-R tab. There are no other options available for this section.
Finally, you can choose to diagram the servers in the AD Structure:

Options for the Server diagramming include whether to include the OS version that the server is running and whether to include the fully qualified domain name. If you’re mapping multiple domains, it may be helpful to color code them based on what domain they’re in.

Set the File Output Options and You’re Ready To Diagram

In the Options menu, you can modify the location of the diagrams. You can specify different locations for each file that’s going to be created for you.

There are also log files that are created for the AD Export data and any debug info for the Application.

This is a really awesome tool and I hope you find it useful. Happy AD Topo Diagramming Big smile


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Automate everything!!! with less code

Wednesday, June 3, 2015 - Posted by Keith A. Smith, in Automation

I have been writing scripts (e.g. vbsscipt,BATCH,Powershell,BASH,etc) to automate various redundant tasks over the past decade. A  few years ago I discovered a software called winautomation, I never got a chance to put it through its paces....until recently. I needed to have some sql backups moved from one location to another, this had to take place on a daily basis. In the past I would have wrote a powershell script or BATCH file to handle this, then use the task scheduler to run the script at the needed time. Instead I decided to give winautomation a shot at this, I downloaded the trial version & installed it on the box I needed the tasks to run. After that I opened up the console and I noticed so many available actions sorted by category (e.g. system actions - run a application,etc conditional statements,loops) and the list goes on. I created a job then inserted a move files action, next I put in the source and destination for the transfer. In the winautomation world it looks like

I ran this job and it worked!!! which was great. Now I wanted to add a house cleaning task which was I wanted to only retain 30days of data in the destination, to this I wrote a powershell script to do this for now, {code}Get-ChildItem -Path "driveletter:\" -Recurse | Where-Object LastWriteTIme -LT (Get-Date).AddDays(-30) | Remove-Item {/code} and saved it. Now the really cool thing I saw is that it has the ability to record mouse & keystrokes via a macro recorder, I figured I would try the next phase of this with the macro recorder.  I started the macro recorder and proceeded to open powershell, then I did cd / cd folderlocation followed by .\remove30dayoldfile.ps1 finally ctrl+alt+s to stop the macro recording.  The job actions resulted in 2 line entries

With all of this in a single job now I save then run it. The result ends up being exactly what I wanted, to finish it off I added a schedule trigger so it can run at the time & date that I needed and lastly a send email notification
once the schedule trigger was complete. So far this has been working great, I will be purchasing this because it will be a huge time saver to automate certain task very easily instead of writing complex code.
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