ScriptLogic in Production - Part One
December 29, 2000
by Ryan Smith
One of the many problems facing Network Administrators of a medium to large Windows NT 4.0 network is managing multiple and complex logon scripts. Fortunately, ScriptLogic makes this much easier.
For our environment where I work, we have four locations on the WAN running on a Windows NT 4.0 network. We've got one PDC (obviously) and three BDC's. One of the four locations doesn't have a BDC at their site, the users simply log in over the WAN. In addition, our users are running primarily Win9x and we don't use UNC conventions for accessing server resources. They all need drive mappings. Of course, it's never simple. They all need different drive mappings. All our drive mappings came through logon scripts. Twenty-four different logon scripts. Let's just say that administration and maintenance of our logon scripts alone was getting to be a bit of a pain.
Enter ScriptLogic. I originally stumbled across ScriptLogic back in October 99 when the product was NT Script. I discovered at that time that NT Script was being renamed to ScriptLogic 2.5x. We did some preliminary testing of ScriptLogic 2.5 and found that it would support our needs, so we submitted a Purchase Order for it. When we got the full product in and starting doing much more extensive testing, we found that it had a few features missing that we needed. One of the primary features is for our antivirus updates. We run Computer Associates InoculateIT on the servers and desktops. With ScriptLogic 2.5, we could schedule the update to run every Monday so desktops would get the most current antivirus update. When the test accounts would login the antivirus update ran fine, but the problem would be it would run every single time the test accounts logged in on Mondays. So if a user logged in and out five different times on a Monday, the update would run five times. We decided it would have been too much of a pain for our users to deal with. Fortunately, ScriptLogic came to our rescue with ScriptLogic Professional 3.0. The new version would solve this problem and much more. We waited until ScriptLogic Professional 3.0 was released in May 2000 and started testing all over again. This time, it was possible to setup ScriptLogic so that the update only ran once per day, as shown below.
With this somewhat minor problem resolved, we moved on to getting all of the drive mappings configured for ScriptLogic. This started to get a little bit difficult though. At the time, our drive mappings were provided by logon scripts. If you needed a drive mapping combination that no one else in the company had, chances are we created a custom logon script that only a handful of users used. There had to be a better solution to managing who gets what drive mappings and what to do in situations where users need mappings that they didn't have before. Again, ScriptLogic Professional 3.0 came to the rescue. ScriptLogic uses validation logic to handle drive mappings. One of the validation types is based upon Windows NT Groups, either local or global. By setting up our users in global groups, based upon their location and their division/subsidiary, we were able to implement drive mappings for our users in a much easier method than we had before.
In Part Two of this article, I'll cover the group setup in more detail as well as utilizing the custom scripting functionality of ScriptLogic. ScriptLogic is the product of ScriptLogic Corporation and is available at www.scriptlogic.comRyan Smith