How much to budget for Active Directory®

Active Directory

Owning various pieces of software and infrastructure is not unlike the proverbial iceberg. You have a sticker price that can sit at the top, but then when you dig into it or once you start implementing said pieces of software, directories included, everything below the surface starts to creep in. Often times the cost you had predicted when you implemented the software, ends up not covering the full cost needed over time. This makes it incredibly difficult to know how much to budget for IT investments.

So let’s start by talking about the top level pricing that is often used when modeling out the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of Active Directory®.

Top Level Active Directory Pricing

Microsoft Active Directory

Above the surface, the only real obvious cost we have is the CAL (Client Access License) costs. The price range for this is widely variant and many times depends on your organization, your purchasing power, and where you’re buying these Client Access Licenses through (either direct from Microsoft or from some other volume discount oriented program).

In a perfect world, that would be it. You would have your Windows server and the licenses for it, and you would be able to connect the Windows endpoints easily with no associated costs. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Let’s talk about the additional costs of Active Directory below the surface, so that you can really build out an accurate budget.

Additional Costs

Let’s dive deeper into your directory infrastructure and take a look at some of the costs you may or may not be factoring in.

Here’s the quick run-down of some of the additional expenses for AD:

  • Infrastructure
  • Windows Server software
  • Mac and Linux binding
  • Identity Federation
  • Maintenance & Administration
  • Security


The three main factors in the infrastructure area are the servers (which may be either physical or virtual), the load balancers, and the hosting.

Often times the server infrastructure and load balancers can cost tens of thousands of dollars over time, for even small organizations. Because of all of the redundancy that each server and load balancer requires to ensure uptime, the cost adds (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from JumpCloud authored by Jon Griffin. Read the original post at:

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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