By George Lattimore Posted July 3, 2018
You might be asking—is there a cloud domain controller competition going on these days? Even though Microsoft® would have you believe there isn’t an active competition in the works, it’s the right question to ask. With their Azure® Active Directory® Domain Services offering, Microsoft is trying their best to shift their customers from the on-prem domain controller to one hosted by Azure in the cloud without having IT organizations look at any Azure AD Domain Services alternatives. However, as you’ll see by reading through this post, the reality is not as simple as what Microsoft would have you believe.
Evolving Beyond the Concept of a Domain
First off, the concept that Azure AD Domain Services is a replacement to your on-prem domain controller is simply not true. Azure AD DS is meant specifically for creating domains within Azure. In fact, it is important for IT admins to understand that Azure Active Directory is not Active Directory in the cloud, but rather, an extension to the on-prem AD. The song remains the same for Azure AD DS as well.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, the concept of the domain is a dying approach that’s rapidly fading away. Thankfully, networks today are no longer all Windows®-based and on-prem. The progress is needed and only natural. The ‘domain’ that a user operates in can now include a wide range of other types of IT solutions, such as AWS®, Mac® and Linux® machines, web applications such as G Suite™, Salesforce®, Slack, GitHub™ , and others, file servers such as Box™ or NAS appliances, and WiFi networks. All of these IT solutions depart from the traditional concept of control over domain resources, requiring a dedicated server for authenticating user identities.
Third, the domain controller has served a wide variety of functions for IT networks. These functions include being their DHCP and DNS. Modern networks don’t need those services anymore as their wireless access points and other pieces of infrastructure effectively handle those functions.
Unraveling the Cloud Domain Controller Competition
The results of what a domain controller provides to organizations and users is compelling—simply login to your system and you have access to all of your resources. In the era of non-Windows® IT resources and hybrid infrastructure, the traditional domain controller just can’t fulfill on that promise.
The good news is that the cloud domain controller competition extends far beyond just Microsoft solutions, and includes a new cloud identity management platform that takes the concept of directory services and domain controllers to the next level. JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® was introduced to solve the problem of having one identity that could provide access to whatever IT resources users needed, including systems, applications, files, and networks regardless of platform, protocol, provider, and location. Now, that’s a modern domain controller.
The Modern Domain Controller: Directory-as-a-Service®
JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service is reimagining Active Directory for the cloud, and as such, is positioned to provide IT organizations with a powerful modern domain controller alternative. Want to know more about how JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service is changing the game for cloud domain controller competition? Contact us directly by sending a message or giving us a call. A JumpCloud product expert will be happy to answer any and all questions you might have, and set you up with a demo of the platform. Go ahead and sign up if you’re ready to dive in and explore the platform features for yourself. As always, your first 10 users are free of charge, forever.