Active Directory Monitoring Tools & Software for Enterprise AD Management!

Best Active Directory Tools & Software

by NMS Admin - Last Updated: May 10, 2022

Active Directory is at the heart of most Enterprise networks, and along with that comes the expectation that this heart must beat. Although the capabilities built-in to Active Directory are supreme, they’re also crude and cumbersome, lacking automation, role-based security and web-based administration, often consuming more time than you have to give.

Auditing an Active Directory environment using the native tools is next to impossible.

If users are complaining about performance issues such as slow logons, or accounts being frequently locked out, you need a means to quickly diagnose and remediate. Inconsistent group policies or roaming profiles can be the result of replication issues. Manually sifting through event logs makes security investigations daunting.

Here is our list of the best AD Monitoring tools:

  1. SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor – FREE TRIAL This on-premises package offers management and monitoring for Active Directory and many other applications plus server resource monitoring. Runs on Windows Server.
  2. ManageEngine ADManager Plus – FREE TRIAL This package is a unifying front end for Active Directory and can coordinate objects in multiple domains. Runs on Windows Server.
  3. ManageEngine ADAudit Plus – FREE TRIAL This system protection package operates as a file integrity monitor logging all access and changes to sensitive data plus Active Directory domain controllers. Runs on Windows Server.
  4. Softerra Adaxes This package offers a GUI interface for your AD instances and also a console for scripting and bulk uploads. Runs on Windows Server.
  5. Softerra LDAP Administrator A front end for managing many different LDAP-based access rights managers, including Active Directory. Installs on Windows Server.
  6. HelpSystems AutoMate An IT system automation package that allows many different administration tasks to be run through process flow diagrams. Runs on Windows and Windows Server.
  7. Zohno Z-Hire and Z-Term This duo of Active Directory management tools with task automation features will be of particular interest to HR departments. Runs on Windows Server.
  8. Anturis Active Directory Monitor A cloud-based SaaS package that offers monitoring of underlying server resources as well as Active directory instances.
  9. Lepide Active Directory Auditor This service logs changes to Active Directory objects and also stores snapshots to provide rollback facilities. Runs on Windows and Windows Server.
  10. XIA Automation This package of system automation tools includes a bulk upload and update service for Active Directory. Runs on Windows Server.
  11. Netwrix Auditor for Active Directory This package logs any changes to Active Directory objects and offers the option to undo them. Runs on Windows Server.

Basic user creation and object manipulation become tiresomely tedious. Maintaining Active Directory domains shouldn’t have to be this challenging. Moreover, picking an enterprise-level Active Directory tool shouldn’t be either.

IT Admins desire auditing, reporting, real-time alerts, easy-to-use interfaces, automation, role-based access with delegation, and bulk operations.

Thankfully, a variety of companies offer administrative software to help you get the most out of Active Directory with these desires in mind. The list below provides a brief overview of the top companies providing these types of supplemental services, guaranteed to save you time and energy, and give you that peace of mind come audit season.

Here’s the Best Active Directory Monitoring Tools & Software 2022:

1. SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor – FREE TRIAL (Editor’s Choice)

As a long-time user of SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (SAM), I can vouch for its efficacy with monitoring Active Directory environments. This is not necessarily your one-stop-shop for Active Directory monitoring, but in many cases you’d be surprised with the robust capabilities.

samSolarWinds SAM prides itself with adequate visibility and a suite of analytics to identify performance issues within Active Directory, such as Domain controller issues, replication failures, and user account lockouts. Each which are configurable for alerting and reporting.

SolarWinds SAM tool gives you insight into Active Directory issues, performance, and general compliance. Verify policies and services, ensuring compliance. Monitor LDAP sessions to build metrics relating to server load, bind time, client session, binds/sec and searches/sec.

Don’t stop here with just Active Directory, SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor provides you a single interface to monitor multiple platforms: Linux, Solaris, AIX, Windows, and VMware, with over 200+ built-in templates to help you get started.

Download: 30 day Free Trial

2. ManageEngine ADManager Plus – FREE TRIAL

ManageEngine ADManager Plus provides a single interface for all of your Active Directory implementations. This includes domain controllers for Exchange Server, Microsoft 365, Skype for Business, and Google Workspaces.

ManageEngine ADManager Plus

Once you have the ADManager Plus system installed, you won’t need to visit the console for each of your AD systems. Instead, you carry out all of your admin work in this dashboard and ADManager Plus ripples through changes to all instances. This makes it very easy to ensure that you have user accounts coordinated across your services.

