Over the last few months as we’ve continued to add richer and richer capabilities into the developer preview of Windows Azure Active Directory (AD), one of the most common questions you’ve asked us is how Windows Azure AD and the current Windows Azure Access Control Service (ACS) relate to each other.
ACS is a service that provides an easy way of authenticating and authorizing users of your web applications and services. Using ACS, you can you can easily orchestrate the authentication and much of the authorization of your users using standards based identity providers like Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft Accounts (formerly Windows Live account).
As part of our service roadmap, we think of Windows Azure Access Control (ACS) as a feature of Windows Azure Active Directory. We have already started the work of integrating the two together. It will take us several iterations to make this happen but our planning and development work is well underway.
Yesterday we released the first part of that work, merging the ACS namespace management experience into the Windows Azure Management portal (manage.windowsazure.com).
You can now create an ACS namespace using the tray in the Azure Portal:
And access all of your ACS names spaces (both new ones, and existing ones) in the new Active Directory tab in the portal:
Obviously we have a LOT more work to do here, but we’re excited to be able to share this first small step with you!