Azure® Active Directory® Competitor

Many consider Microsoft® Azure® Active Directory (AD) an industry juggernaut when it comes to cloud user management, especially in Windows®-based environments. While Azure AD is good at managing all things related to Azure, it is not the cloud replacement to the original Active Directory® many thought it would be (Spiceworks). So, many IT admins are wondering if there is a viable Azure Active Directory competitor on the market today. In order to get to the bottom of this question, let’s look at the beginning of directory services as a whole.

Active Directory Before Azure

Active Directory

Microsoft has owned the on-prem directory services market for almost twenty years now. When they introduced Active Directory in 1999, it quickly became the standard identity provider and quickly dominated the entire market. Some estimates even place usage at over 95% of organizations that want on-prem directory services. Microsoft’s dominance in the operating system and productivity suite spaces reinforced the benefits of AD, which in turn reinforced the decision for IT organizations to standardize around Windows-based systems and applications. This approach to the market worked well for Microsoft for a number of years.

An Evolving Industry

Then, as the IT landscape started to shift to new, emerging solutions such as Google Apps (now called G Suite), AWS®, and Mac® and Linux® systems, IT admins started to struggle. They couldn’t easily connect their users to all of the IT resources they needed, including web applications and new approaches to file storage (e.g., Samba file servers and NAS appliances).

Microsoft realized that they were losing to the shift to the cloud. Their response was the Azure cloud platform, which includes Azure Active Directory. With the name, the first inclination is to think that it is the cloud version of the original AD. That, however, is not the case. Azure AD is more akin to a user management system for Azure systems and services as well as a web application single sign-on solution. This is because a key part of Microsoft’s approach is actually (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog – JumpCloud authored by Zach DeMeyer. Read the original post at:

Zach DeMeyer

Zach DeMeyer

Zach is a writer and researcher for 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, making music, and soccer.

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