As replication and distribution are automated, this is a good package for creating a single sign-on environment.

The ADManager Plus includes features that allow the bulk management of AD accounts. These include templates that will adjust all accounts to a new specification and it is also possible to import a list of new accounts from a CSV file.

The security of user accounts is very important and you probably would expect password management features in a management tool for Active Directory. ADManager Plus won’t let you down. It has a password policy section where you can define factors, such as password complexity requirements and password rotation specifications.

The ADManager Plus dashboard has a section for account group management. This lets you sort out a hierarchy and create finer grades of account levels without losing track of the different roles in your business and the groups that you created to match them.

Download: 30-day free trial

https://www.manageengine.com/products/ad-manager/download.html

3. ManageEngine ADAudit Plus – FREE TRIAL

ManageEngine ADAudit Plus is a system-wide security system that is particularly concerned with controlling and tracking access to sensitive data.

This system uses your Active Directory data as a reference for user accounts and resource permissions. It then performs user and entity behavior analytics. This process looks at who is allowed to access what, which is the main function of AD, but it also looks at which resources are regularly accessed by each user.

ManageEngine ADAudit Plus

The system looks for unusual behavior that would indicate account takeover or an insider threat. An essential task that the package performs is activity logging. This is important to look back after the discovery of a data leak to identify who accessed the disclosed data.

Even if no data leak occurs, you need those activity logs because data protection standards, such as GDPR require proof that nothing untoward occurred.

The ADAudit Plus service also examines account activity. The system tracks login events and sessions and it particularly noted failed login attempts, which could indicate a brute force attack. It will also identify illogical activity, such as the same account being used from several locations simultaneously or a user account that is used from one location and then from a distant location in a short space of time.

ADAudit Plus produces analytical reports, such as an inactive account assessment, which will tell you which accounts to delete.

Download: 30-day free trial

https://www.manageengine.com/products/active-directory-audit/download.html

4. Adaxes from Softerra

Adaxes is aimed at providing simple and efficient means for managing your Active Directory environment.

This is accomplished by giving you two interfaces to work from – a GUI that is very similar to Active Directory [only it includes all of those missing features you wish were already built into AD], and a console where you can perform some impressive bulk operations, or automate repetitive tasks.

adaxes

Workflows can be configured to automate user provisioning or triggered changes.

For example, you can have mailboxes, home drives, groups, etc., automatically created and assigned when a new user is configured, including a welcome email sent to that user. When users are added to OUs, Adaxes can automatically update group memberships, other properties, and even execute PowerShell scripts to sync changes with that OU’s applications. Brilliant!

OU management can be a nightmare, especially in large domains and forests where users in the same department can be spread across multiple OUs. Adaxes solves this complexity with virtual OUs, which allow you to collectively manage objects regardless of their location in Active Directory. Incredible flexibility

Tracking changes is a no-brainer in Adaxes with easy-to-read outputs, reports and scheduled notifications. Scheduled tasks ease daily operations. Delegation of administrative tasks through role-based access-control (RBAC) provides another tiered layer of effective, transparent and traceable management.

Download: Free trial http://www.adaxes.com/download.htm

4. LDAP Administrator from Softerra

A well-known tool by LDAP Administrators is LDAP Administrator. As you can see, the name says it all.

Visually and intuitively modify your LDAP directory without using command line utilities. Use this single tool to access OpenLDAP, Netscape/iPlanet, Novell eDirectory, Oracle Internet Directory, Lotus Domino, and of course, Microsoft Active Directory. Directory size and hierarchical complexity is no feat for LDAP Administrator, providing you quick and efficient means to manage your Active Directory objects.

ldap-administrator

Download: Free trial http://www.ldapadministrator.com/download.htm

6. AutoMate (Network Automation)

AutoMate, by HelpSystems, is all about automating without having to code. They are pioneers in the field of server and desktop automation with a massive portfolio of customers raking in the benefits.

automate

Integrating with not only in-house environments, but also virtual and cloud-based environments truly opens the door for widespread automation of applications and systems such as SharePoint, AWS, VMware, Microsoft, FTP, Excel, DB, legacy terminals, and more.

Their software is dynamic with easy to deploy drag-and-drop tasks. Again, all without writing a single line of code.

