Shifting Away From Active Directory

Written by Zach DeMeyer on September 3, 2019

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Breaking up is hard to do. Yet, like all things in life, relationships come and go, and ultimately, we must move on to bigger and better things. The same is true of IT solutions. The relationship that IT organizations have built with Microsoft® Active Directory® over the years have some admins of the cloud era feeling like they might be needing a bit more. For IT admins of heterogeneous environments, it might be time to think about shifting away from Active Directory.

The Writing on the Wall

Many organizations still use Active Directory (AD) daily, building upon long-standing usage of the product from its inception near the turn of the century. Of course, when AD was created, it was made to complement the IT environment of its time, that is, 100% based around Windows® and entirely located on-prem.

In today’s IT scene, however, things have changed dramatically. Mac® and Linux® systems are becoming more widespread. Cloud applications and infrastructure are revolutionizing the way work gets done. WiFi and laptops have enabled the workforce to become more agile. Workers are now working remotely, in “cafe-style” workplaces, and on their commutes.

Unfortunately, AD is struggling with this mobile, heterogeneous style of IT environment. The legacy directory service, while great at managing things in its wheelhouse, grapples with these disparate resources, making life a headache for IT admins. Many organizations have resorted to purchasing add-on solutions (web application single sign-on, identity bridges, multi-factor authentication solutions, etc.) to bolster AD. These tools help to build up functionality where AD struggles, but seem like patches on an old overcoat that continues to unravel at its seams.

Microsoft offers one such add-on, Azure® Active Directory®, which helps to build out some holes in the solely AD approach. For a while, it was thought that Azure AD (AAD) would be the cloud replacement for on-prem AD, but that’s simply not the case. Instead, IT organizations can only use AAD to manage their Azure-based users for access to cloud resources like Office 365™ and a selection of web applications.

Shifting Away from Active Directory

Faced with the struggles of AD and the host of add-ons required to go with it, IT admins are trying to find a solution that they can shift to is akin to the early days of AD. This solution should be able to manage users and their access to all of the resources they leverage daily. Beyond that, it should be able to “play” well with these resources regardless of their vendor or location (on-prem or cloud).

Enter JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®. JumpCloud is the modern reimagination of Active Directory, providing a cloud-based identity provider for today’s admins. With JumpCloud, IT admins can manage their end users and virtually all of their necessary resources. JumpCloud is vendor-neutral and cloud-forward, meaning IT organizations are granted freedom of choice regarding their systems, applications, networks, infrastructure, file servers, and more.

Leaving AD for JumpCloud

Of course, while JumpCloud may be the solution to solve your AD woes, you may be wondering how you can effectively make the switch. After all, migrating off of an AD domain is nearly as difficult as managing modern resources with it. That’s why the JumpCloud Solutions Architecture team has created the JumpCloud Active Directory Migration Utility (ADMU).

The ADMU codifies the process of removing users and their systems from Active Directory and panning them into JumpCloud. Admins can use the JumpCloud PowerShell Module to automate the process, which uses native Windows tooling to transfer a domain-bound user/system to a local account. During this process, the AMDU also removes the user from AD, ultimately transferring everything into JumpCloud.

Try JumpCloud and the ADMU

If you are interested in shifting away from Active Directory, you can explore what JumpCloud has to offer absolutely free, and utilize the ADMU free as well. Simply sign up for a JumpCloud account and leverage your free ten users guaranteed for life in the platform to get started. Once you’re comfortable in JumpCloud, you can use the ADMU link above to download the repo and get started migrating.

Want to learn more about JumpCloud? Please contact us, or explore our YouTube channel for more content.

Zach DeMeyer

Zach is a Product Marketing Specialist at JumpCloud with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. He loves being on the cutting edge of new technology, and when he's not working, he enjoys all things outdoors, music, and soccer.

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