Performance tool vendor Winternals has developed diagnostic software designed to help corporate users ferret out problems in Microsoft's Active Directory that could knock critical applications offline.

The company has released Insight for Active Directory, a tool that can pinpoint the cause of failures in applications, such as Microsoft Exchange, or in services such as DNS that rely on Active Directory. The software monitors the communication between Active Directory and the network nodes that talk to it, and it highlights anything that is outside the norm of operations. The problems can arise from configuration, corruption or communication issues within the directory.

Insight for Active Directory, which will be distributed in the UK by Pillar Solutions, installs on an administrative console and keeps an eye on Active Directory domain controllers on the network. The software does not pull operations data from within Active Directory; instead it monitors all the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol transactions that happen between Active Directory and computers on the network. The software can determine if the transaction failed and why.

"We tell you the sentences and the words of the conversation and the explicit functions that went wrong," says Jonathan Borden, vice president of development for Winternals.

"You know the error, where it is located, and you can use the information to track the problem," he says. The software also details the path to every object in the directory to help trace the problem in such things as authentication or response times.

To further pinpoint problems, the software's console provides colour-coded highlights of errors and a visual representation of directory events that are related.

UK pricing is not yet available.