By Rajat Bhargava Posted December 24, 2015
Microsoft is trying to shift its customers from the historic Microsoft Active Directory solution to Azure Active Directory. This coincides with Microsoft’s strategy to move many of their customers to the cloud. Microsoft did an amazing job of locking in millions of organizations to its solutions for the past few decades, and it has a chance to do this again with Azure.
Active Directory plays a critical role in Microsoft’s overall strategy. AD seamlessly controls user access to Microsoft resources. So, if IT is deciding between a system that can be integrated into AD versus one that requires a separate user management process or system, they’ll likely choose the one that integrates seamlessly. Of course, that makes sense because then one central control point enforces access to a variety of systems.
Microsoft Makes a Move Toward the Cloud
Microsoft is pushing the next generation in this strategy. As the world moves to the cloud, Microsoft knows that it has been left behind. AD is a remnant and requires on-premises equipment. With Azure Active Directory, IT organizations can largely shift their directory services to the cloud. Unfortunately, Azure AD doesn’t support the same level of depth as the on-premises AD version, but it is Microsoft’s attempt to move organizations to the cloud.
The move from the on-premises AD to Azure represents a critical point in the decision-making process for many IT organizations. Do organizations want to be tied to Microsoft for another decade or two, or do they want to have an open platform? The key to being able to leverage other operating systems, device types, and applications is a cross-platform user directory. To replace Azure Active Directory will require an innovative cloud-based directory service that connects users to whatever IT resources they need – not just Microsoft solutions.
Directory-as-a-Service Supplants Azure
Directory-as-a-Service is this next generation replacement for Azure Active Directory. Directory-as-a-Service is an open platform that stems the vendor lock-in of Microsoft. DaaS works with Mac and Linux devices in addition to Windows. DaaS connects to AWS, Google Compute Engine, and Azure. Directory-as-a-Service can connect to key legacy and cloud applications; it doesn’t merely cater to t Microsoft solutions.
IT organizations are at an inflection point. The past approaches to solving problems won’t always work in the cloud era. New solutions are required for a new environment. IT admins have some important choices to make that will help or hinder their organizations over the coming years. One of those critical decisions centers on what type of directory service do they want to leverage.