Service Account Manager: Enumerating Dependent Services

Service Account ManagerFor years, Service Account Manager (SAM) has been the go to tool for updating Windows service account passwords. One reason that it’s an effective solution for accomplishing this complex task is its rare ability to perform a full dependency analysis on each service.

When attempting to update the settings of difficult-to-manage service accounts that exist in Exchange Server, databases, line-of-business applications, and many other places, IT administrators are often frustrated by the limitations of built-in Windows tools. This frustration usually stems from the complex, interlocking dependencies between the services in applications and the inability of basic management tools to unlock those interdependencies.

Managing Dependent Services
Service Account Manager utilizes a proprietary algorithm to map dependency relationships. It then implements a staged start/stop list that manages even the dependency scenario. When an IT administrator requests a service stop on a specific service, SAM performs the following steps:

  • Prepares an initial list of all dependencies on the service being stopped
  • Assesses the list and expands it to include additional dependent services
  • Stops all entries of the list in reverse (top down) order
  • Retains the new linear dependency list in the order of the services that were stopped

When the service is re-started, all of the stopped services are then also re-started, but in the reverse order of how they were stopped. This ensures that your Windows service account changes are applied comprehensively, without suffering service failures.

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