By Greg Keller Posted December 9, 2015
IT organizations often ask the question of whether there is a cost-effective way to leverage Microsoft Active Directory. As more organizations move to the cloud, the models are changing for how IT applications and solutions are purchased. Purchasing hardware and software licenses is generally viewed as a legacy model. While Microsoft still sells their software that way, many organizations are looking for more flexible options. Procuring IT resources with operating budgets rather than capital budgets is quickly becoming the norm.
Hidden Costs of Active Directory
Directory services are a core infrastructure component in organizations, so the focus often turns to the most cost-effective way to leverage Active Directory. When thinking about the costs associated with running Active Directory, IT organizations need to look beyond Microsoft licensing fees. Hardware, hosting, backup, high availability, security and operational costs should all be considered, too. In many modern organizations, there is also the additional cost of add-on tools to manage Mac and Linux devices, since Active Directory can’t perform those functions.
When considering how to build a cost-effective directory services infrastructure, please contemplate the following core issues: will you have it on-premises or in the cloud, who will run it (since operations costs are the most significant), and what type of infrastructure are you planning to support. If your organization is leveraging cloud services, such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service or SaaS applications, then you will undoubtedly be pulled towards having a cloud-based directory. Long term, it will be difficult for you to connect to everything that you want to manage when it is outside of the firewall. Ops costs can escalate quickly when you start to consider everything that is required today: 24/7 monitoring, high availability, security, and high performance. Many organizations have opted to outsource much of these operations and networking chores to third parties. Those third parties often sell their services to many customers, thereby amortizing their costs over a broader revenue base. Another issue that impacts the directory services cost equation is the internal environment. A single operating system environment is very different to manage than a heterogeneous environment. With BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device), IT admins today have little choice in the matter; multi-platform environments are the norm.
A DaaS Subscription Saves Dollars and Makes Sense
All of these issues tend to increase the costs of an Active Directory implementation. And, that’s why IT admins will often ask the question, is there a more cost-effective way to deliver an Active Directory-like solution? Only recently has there been an affirmative answer to that question. For almost 15 years, Microsoft Active Directory was essentially the only fully-featured directory services provider. Today, there is a new category emerging called Directory-as-a-Service (DaaS). This cloud-based user directory platform turns the cost equation on its head. As a SaaS-based solution, IT organizations do not need to worry about software licensing, hardware, operations, security, or other infrastructure costs. Organizations only need to pay for what they need and use versus building a full directory services infrastructure internally. A cloud-based directory service delivered as a subscription model ends up being more cost-effective in the long run.
If you would like to compare costs, drop us a note. We’d be happy to share our ROI model with you so that you can run the numbers yourself. You don’t have to be stuck in Microsoft’s expensive software model. There are other ways to accomplish critical infrastructure tasks such as directory services. Look into Directory-as-a-Service; perhaps you’ll be able to save a great deal of money.