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Analyze Active Directory Data in R

Use standard R functions and the development environment of your choice to analyze Active Directory data with the CData JDBC Driver for Active Directory.

Access Active Directory data with pure R script and standard SQL on any machine where R and Java can be installed. You can use the CData JDBC Driver for Active Directory and the RJDBC package to work with remote Active Directory data in R. By using the CData Driver, you are leveraging a driver written for industry-proven standards to access your data in the popular, open-source R language. This article shows how to use the driver to execute SQL queries to Active Directory and visualize Active Directory data by calling standard R functions.

Install R

You can match the driver's performance gains from multi-threading and managed code by running the multithreaded Microsoft R Open or by running open R linked with the BLAS/LAPACK libraries. This article uses Microsoft R Open 3.2.3, which is preconfigured to install packages from the Jan. 1, 2016 snapshot of the CRAN repository. This snapshot ensures reproducibility.

Load the RJDBC Package

To use the driver, download the RJDBC package. After installing the RJDBC package, the following line loads the package:

library(RJDBC)

Connect to Active Directory as a JDBC Data Source

You will need the following information to connect to Active Directory as a JDBC data source:

  • Driver Class: Set this to cdata.jdbc.activedirectory.ActiveDirectoryDriver
  • Classpath: Set this to the location of the driver JAR. By default this is the lib subfolder of the installation folder.

The DBI functions, such as dbConnect and dbSendQuery, provide a unified interface for writing data access code in R. Use the following line to initialize a DBI driver that can make JDBC requests to the CData JDBC Driver for Active Directory:

driver <- JDBC(driverClass = "cdata.jdbc.activedirectory.ActiveDirectoryDriver", classPath = "MyInstallationDir\lib\cdata.jdbc.activedirectory.jar", identifier.quote = "'")

You can now use DBI functions to connect to Active Directory and execute SQL queries. Initialize the JDBC connection with the dbConnect function.

To establish a connection, set the following properties:

  • Valid User and Password credentials (e.g., Domain\BobF or cn=Bob F,ou=Employees,dc=Domain).
  • Server information, including the IP or host name of the Server, as well as the Port.
  • BaseDN: This will limit the scope of LDAP searches to the height of the distinguished name provided.

    Note: Specifying a narrow BaseDN may greatly increase performance; for example, cn=users,dc=domain will only return results contained within cn=users and its children.

Built-in Connection String Designer

For assistance in constructing the JDBC URL, use the connection string designer built into the Active Directory JDBC Driver. Either double-click the JAR file or execute the jar file from the command-line.

java -jar cdata.jdbc.activedirectory.jar

Fill in the connection properties and copy the connection string to the clipboard.

Below is a sample dbConnect call, including a typical JDBC connection string:

conn <- dbConnect(driver,"jdbc:activedirectory:User=cn=Bob F,ou=Employees,dc=Domain;Password=bob123;Server=10.0.1.2;Port=389;")

Schema Discovery

The driver models Active Directory APIs as relational tables, views, and stored procedures. Use the following line to retrieve the list of tables:

dbListTables(conn)

Execute SQL Queries

You can use the dbGetQuery function to execute any SQL query supported by the Active Directory API:

user <- dbGetQuery(conn,"SELECT Id, LogonCount FROM User")

You can view the results in a data viewer window with the following command:

View(user)

Plot Active Directory Data

You can now analyze Active Directory data with any of the data visualization packages available in the CRAN repository. You can create simple bar plots with the built-in bar plot function:

par(las=2,ps=10,mar=c(5,15,4,2)) barplot(user$LogonCount, main="Active Directory User", names.arg = user$Id, horiz=TRUE)