By George Lattimore Posted March 16, 2019
Microsoft® Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) has been a core part of IT networks for almost two decades now. But, as the IT landscape stirs and shifts, many IT organizations are looking for an AD DS replacement. Ideally, this Active Directory® alternative would be from the cloud and work with whatever IT resources an organization needs. Otherwise, IT organizations aren’t really upgrading their core operations, and ultimately, they’ll still be pushing back on walls between a rock and a hard place.
Leaving the Domain Behind
Prior to the modern era of cloud computing, the network was largely on-prem and Windows®-based. So, it made a great deal of sense that Microsoft would introduce IT management tools such as AD and SCCM to suit the environment. AD DS was essentially the umbrella term for these two solutions, which enabled IT admins to create a True Single Sign-On™-like experience where a user would log in to their Windows machine and subsequently have access to their on-prem, Windows-based resources.
Nothing gold can stay however, and the challenges quickly mounted for IT as the network started to shift beneath them. Data centers were replaced by AWS® and other infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) providers. On-prem applications shifted to web applications, and Windows laptops and desktops were supplanted by macOS® and Linux® machines. The overhaul didn’t stop there as even the wired networks cut the cord and became WiFi networks. All of these changes created challenges for how an organization created and managed their domain. In fact, the landscape has changed so much so that it isn’t clear whether the concept of domain services is even relevant anymore.
A Next-Gen Directory Services Solution
The result is that IT admins are looking for a better way to securely connect their users to their IT resources including systems, applications, file servers, and networks regardless of platform, protocol, provider, and location. They need a new kind of directory service, and if possible, are keen to avoid Microsoft’s vendor lock-in for another two decades. Microsoft seems to have created a server license for everything, but on closer inspection, actually implementing and using all of these server licenses together can feel more like navigating a labyrinth than using a practical, central solution.
As a result, over 50k organizations and hundreds of MSPs have found a standalone, all-inclusive approach with JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®. Cross-platform and protocol-driven, JumpCloud enables IT organizations to centrally manage and secure their users’ access to resources. Macs and Linux are treated as first-class platforms alongside Windows, so employees are free to choose the best tools for their job. And, because it’s 100% cloud-based, traditional complications for accessing on-prem resources while working remotely are completely negated.
To summarize, key functional advantages for JumpCloud over AD DS can be summarized as the ability to:
- Provision, authenticate and control G Suite™ accounts
- Secure and manage AWS resources natively
- Secure and manage GCP cloud resources natively
- Authenticate and manage Linux and macOS
- Manage SSH keys
While JumpCloud may very well be an ideal replacement for AD DS in your organization, it’s important to test the platform first. That’s why JumpCloud offers free registration and management of your first 10 users, forever. Get a feel for the platform and try out all the features available, such as the Multi-Tenant Portal designed specifically for MSPs. If you have further questions about an AD DS replacement, feel free to send us a note.