VAS (Vintela Authentication Services) help bring Windows and Unix together

Ever heard about VAS (Vintela Authentication Services), you should try this if your company has a mixed Windows and Unix environment.

Consider some of the following situations:

* 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 Utah's 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. 

Ericsson, recently deployed VAS in its heterogeneous computing environment. The company brought its over 15,000 Unix and Windows laptops, desktops and 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 not Vintela's only Windows/Unix integration solution.  There's also:

* Vintela Group Policy (VGP) Framework for Windows, Unix, and Linux, which allows you to extend group policy natively to Unix and Linux environments. 

* Vintela SSO for Java, which extends the reach of AD to Java-based resources and applications.

* Vintela Management Extensions (VMX), which allows you to natively manage Unix, Linux and Mac OS X within SMS 2003.

* Vintela Resource Central, an online repository of development and solution assets for the Vintela Integration Architecture family of products, targeted to the community of users and developers for the VIA platform. 

Vintela has worked closely with Microsoft for several years to develop this software.  In fact, Microsoft is so impressed with Vintela's ability to bridge the gap between Windows and non-Windows resources that Microsoft invested in a minority stake of the company.  Now when customers accuse Microsoft of not doing enough to integrate Windows systems with non-Windows systems, Microsoft can readily point to software that addresses such problems.


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