In AD Integration, Blog

Microsoft® Windows® has been a mainstay of the IT world for decades. Strangely though, what was once a Windows-dominated world has seen a shift in paradigm. Mac® and Linux® systems are being used in droves among today’s modern organizations. Despite this shift, these organizations are often still heavily reliant on Microsoft’s on-prem directory service, Active Directory®, to manage all of their users and systems. AD struggles to manage non-Windows IT resources such as macOS® and Linux systems. For a while, Centrify® Express Services was employed to help with this disconnect, but since it has been put into end-of-life (EOL), IT admins are seeking out an alternative.

There is certainly a lot to unpack regarding an alternative to Centrify Express Services. Let’s first talk about what the product was, and then explore how best to replace it.

What is Centrify Express Services?

Like we said, Microsoft Active Directory (AD) is a widely-used directory service solution. While it is incredibly effective when used to manage on-prem, Windows resources, it struggles when dealing with the host of other solutions being employed by today’s IT organizations (i.e. Mac, Linux, G Suite™, AWS, etc.). 

Centrify Express Services was created to specifically aid with the management of Mac and Linux systems. The solution was an identity bridge, that is, an add-on solution to AD that helps the directory service integrate non-Windows systems. For the many organizations that used the service, it helped them with the user and system management aspects of their IT workflow. 

Unfortunately for those organizations, Centrify announced that, on May 1st, 2019, they would cease to support Express services, which will primarily affect their Express services for Mac, Mac Smart Card, and SaaS for Mobile. The announcement seemed crippling to the aforementioned IT organizations that rely so heavily on AD, and subsequently Express Services, for identity management. Thus, an alternative to the solution was greatly needed.

An Alternative to Centrify Express Services

Many believed that Centrify’s spin-off Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS) platform, called Idaptive®, could potentially fill the void left by Express Services. Unfortunately, while it does have some Mac management capabilities, Idaptive just doesn’t include the depth of system management for non-Windows platforms that AD-reliant admins really need.

An ideal alternative to Centrify Express Services would be able to seamlessly integrate not only Mac and Linux systems into Active Directory, but all of the other IT resources being used today as well. Additionally, it would be best for IT admins if this solution also synced passwords, users, and group membership across these resources. Enter JumpCloud® Active Directory Integration.

JumpCloud AD Integration: The Alternative to Centrify Express

The AD Integration feature is now offered as a part of JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service®, the world’s first cloud directory. JumpCloud can comprehensively manage end users and their access to virtually all systems, applications, networks, and more. AD Integration takes that full functionality and syncs it with pre-existing identities in Active Directory.

How Does AD Integration Work?

JumpCloud Active Directory Integration feature

AD Integration is a two-way street. The AD Import agent is used to shuttle identities and their related management information (users, passwords, and groups) into JumpCloud and onwards to any resource managed by JumpCloud. The new AD Sync agent relays additions and/or changes to these identities from JumpCloud and JumpCloud-managed resources back into AD. 

This seamless integration allows IT organizations to extend their AD instance to virtually all of the tools their end users leverage in their day-to-day work. In essence, AD Integration from JumpCloud is the alternative to Centrify Express Services.

Learn More about AD Integration

Interested in learning more about JumpCloud’s AD Integration and the rest of the Directory-as-a-Service product? Drop us a line! Our team would be happy to provide you with more information. You can also read another one of our blogs to dive deeper into Directory-as-a-Service.

If you would prefer a more hands-on approach, you can also jump right into Directory-as-a-Service, absolutely free. All you have to do is sign up for a JumpCloud account, and the entire platform with ten users to boot is yours to keep, free forever.

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