Meet Azure Active Directory: Your Cloud-based Identity Service

Azure Active DirectoryToday, Microsoft made Azure Active Directory generally available (GA). This means it is ready for production use.

Azure Active Directory enables organizations to provision their users with a single identity that can be used to access applications that are run on Windows Azure, run by 3rd party cloud-based vendors and/or within their own datacenters.

Azure Active Directory offers four main capabilities:

  1. It’s an Azure-based Active Directory environment, that you, as an admin, can use to authorize access to apps and services within your organization’s Azure, Intune and Office 365 subscriptions.

    These Microsoft cloud services already rely on the identity management capabilities provided by Azure Active Directory. These capabilities include a cloud based store for directory data and a core set of identity services including user logon processes, authentication and federation services.

  2. The Azure Active Directory that you create is able to federate with an on-premise Active Directory environment, based on open standards including SAML, OData and WS-FED. With federation and single sign-on enabled, your colleagues can access resources within your company, plus access cloud applications seamlessly with the set of credentials and means of authentication they are already familiar with.

    With Identity controlled on-premises, colleagues can granularly be enabled for federation, granted access and revoked access. All without any delays.

  3. Azure Active Directory can be used to leverage identity and access management to 3rd party cloud-based apps.

    As an organization, you can leverage this functionality to use Azure Active Directory as your identity federation hub or identity provider (IP) to provide a seamless, single sign-on experience across your on-premises environment, Microsoft Online Services, 3rd party cloud services and applications built on Windows Azure with popular web identity providers like Microsoft Account, Google, Yahoo!, and Facebook.

  4. Azure Active Directory offers the Azure Active Directory Graph. This is an innovative social enterprise graph providing an easy RESTful interface for accessing objects such as Users, Groups, and Roles with an explorer view for easily discovering information and relationships.


You may leverage any of these capabilities, independent of each other.

The best thing? Azure Active Directory is free.

Further reading

Windows Azure Active Directory: Ready for Production with over 265 Billion Authentications & 2.9 Million Organizations Served!
As of today, Windows Azure Active Directory has reached general availability and is now ready for use in production environments.
Windows Azure: Active Directory Release, New Backup Service + Web Site Monitoring and Log Improvements
Identity in Windows Azure
Windows Azure Active Directory
Windows Azure Active Directory Cartoon
Windows Azure Opens Active Directory For General Availability As Identity Battle Heats Up
Windows Azure Active Directory Service Now Available
Microsoft hosts bar mitzvah for mature Azure
Windows Azure Active Directory has reached general availability
MMS 2013 – Windows Azure Active Directory, Backup, Web Site Monitoring and Log Improvements Release Information
Microsoft readies free cloud Active Directory service
Microsoft starts making more of its Azure cloud services generally available
Windows Azure Active Directory Reaches General Availability

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