Why use Azure AD? Well, if your IT organization is Windows®-centric and deeply invested in on-prem identity management technology such as Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD), then supplementing that setup with Azure® AD can make a lot of sense. However, most IT admins will tell you that the last thing they want is another siloed identity management system from Microsoft. For them, the shift to a comprehensive cloud directory is often a better option. Let’s find out why.
Active Directory Before Azure
An on-prem implementation, Microsoft’s identity management platform, Active Directory, has been incredibly dominant for nearly twenty years now. Active Directory’s position as a market leading solution did not happen by accident. Microsoft owned the enterprise namely because of name-brand solutions such as Windows®, Office, Exchange, and others. Those solutions were put in place to help drive employee productivity, and Active Directory tied all of them together with the concept of the domain. For IT organizations, they could centrally manage user access to Windows-based resources using a single tool: Microsoft Active Directory.
The approach worked well, and AD quickly became the dominant directory services platform. Then something interesting happened. Active Directory reinforced Microsoft’s dominance in several other markets. Because AD managed Microsoft tools so well, IT admins wanted to inject more Windows-based tools into their network. With more Windows-based solutions on the network, AD became more powerful and valuable to organizations. It was certainly a virtuous cycle for Microsoft.
Rise of the Cloud and Non-Windows Solutions
That value would begin to slip though. We all know that the IT landscape has now changed with the inclusion of macOS® and Linux® systems into networks. Cloud infrastructure from AWS® bagan to take infrastructure by storm. G Suite™ and Office 365™ replaced applications that were once installed via CD-ROM and made them accessible from the web browser. Cloud and non-Windows file servers like G Drive™, Dropbox™, NAS and Samba devices were each difficult to access via on-prem AD. This is not even a comprehensive list, but you get the point.
These (Read more...)