What Can MMS Do?
MMS can interface with almost any information store, and it is not limited to Microsoft products (good on you, Microsoft!). The way in which MMS actually interfaces with these information stores is through Management Agents (MAs).
Each MA that is developed (one for each connected directory) contains inclusions, exclusions, attributes, flow rules, and templates.
One of the biggest benefits of the MMS MAs over some of the other directory (data) management tools is that the MAs are not actually required to be installed on a directory store server. So you do not break your warranty with your directory store provider.
There are actually four different types of MAs that MMS ships with:
Templates for Custom MAs
Each one of these MA types allows you to perform different ways of building connections to your existing data stores with MMS.
Pre-defined MAs are designed for connections to specific directories, such as an Active Directory server. MMS ships with 11 (yep, that's 11!) different pre-defined MAs:
Microsoft Exchange using LDAP to connect with
Microsoft Exchange using MAPI to connect with
Microsoft Windows NT/AD
Novell GroupWise API
Novell NDS using LDAP to connect with
Together Administration (TAMA)
Netscape using LDAP to connect with
As you can see, this is a pretty comprehensive list of MAs, and although not every data store is covered, the list will have more and more MAs added to it with further releases of MMS.
MMS also provides four Tutorial MAs, which are used to create custom MAs to use with existing directories that have no pre-defined MAs available (for instance, a SQL Server):
Tutorial Email System
Tutorial Management Agent
Tutorial Telephone System
MMS also has a single reporting MA, known simply as Report Management Agent (easy naming convention, huh?). This allows an administrator of MMS to easily configure a report that offers views of the data that the MMS server has customized to the specific needs of the organization.
There is a single generic Management Agent (Templates for Custom MAs), named (you guessed it) Generic Management Agent. This MA allows you to take a pre-existing (very generic) MA, and tailor it for your specific connection requirements to a particular directory.
Management Agents are built by utilizing the current language of MMS, known as Z-Script. Although utilizing industry standard scripting languages such as VB and Perl can configure most of the MAs, there are some functions that (at this release version of MMS) can be done only via the Z-Script language.
So that is all well and good that you can build these connections to other data stores, but how do you now specify that the information in the stores should be replicated around the enterprise?