Virtual Domain Controller

Written by Jon Griffin on November 17, 2017

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The domain controller has been a core component of on-prem networks for a number of years. However, with cloud applications and servers gaining traction, the prominence of the conventional domain controller has started to wane. In order to save money and gain efficiency, many IT admins are wondering whether or not there is a virtual domain controller option that is built for the new era of the cloud.

The Rise of the Domain Controller

A domain controller is the server that is running Active Directory Domain Services. Domain controllers became a staple of IT networks in the early 2000s. With the advent of Microsoft Active Directory® in 1999, IT admins were able to control access to IT resources at the enterprise level. AD allowed organizations to manage the user access to their Microsoft-based systems with a level of sophistication never before possible. Seeing as the entire enterprise was Microsoft-based at that time, it was a perfect fit.

As mentioned, this concept was perfect for an IT environment that was primarily Windows and on-prem. As a result, when a user connected to their device and the device was on the network, the domain controller could automatically authenticate users to all of their IT resources. It was a simple and easy process for the end user, and offered control for the admin.

No Longer Microsoft Exclusive

As we have all seen, the rise in popularity of cloud applications and infrastructure is taking over the enterprise. This change is drastically improving the way that organizations operate, and is changing the IT network as well. This network is no longer all on-prem and Windows-based, and because of that the concept of the domain controller needs to change. An existing Active Directory instance just doesn’t easily connect users to cloud and non-Windows resources. Common tools like AWS, G Suite, Linux, macOS, and much more have become painful or almost impossible to connect to the on-prem domain controller. Trying to maintain an AD instance in this environment is a nightmare for IT admins.

Culminating from these struggles, the idea of a virtual domain controller in the cloud started to emerge. This vision for a next generation domain controller dramatically changed the concept, and was built with cloud functionality in mind.

A Virtual Domain Controller Solution

A modern approach to identity management from the cloud is securely managing and connecting user identities to the IT resources they need, regardless of the platform, protocol, provider, or location. This approach is the cloud-based platform Directory-as-a-Service® (DaaS), and it is built for the modern IT environment.

DaaS enables one identity to connect to systems (Windows, Mac, Linux), cloud and on-prem servers (AWS, GCP, Azure, on-prem), web and on-prem applications via LDAP and SAML, physical and virtual storage (e.g., NAS and Samba file servers), and wired and WiFi networks through RADIUS. This means less work for IT admins, and an easy process for the end user.

A virtual domain controller needs to connect one identity across on-prem, cloud, and remote IT resources. That’s exactly what the cloud-based directory is built to do. You can learn more about this virtual domain controller solution by contacting us. We would be happy to explain how the centralized directory works, and how it can fit into your IT environment. Alternatively, if you would like to see the platform for yourself, sign up for a free DaaS account. Your first 10 users are free forever, with no credit card required, so there’s no reason not to give it a shot. Then, you can test the platform to your heart’s content and make sure that it will work for you. Sign up today!

Jon Griffin

Jon Griffin works as a writer for JumpCloud, an organization focused on bringing centralized IT to the modern organization. He graduated with a degree in Professional and Technical Writing from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and is an avid learner of new technology from cloud-based innovations to VR and more.

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