By Vince Lujan Posted June 5, 2019
Is there a free cloud directory available? With more IT resources shifting to the cloud and away from Windows® platforms, many IT admins are looking to get rid of their aging Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD) infrastructure that is both expensive and on-prem.
The rub is that AD has basically served as the foundation for identity and access management (IAM) for many years now and a variety of add-on solutions are tied into the legacy platform. Fortunately, with a modern approach to cloud identity management, there is a free cloud directory available that IT organizations can leverage as their foundation instead.
Why Eliminate Active Directory?
Historically, IT networks have been Windows-based and on-prem. This setup enabled Microsoft to establish AD as the default directory services solution in the marketplace since 1999.
AD is, first and foremost, a user management platform for on-prem networks, Windows users, and resources. So, initially, IT admins were able to leverage AD to effectively manage their entire Windows domain.
AD has remained the most implemented directory services solution to date. However, a huge number of non-Windows and cloud-based resources have emerged through the years that operate outside of Microsoft’s walled garden.
We call it a walled garden because AD struggles to manage any IT resource that doesn’t fit into the pristine model of an on-prem, Windows domain. Consequently, powerful innovations such as macOS® systems, Linux® servers, web applications, cloud infrastructure, and more are difficult to manage directly in a pure AD environment.
The Rise of the Add-On
To mitigate this struggle, an entire ecosystem of AD add-on utilities emerged throughout the mid-2000s and into the present day. Solutions such as web app single sign-on (SSO), privileged identity management (PIM), and virtual private networks (VPN), for example, solved some of the critical shortcomings of the legacy platform in modern environments.
While effective, the trouble was this approach came with a hefty price tag. AD alone requires sophisticated client/server architecture and networking equipment in addition to licenses and software maintenance fees. Add in additional solutions and services and the infrastructure and man hours required to support them, and the total cost can skyrocket.
Obviously, this can be cost-prohibitive for any IT organization, but especially for small-to-medium-sized-businesses (SMBs) or startups. It’s usually at this point that IT admins start to consider free alternatives.
A Free Cloud Directory for Everyone
Called Directory-as-a-Service®, this next generation cloud IdP is reimagining Active Directory and LDAP for the modern, cloud era. With integrated and centralized user management, cloud LDAP and RADIUS, system management, 2FA, web app SSO, and more, DaaS is giving organizations a new option, which is to completely shift their IAM infrastructure to the cloud.
One of the advantages of partnering with JumpCloud is that the breadth of the Directory-as-a-Service platform is free for up to ten users. As a result, IT organizations can leverage our free pricing tier to explore the full functionality of the DaaS platform at no cost. This benefit is multiplied for Managed Service Providers (MSPs) who can provide ten free users to each of their client organizations.