Key to More Cloud Migrations Lies with Micosoft Active Directory

 Key to More Cloud Migrations Lies with Micosoft Active Directory
One of the major challenges that any provider of cloud services faces in the enterprise is the dependency most organizations have on Microsoft Active Directory (AD). For more than 20 years, IT organizations have relied on Microsoft AD for almost every aspect of how they manage access to applications. Any effort to get those organizations to move wholeheartedly to the cloud requires providing some level of equivalent functionality.
Windows_Active_Directory_logoAmazon Web Services (AWS) came to that realization this week withthe unfurling of an AWS Directory Service in the cloud that is compatible with Microsoft AD. Using an AD Connector gateway enables IT organization to synchronize their Microsoft AD instance on premise with the AWS instance to federate, for example, single sign-on capabilities between the two environments.
Microsoft, of course, also provides access to Microsoft AD functionality in its Azure cloud. In fact, just this week Microsoft touted the fact that of all the major cloud service providers it’s the only way capable of supporting a truly hybrid cloud computing environment up and down the entire enterprise application stack.
But AWS and Microsoft are not the only way to go about solving the Microsoft AD challenge in the cloud. JumpCloud, for example, has created a namesake directory-as-a-service in the cloud that is compatible with Microsoft AD. In that instance, a cloud service provider only needs to invoke the JumpCloud service to give customers access to a directory through which they can govern a hybrid cloud environment.
Another similar option would be to deploy an instance of the directory that Centrify created on the Microsoft Azure cloud that is compatible with Microsoft AD. In that instance, an IT service provider winds up deploying a directory that has already been proven in enterprise IT environments on the Microsoft cloud where many Windows applications are likely to reside.
Finally, another option IT services providers have would be to take a directory built on top of Debian Linux that is compatible with Microsoft AD and deploy it in a cloud. Developed by Univention GmbH, the Univention Corporate Server creates a set of directory services that can also be used to manage instances of Microsoft AD running on premise to create a federated cloud computing environment.
In terms of things that internal IT organizations struggle to manage, Microsoft AD is almost always among the most challenging. And yet, the dependency they have on Microsoft AD is one of the reasons IT organizations don’t move more of their existing enterprise applications into the cloud. The opportunity for IT services providers is to take advantage of any number of Microsoft AD options in the cloud to overcome those objections.
Of course, there are any number of other options when it comes to deploying a directory in the cloud that are not compatible with Microsoft AD. Many of these options have gained favor with cloud service providers because they are not as expensive or as complex to manage as Microsoft AD. But for a lot of enterprise IT organizations, any conversation about the cloud that doesn’t include Microsoft AD is not going to go nearly as far as it otherwise might.

The Role of IT in the Cloud

Cloud computing continues to grow. The power it holds is creating new opportunities for businesses of all sizes to innovate and transform. Cloud computing not only redefines a company, but it is also redefining what IT can bring to the table. In this day and age companies are seeking out a more strategic and influential IT professional who operates with speed and efficiency in a proactive matter. According to Cisco, cloud will represent nearly 30% of all IT spending by 2020.

IT leaders are looking to cloud computing in order to pivot the way business processes and outcomes are delivered. It’s no longer in your best interests to simply look to IT to manage and troubleshoot technology. Instead, increase productivity by shifting IT’s focus to advancing revenue and innovation through technology like the cloud. Transforming IT from reactive to proactive has greater value not only for the IT department, but for a business overall.

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The cost efficiency that comes with cloud computing is changing the IT department into a profit center, rather than a cost center. The need to purchase new hardware and software, and deal with installation and maintenance is no longer a requirement, nor is waiting around for trouble tickets to be resolved. IT personnel can grow into leaders and strategists instead of repairmen. They have the opportunity to achieve this by strategically analyzing business requirements, recommending new services and investments, managing overall policies, and more.

IT departments can focus on establishing flexible infrastructures as well as endorsing the partners and services, like RapidScale’s cloud solutions, that are needed to guide a business to success. IT professionals become the leading advisers for how to effectively integrate new technology that leads to innovative and positive change.

Cloud computing is changing the IT role, but it’s not threatening it. Cloud computing demonstrates the value and demand for IT to be shifted to a more strategic role. It helps redefine the effectiveness of IT and better connect the department with its business counterparts. Through cloud computing, IT can achieve:

  • Cost efficiency
  • Increased revenue
  • The transition from reactive to proactive
  • Productivity
  • A strategic role
  • Improved customer experience

Modern IT professionals are guiding business transformation that is now a requirement for an organization to remain competitive. The role isn’t phasing out. Rather, it’s gaining great importance.