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The Desperate Need for Cloud Enabled Active Directory

If you have ever worked in a business you might have logged into your PC or Mac using a Windows Domain that is backed by Microsoft Windows Active Directory. A Typical Windows Domain has the advantage of letting all the programs and computers share their resources (such as files, access to Database, registry) centrally controlled credentials. Windows Active Directory is essentially a database that for the most part manages user’s credentials and Access and rights management on various Nodes that may exist on a given network.

Cloud Solution: When Microsoft as part of Windows Azure introduced Azure Active Directory, I was thrilled because I thought as a small business I can now simply rely on Active Directory Server that is hosted by Microsoft in Windows Azure. But it was an unpleasant surprise That Azure Active Directory is only meant as single sign-on user repository for online services and applications. It is true that Azure Active Directory can inter-operate with On-site Active Directory. The problem however is that Azure Active Directory is not capable of hosting a Windows Domain. For instance you are not going to be able to join the 5 PCs that you have to an Azure Active Directory Domain. This is essentially a big let-down because it is really not cost effective for a small business to host its own Active directory server given the small number of resources on-site.