Sometimes it's the tiny little things that keep big plans from becoming a reality.
We're trying to simplify and consolidate our eDirectory tree, and make our remote sites easier to manage. The product we've been piloting is Novell's Nterprise Branch Office (NBO or BOMA if you will) v2.0. It has so much potential, yet it falls short in small areas that are important - and would be easy for Novell to fix.
One issue we have, is that it's very difficult to manage PC's and application distribution at sites running NBO. This is because, despite the marketing hype, NBO doesn't actually "cache the corporate tree's eDirectory". It maintains it's own separate tree, and populates it with user and group information from the corporate eDirectory tree - nothing more.
What's worse, if you use PC's with the Novell client at NBO sites, it's even harder to get that PC connected to your corporate tree via ZENworks. (We eventually found an undocumented, unsupported method for doing this, and are testing it now).
The other big problem is that NBO doesn't handle password changes or password policices in the corporate tree very well at all. We should be able to change a password in the main eDirectory tree, and that change should be immediately recognized by NBO - that's not the way it happens. If someone changes it at the far site via NBO's "Virtual Office" portal, that change should make its way to eDirectory.
The reality is that not many users actually use password self service tools proactively- certainly not in our environment, or many that I've seen as a consultant. This means the HelpDesk does a lot of password resets reactively. They can either do this from their admin console, or by opening up a web session to each server where the problem may occur (sounds like the bindery in NetWare 3.x, doesn't it?).
eDirectory and NetWare 4.x were supposed to save us from this mess. You log into the network, not the server. It was a tough concept to grasp at first, but it makes a lot of sense. NBO breaks all of that, sending us back in time some 15 years.
So much for technology making our lives easier...