Managing Windows and Active Directory infrastructures can be cumbersome using default Microsoft management consoles. In this post, we review Hyena, a tool that helped simplify Active Directory management for nearly twenty years.
Contents of this article
The premise of Hyena’s added value is that it simplifies, centralizes, and streamlines general Windows system administration and Active Directory management. Managing your Windows and AD environments using the default Microsoft tools often requires using many different management consoles. Hyena takes the tools required for day-to-day Windows and Active Directory management tasks and rolls them into a single-pane-of-glass interface; in doing so, it also improves upon and adds to their capabilities.
Hyena does this with an Explorer-type interface that is very point-and-click friendly. The tool provides an extensive list of objects and tasks that you can manage from within the interface. These include users, groups, shares, domains, computers, services, devices, events, files, printers/print jobs, sessions, open files, disk space, user rights, messaging, exporting, job scheduling, and processes.
With regard to Active Directory, Hyena provides great features and tools from a single interface that allows you to manage the entire landscape of your Active Directory infrastructure. The following abilities are provided:
- Management of object properties
- Advanced attribute management
- Bulk and mass updating
- Advanced queries and views
- Reporting and exporting
- Exchange support
Using Hyena ^
For the most part, I will be focusing on the Active Directory functionality. Keep in mind there are many other features related to Windows device management in addition to Active Directory management.
Management is enabled via expandable nodes that are available in the left-hand pane. You will see your local Hyena server listed as well as the domain to which the server is joined. I did not have to do anything special to add the domain after installation.
With Hyena, you can manage both local and Active Directory resources
I found the interface very easy to navigate and fairly intuitive. At first, you may be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information you are presented with. However, after a few minutes, I was able to settle into the interface and move around easily using the intuitive layout.
Hyena explorer interface with a navigation ribbon reminiscent of Microsoft Office
Beginning with the domain level, you can see how Hyena consolidates management tasks from various consoles into a single right-click menu that enables the following tasks:
- Checking the FSMO roles ownership
- Viewing the account and audit policies
- Viewing deleted Active Directory objects
- Synchronizing the entire domain via domain replication
- Setting authentication credentials
- Accessing your custom tools
Instead of flipping through many different consoles such as Active Directory Users and Computers, Active Directory Sites and Services, and Active Directory Domains and Trusts, you have much of this information readily available in the single Hyena interface.
Perform management tasks easily at the domain level
There are many tools available in Hyena for interacting with your domain controller. From a simple right-click menu, you can check services, run queries, view netlogon status, view logged in users, view Active Directory attributes, and much more.
Hyena tools to interact with your domain controller
One of the great things that Hyena does well is query Active Directory. You can access the query functionality easily from the context of a right-click menu on the users node in Hyena.
Querying Active Directory users from the Hyena users node
In the Hyena Active Directory Queries dialog box, you can view, add, and edit Active Directory queries for users, groups, global groups, local groups, universal groups, computers, containers/OUs, and group members. This gives you easy access to custom queries you may use to interact with Active Directory when you need them to be available.
Viewing adding and editing Hyena Active Directory queries
When you expand your Active Directory users under the Users node, you can select some or all of your users and edit them in the Active Editor interface. If you have several minor updates to make, this enables easily making the change to many objects rather quickly.
Editing users with the Hyena Active Editor tool
One of the powerful new features of Hyena is the Active Task List tool. This allows you to mass import and update Active Directory attributes from a delimited file. A great use case for this would be a scheduled provisioning process where new objects are routinely added to Active Directory. Using the Active Task scheduler, you can simply provide the delimited input file and let Hyena do the rest.
Using Hyena Active Tasks to mass edit Active Directory objects
Recently added features ^
Hyena has been around for quite a while. If you have used the tool in the past, you might be interested in the following recent major additions.
- Active Task – With the new Active Task feature, new Active Directory objects can be created from a delimited text file. Tasks are saved in Hyena, which allows repeating these types of imports with relative ease.
- Active Editor – Relatively new to Hyena, this feature enables a real-time table-edit “feel” to mass updating objects in Active Directory. You can low-level edit multiple attributes for objects using this feature.
- Exchange 2007–2019 mailbox and properties management – You can create/disable mailboxes for the various Exchange versions and edit the properties of Exchange mailboxes.
- New and improved Query Manager and Query Library – Hyena provides dozens of AD queries that can be imported for querying objects in Active Directory.
- Terminal Server Session Management – Terminal server sessions can be managed and viewed.
Hyena is licensed based on the number of users actually using the software. When you purchase a license, it comes with (1) year of free updates.
License costs for Hyena break down as follows:
|1 to 2||$329|
|3 to 4||$2115|
|5 to 9||$250|
|10 to 24||$220|
|25 to 49||$196|
|50 to 99||$172|
In this overview, I touched on only a few of the features that are available in the Hyena system management tool. Overall, Hyena provides a great tool to interact with, update, and edit Microsoft’s Active Directory along with general Windows device management.
Hyena excels in consolidating tools and features that are scattered throughout various Microsoft management consoles. It provides access to them in a single interface. Additionally, you get querying and attribute update functionality that is simply not found in any of the default Microsoft Active Directory management consoles.
Be sure to check out Hyena in your own environment and see the functionality it offers. They provide a free, fully-functional trial version for download here.