Out with the Old – All of It!

Ensure a Smooth Migration to Windows Server 2012

Patrick Renzi

In today’s technology, advice from your grandfather rarely applies. The old, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” homily? That may have applied to wagon wheels, but not Windows Active Directory (AD). Today, what’s not moving forward IS broken, and authentication needs the newest and best tools available to remain secure.

There are two big reasons to update your Active Directory services: redundancy and reach.

First, redundancy has been and remains highly important. When AD stops, work stops. Most companies, including yours no doubt, run their Windows Active Directory on at least two redundant hardware server hosts. Each hardware host may well have to AD virtual machines running at all times, either for load balancing or immediate fail-over support. Each large remote office probably has their own AD server, and either a second AD onsite for large installations, or a VPN connection back to headquarters.

Yet that may not be enough today. The cloud has changed everything, including directory services. Your company relies on cloud storage, cloud backup, and cloud applications. Take the next step and test AD Domain Services in the Azure cloud.

Running AD on the Microsoft Azure platform links more tightly to your cloud services and adds redundancy to your on-premise AD. No matter your AD schema or integration with LDAP, NTLM, and Kerberos authentication services, your cloud-based Directory is ready.

The second reason to upgrade your AD to the cloud? Reach. Support all your locations via multiple cloud connections to your AD in the cloud for the first step. But the next step, reaching out to your partners and customers, can be complicated. Leveraging cloud-based domain controllers can smooth that connecting road.

Link to partners via Azure AD securely and give them access only to the resources you decide. You have your AD, they have theirs, and Azure AD bridges the two.

Don’t forget the most important group: customers. The need to integrate and support mobile customers alone may be worth a pilot Azure AD project. Global identity management tends to be a big job, and you need tools designed for such work.

Keep moving forward using the tools supporting your growth, and don’t let nostalgia bind you to directory tools of the past. Remember that wagon wheels carried people to the land of opportunity.