Back in May of 2008 I first wrote about a really awesome program that allows you to join non-Windows machines to Microsoft Active Directory. That program was called Likewise Open. It is the free version of Likewise’s software. Later, in September of 2009 I wrote about how I used Likewise Open with osTicket so my company could have a Linux ticketing system, but still login with our Windows domain credentials. I even used it once to join one of the Mac desktops the marketing department used at my last company to the domain for better file management and authentication. The software simply works!
Well, I am not the only one who has noticed the potential, and usefulness of Likewise’s software. VMWare, the world leader in computer virtualization, has too. In fact, they just struck a licensing agreement with Likewise to directly integrate and include their software in vSphere.
According to the press release:
The integration will enable VMware vSphere users to manage privileged user access with Microsoft Active Directory, providing large enterprises with a scalable means to improve authentication and access control in virtualized environments to help meet IT security audit requirements. Likewise is a member of the VMware Technology Alliance Partner (TAP) program.
By integrating Likewise Identity Services into vSphere, VMware is responding to their customers’ requests to integrate ESX/ESXi/vSphere privileged users into Active Directory. For example, those customers can now set up an administrative group in Active Directory such as “esxi admins” whose users have appropriate privileges and policies as ESXi administrators. There are also tremendous security and accountability benefits of having users authenticate with their own credentials instead of using root or shared credentials. And, when an employee leaves the company, turn off their AD account, and they no longer have administrative rights to ESXi.
What does this mean for VMWare users in a nutshell? It means greater security, central authentication and ease of management. I for one am looking forward to seeing this in action seeing as how I work in a VMWare shop.
What about you? Are you a VMWare admin? Does this sound like something that can make your life easier? Let me know your take in the comments.