Authors Dave Pickens and Kent Price have written a Sun BluePrintsTM OnLine article entitled, "Using pGINA to Authenticate Users in Microsoft Windows Environments" to assist users in setting up a unified authentication scheme in a heterogeneous environment that includes UNIXR-based computing systems and Microsoft Windows.
The authors address the number of problems that can be encountered when attempting this type of set-up. From the Windows default structure that drives to use its own authentication to the end of support for a number of Windows versions, the authors identify these issues as ones that can cause problems for system administrators who want to incorporate a single unified authentication mechanism.
Pickens and Price compare the typical authentication architecture that is often derived and cumbersome to maintain, against what an ideal one can offer using Graphical Identification and Authentication (GINA) with Pluggable Graphical Identification and Authentication (pGINA).
GINA is defined as a dynamic-link library (DDL) that is part of the Windows operating system, and the authors outline each one of its three functions. These are SAS Recognition, User Interface and Shell Creation.
The article then presents pGINA as an add-on DLL for the standard Microsoft GINA. "pGINA provides the skeleton code necessary to quickly and easily implement many different methods of user authentication. Once a plug-in has been created for a particular authentication method, it can be easily installed on multiple systems. The new plug-in can be made available to other users without the users needing an indepth understanding of the Windows logon process. Some of the plug-ins that already exist for pGINA are OpenLDAP and Radius."
A list of situations that are conducive to pGINA and ones that are not are given to allow the reader to identify how their environment might handle this implementation.
The article then presents a case study on Valley City State University or VCSU. The challenges, solution, software and hardware are outlined giving the reader a true case scenario.
To read this complete Sun BluePrints OnLine article, visit:
Read More ...