Today we’re launching the Active Directory team blog on MSDN.
Now that we’ve finished our major push to GA Windows Azure Active Directory, it’s the right time to start an open dialog with you, our customers, partners and the broader community of people interested in Identity, Authentication, Authorization, Access Management and Data Protection, in the cloud and on-premise. We’re looking forward to having the dialog.
As we continue our efforts to deliver on our vision of Identity Management as a Service and to modernize our on-premise identity and access management products, this blog will play a crucial role, allowing us to have a two-way dialog with you about design choices, real-world data and usage, tips and tricks and the new opportunities that we are creating in the Active Directory team.
Through this blog, we hope you’ll get a better understanding of what we’re building and how you can use it to your benefit. At the same time, we’re looking forward to learning from you and increasing our understanding of how our products and services work in the real world and how we can make them even better.
Modern Identity and Access Management – a new way forward.
Today, we have the awesome privilege of being the team responsible for Windows Server Active Directory – the world’s most used Enterprise directory server. According to Gartner, over 90% of the world’s large companies use Active Directory. Over the past two decades, it has become a cornerstone of corporate IT infrastructure. We take this privilege and the responsibility that goes with it very seriously, a responsibility to build and support this mission critical infrastructure product while continuing to bring new innovations like Dynamic Access Control in Windows Server 2012. We continue to do this for future versions of Windows Server and pretty soon we’ll have a lot of exciting news to share with you on this topic.
However as we started our efforts to create a new cloud based Identity Management as a Service platform, we knew the world had changed. If we were going to help our customers successfully bridge into the modern world of Devices and cloud services, we were going to have to do a lot of things differently:
- We were going to need to create new company directories in under a minute.
- We were going to need to scale to millions of companies with billions of users.
- We were going to have to deliver rock solid reliability and assure that even when a datacenter went down, our service wouldn’t go down.
- We were going to have to modernize our device support going beyond the PC and other Microsoft devices to support a diverse world of smartphones and tablets.
- We were going to need to based our system on modern internet standard like SAML, OAuth, OpenID, SCIM and OData 3.0.
- We were going to need to federate with popular consumer IDP’s like Microsoft Account, Facebook, Google, Yahoo and with enterprise federation servers from CA, Novell and Ping Identity
- We were going to need to build a system that respected user privacy, company data ownership and geo-political data sovereignty laws.
- We were going to need to provide world-class support developers and IT personnel working with non-Microsoft platforms.
- We were going to have to make getting a directory friction free so that every company in the world could benefit from the power of an enterprise directory without requiring a cross-company planning and deployment team.
In short, nearly everything had to change.
And if you’ve been following the Windows Azure blog on MSDN, you already know that we’re well on our way to delivering on this vision for a rock solid, open standards based Identity Management Service. But we still have a lot of work to do and as we’ve progressed, we’ve expanded our thinking and recognized new opportunities to help customers that never even occurred to us when we started. In short, we have some big dreams and can’t wait to share them with you.
So, let’s talk about Identity, Authentication, Authorization, Provisioning, SAAS Apps, Cloud services, 2 factor authentication, OU’s, Forests, Domains, and Open standards. It should be an identity geek’s dream! And heck maybe we’ll attract a few normal people to the conversation as well. And since we update our services every 6 weeks, there should be plenty to talk about.
On this blog you’ll get to hear from many different members of the Active Directory team. For major announcements, you’ll usually hear from me, but as we get into the details and inner workings of our services and products, you’ll hear directly from the engineers who are building them. We’re all going to participate—many of us will author posts, and all of us will read and take note of your comments on this blog.
We plan to participate in a constructive dialog with you. Hopefully we can all agree to keep things relatively civil and to have a dialog rather than a diatribe. As the moderator of the blog, I’m reserving the right to monitor and remove posts that are unnecessarily rude or belligerent and to turn on comment moderation if needed.
Feel free to send us your thoughts via comments or on Twitter (#windowsazureAD) — we can’t respond to every question or comment we receive, but we will review them all.
If you’re looking for notifications of posts to this plog, I’ll make sure to post links to them on my Twitter account: @Alex_A_Simons
Thanks for your time and we’re excited to get started on this journey with you!
Director of PM
Active Directory Team