Regarding Active Directory, currently 15 features are bundled in this automation platform, all surrounding user and group object manipulation. The breadth for AD changes may not be wide at the moment, but the value add sure is nice.

automate2

Download: Free trial https://www.networkautomation.com/downloads/

7. Xohno Z-Hire and Z-Term

In an average enterprise domain you’ll have several applications that require user account creation or synchronization: Active Directory, Exchange, Lync, Salesforce, to name a few. Zohno Z-Hire was built with a single purpose – automating the user account creation process.

With just the click of a button, your Exchange mailbox, and Active directory user, Lync account and SalesForce User account will be created simultaneously.

Z-Hire allows auto-creation of major IT accounts with the option for custom scripts, enabling you to get in touch with your creative side. Z-Hire is incredibly user-friendly and takes minimal time to setup.

z-hire

Z-Term is the counterpart to Z-Hire, being that it’s all about employee termination, automating common tasks when an employee leaves the company.

Automate tasks in Active Directory (disabling accounts, resetting passwords, changing group membership, setting notes), automate Exchange, Lync, Office 365, Salesforce and even automate file operations like relocating home folders or exporting user settings.

Again, all with the single click operations to save you countless hours in repetitive tasks while eliminating errors.

z-term

Download: Free trial http://www.zohno.com/free.html

8. Anturis Active Directory Monitor

Anturis stands out from the bunch in an interesting way in that it offers a fully cloud-based monitoring application. All of the tasks you would expect in an Active Directory monitor without the requirement for on-site application provisioning and maintenance.

anturis

Similar to other monitoring solutions, it can alert you of concerning errors through email or SMS, and unlike other solution: voice call notifications. (cool!) Anturis builds performance baselines, calculating the data into trends so you can stay ahead of potential issues in the environment.

With Anturis you can monitor: server and client sessions, CPU usage, bind time, authentications/sec, searches/sec, DS threads and replication.

Active Directory monitoring is one small solution in the wealth of services offered by Anturis, so check them and see if collectively their suite would meet some of your other needs as well.

Download: Free trial https://anturis.com/signup/

9. Lepide Active Directory Auditor

Lepide offers a suite of Active Directory tools that are certainly worth looking at. Their solutions are easy to install, simple to use and realistically priced, with a nice interface to boot. Lepide’s Auditor for Active Directory provides a scalable means to instantly see who/what/where/when changes are made.

Cool thing is, you cannot only see what was change, but you can contextualize by easily viewing what is was changed from.

lepide

This is important when auditing, and something that should be confirmed with any such solution. Real time alerts keep your finger on the pulse with continuous monitoring for NT Directory services (NDTS), DNS Serves, disk space, CPU, memory, services and replication activity. Detailed reports help with all manner of security, system management and security challenges pertaining to your Active Directory.

Lepide’s single-click rollback feature to rollback changes made in error is quite convenient. It also offers integrated HealthCheck monitoring of Active Directory, Group Policy and Exchange, and provides a simple way of tracking and managing inactive user accounts.

The solution includes a powerful search functionality via an intuitive interface where you can search based on object path, user, and resource as needed and create custom searches and filters which you can save for future use. Something I always look for in such a solution.

Lastly, for the obsessive compulsive, Lepide introduced a mobile app that enables IT teams to keep track fo group policy changes while on the go. Take a live feed with you on your Apple or Android device, and stay ontop of changes as the happen in real time.

They also provide a separate solution (not included in the Auditor Suite) that also allows users to reset their passwords without having to call the helpdesk (Active Directory self service)

Download: Free trial http://www.lepide.com/lepideauditor/download.html

10. XIA Automation Server (Centrel Solutions)

XIA Automation Server is a simple and straightforward directory management software for common bulk operations surrounding user accounts and group configurations.

CSV-based, XIA has the ability to create or update Active Directory users or group settings in a scripted fashion.

xia

Download: Free trial http://www.centrel-solutions.com/xiaautomation/request-free-trial.aspx

11. Netwrix Auditor for Active Directory

Netwrix Auditor for Active Directory is auditing software that presents Active Directory and Group Policy information in actionable format, improving visibility by giving you a comparable glimpse at your infrastructure between any two points in time.

netwrix

Easily identify when changes were made, and by whom. Track inactive issues and password expirations, triggered to alarm before they expire. Rollback changes without impacting production domains.

What I like most about this particular tool is the clean, elegant interface, out-of-the-box compliance reports (PCI, HIPPA, SOX, FISMA, ISO), real-time alerting, and the sleek searching capabilities.

Download: Free trial http://www.netwrix.com/change_auditing_solution.html