Last week we shared how Enterprises can benefit by integrating Windows Azure into their business strategy. Having a strong enterprise identity strategy is a key component for enabling new applications and infrastructure in the cloud. Today, we’re excited to share that Windows Azure Active Directory (AD) has reached general availability and is now ready for production use!
Windows Azure Active Directory is the world’s largest cloud based, enterprise quality, internet scale Identity and Access Management Solution. Today over 2.9 million businesses, government bodies and schools are already enjoying the benefits of Windows Azure Active Directory, using it to manage access to Office365, Dynamics CRM online, Windows Intune and Windows Azure.
Windows Azure AD is a cloud based Identity Service built to support global scale, reliability and availability for our customers and comes at no cost for the base directory. This cloud based directory makes it easy to:
- Manage employee access to cloud based line-of-business apps, Microsoft cloud services like Office 365, and third party SAAS applications.
- Deliver a Single Sign-On experience for cloud applications eliminating the need for multiple usernames and passwords and limiting helpdesk calls and password resets.
- Revoke access to cloud based business applications when an employee leaves the company or changes jobs.
- Manage federation and access to cloud facing services for partners and customers.
Windows Azure AD is an enterprise grade, high availability cloud service run from 14 datacenters spread across the United States, Europe and Asia. Over the last 90 days, Windows Azure AD has processed over 65 billion authentication requests while maintaining 99.97% or better monthly availability. No other cloud directory offers this level of enterprise reliability or proven scale.
For companies who already run Windows Server Active Directory on-premises, Windows Azure AD is a natural extension for enabling existing identities in the cloud. Based on open standards including SAML, OData and WS-FED, Windows Azure AD works with any modern browsers running on a PC, tablet or mobile device and can be easily integrated into applications running on a multitude of platforms from Microsoft and 3rd parties.
In making Windows Azure AD available for production usage, we’ve also made two feature improvements Windows Azure Customers and cloud application developers will be interested in:
- Ability to add a Windows Azure Active Directory to your Azure subscription for customers who use Microsoft accounts for logging into Azure.
- Granting and revoking application directory access permissions have been greatly simplified.
With this latest release, existing Windows Azure customers who log in using a Microsoft account can now add a Windows Azure AD tenant and use it to manage access to Azure for their employees with either Microsoft accounts or Azure AD accounts.
We’ve also updated our samples and developer documentation with the biggest updates to the application registration process, so if you are a developer, you’ll definitely want to read up on that. You can find all of our documentation including step by step guides protocols and APIs, how to manage your tenant including managing users, setting up 2FA, and extending your on-premises AD to AAD.
Throughout the developer preview over 3500 companies tried Windows Azure Active Directory. I’d like to thank all of you who participated for your interest, participation and feedback – your efforts have been invaluable to us!
Finally, I’d like to close by inviting all of you to get your own Windows Azure AD cloud directory today. All you have to do is sign up for Windows Azure Trial.
Director of PM