Cloud based Active Directory

2019. Google Cloud adds a managed service for Microsoft’s Active Directory

Microsoft’s Active Directory remains one of the most-used identity services in the enterprise. Google Cloud Platform has long allowed you to manually set up an Active Directory deployment, but today, Google is taking this a step further by announcing the beta of a managed service. As the name implies, Google will manage this service and automate everything from server maintenance to security configurations. Given Google’s recent focus on hybrid-cloud deployments, you also can use this service to extend your existing on-premises Active Directory domains to the cloud.

2016. Facebook Workplace will open app store to compete with Slack

One of the success secrets of the super-popular collaboration service Slack is its ability to easily integrate third-party business apps. For example, it lets your team quickly discuss the new deal pulled from CRM system or process the new ticket that came from Helpdesk or add to discussion a customer that is using Skype. Facebook has found out this secret and now wants to replicate it in its new enterprise social network Workplace. For this they are launching a platform for developers that enables easy integration with other apps. Then these integrations will appear in the Workplace app store. For now the network features integration with Google's G Suite, Microsoft's cloud Active Directory and with single sign-on services Okta and OneLogin.

2015. Google Compute Engine adds Windows Server

Google made Windows Server support on its Compute Engine platform available for all. Cloud Engine users are now covered by Google’s Compute Engine SLA when they run their applications on Windows Server 2012 R2 and the older Windows Server 2008 R2. This also means developers can now use Google’s platform to run their Active Directory, SQL Server, SharePoint, Exchange and ASP.NET servers. Google offers Microsoft License Mobility for its platform, so Microsoft customers can move their existing software licenses from their on-premise deployments to Google’s cloud without having to pay any additional licensing fees.

2014. Okta gets $75 million to develop cloud identity management solution

Cloud-based identity management provider Okta took in $75 million in a series E financing round, bringing total funding to $155 million. Okta allows companies to manage who has access to what in its internal network with its cloud-based service that functions as an IT monitoring tool. After signing up for the service, a user can install Okta’s on-premise software and tie it in with his Active Directory or other network tracking services, said Okta COO Frederic Kerrest. From there, a company can then configure its cloud services to use Octa so the software can communicate back to the cloud, thus blanketing a company’s cloud infrastructure with the same information the administrators already set up in their original firewall. Okta is not the only company creating identity management tools, as legacy companies like IBM and Oracle and several startups have their own offerings as well. But Okta seems to be the hottest company on this market right now.

2011. VMWare launches single sign-on service

As known, the main problems with SaaS-apps arise not with users, but with IT administrators, because they are losing control over what's happening. Because of this, they resist the SaaS implementation, claiming in particular, that they can't control authentication data across multiple SaaS services. To solve this problems, the new class of services appeared - SSO (Single Sign-on services). We have already reviewed one of them - OneLogin. There are some others, but all of them are semi-startups, which can't fully satisfy the IT staff. And finally there is a solution from the solid company - VMware Horizon App Manager. As other similar solutions, VMware Horizon App Manager provides users a secure Web-portal, where they can login (one time) and see the list of available SaaS apps and in-house business applications, that they can enter in one click. At the moment the list of integrated services includes Google Apps, Salesforce, NetSuite, Webex,, DropBox, Basecamp, Zoho, Zimbra, etc. And the users may not even know their passwords in these services - only the administrators knows. He also controls who can access the particular app and from which IP-address. Horizon App Manager supports all the necessary authentication technologies (including oAuth, SAML, two-factor authentication) and integrates with corporate user directory Active Directory (or other LDAP-directory). Horizon App Manager costs $30 per user per year.

2009. Windows 7 - cloud-native OS

Yesterday Windows 7 was officially released. Of course, it's a very important event for IT users and professionals, but we, first of all, wondered about how this new OS could influence the Cloud Computing sphere.  And though, at first sight, it has nothing in common with the Cloud, there are some technical aspects that make Windows 7 (in combination with its server counterpart Windows Server 2008 R2) the first cloud-native OS from Microsoft. The fact is that the Windows-based IT infrastructure highly depend on two key components: Active Directory (for network administration) and Network Access Protection (for network security). Until Windows 7 both these technologies didn't work if server was located in the Cloud (on remote server) but not in Local Area Network. Windows 7 solves these problems with 3 new services: - