Overview of the Windows® Domain Controller

Written by Natalie Bluhm on March 30, 2019

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A 2019 Cloud Adoption Survey found that 94% of respondents are using the cloud. This makes sense considering how much technology has abandoned the on-prem way of doing things. As a result of so much IT infrastructure moving to the cloud, many IT admins are interested in an overview of the Windows® domain controller and how it works with the cloud.

A General Overview of the Windows Domain Controller

The Concept of a Domain Controller

The concept of the domain made sense many years ago. At the height of its use, the IT network was virtually all Windows-based and on-prem, and these widely used IT resources could be easily integrated with a Windows domain controller. This integration provided a “domain” where IT admins could centrally manage users and the IT resources that were on the network. Microsoft® ended up embedding this concept even further with Active Directory® Domain Services (AD DS), which ended up making the working lives of end users and IT admins even easier.

The Benefits of a Domain Controller

One of the most significant benefits of the domain for end users was the ability to log in to their Windows-based system and have access to virtually any Windows-based IT resource on the domain. The result was reduced friction and frustration for end users looking to do their jobs.

For IT admins, the Windows domain controller made it much easier to manage user access. IT admins could set access permissions for virtually all of their Windows resources from one solution, AD DS.

The Era of the Domain Controller is Coming to a Close

Of course, now the IT network is no longer dominated by on-prem Windows-centric IT resources. Not only are IT environments moving to cloud infrastructure and web-based applications, but they’re also shifting to macOS® and Linux® systems, WiFi and new file storage solutions. The result is that the concept of the domain has started to break down because it isn’t able to handle these non-Windows and off-prem IT resources. Consequently, the benefits end users and IT admins experienced have been replaced with drawbacks like inefficient and insecure workflows.

Because of these challenges, IT admins are searching for an alternative to the AD DS setup, so that they can make it simple and easy for end users to connect to the IT resources they need once again. One cloud identity management solution many modern IT organizations are migrating to is JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®.

Cloud Identity Management with JumpCloud

JumpCloud supports user authentication to systems, applications, files, and networks regardless of platform, protocol, provider, and location—all from the cloud. As a result, IT organizations can eliminate all of their on-prem directory services hardware, manage their environment from a single solution, and provide end users with frictionless access to all of their digital tools. So while the reign of the domain controller is ending, the era of streamlined user and system management is just getting started.

Next Steps

Are you interested in more than an overview of the Windows domain controller and how JumpCloud can replace yours? Send us a note, and one of our technical experts will get back to you to see what we can do to solve your identity management needs. In the meantime, sign up for a free account, and get started with testing our cloud-based directory service. A credit card isn’t needed, all functionality is available, and your first ten users are on the house forever.

Natalie Bluhm

Natalie is a writer for JumpCloud, an Identity and Access Management solution designed for the cloud era. Natalie graduated with a degree in professional and technical writing, and she loves learning about cloud infrastructure, identity security, and IT protocols.

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