Active Directory in Azure Vs Azure Active Directory, Manhattans Project

In this episode of the Manhattans Project, Neil Sly, one of 10th Magnitude’s Cloud Consultants joins me to compare Active Directory in Azure and Azure Active Directory. How do the two services differ from each other? What are the business benefits to using Azure Active Directory directly? Let’s find out! Here are some highlights from our chat:

Michael: So let’s start with a quick summary. What is Azure Active Directory?

Neil: Azure Active Directory is a service from within Azure. It’s offered as a pay-as-you-go PaaS service. It’s similar to having Microsoft hosting your SQL servers. So if you’re familiar with the differences between hosting a SQL server on an Azure virtual machine or using Azure SQL Server, it’s the same thing. Azure Active Directory is a service provided from within Azure itself. Primarily now, it revolves around identity, but there are some neat features coming up in preview where you can join machines up to that Active Directory.

Michael: How does that differ from simply hosting Active Directory in Azure?

Neil: The use cases are obviously different. Azure hosts VMs for us, so Active Directory in a VM comes with the same sort of issues you run into hosting it on-prem. You need to maintain the patching of the virtual machine. You need to maintain the Active Directory environment itself which is certainly no small task. You need to manage backups.
So the normal care and feeding of Active Directory is still there, all you’ve done is taken the workload of an on-prem server and moved it into the cloud. And that has a number of different benefits! Resiliency is one. Getting a domain controller out of your physical environment is certainly a great thing as well, it just differs from Azure Active Directory.
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You can find Neil on Twitter at @neilsly
Pull up a chair, pour yourself a drink and enjoy. Cheers!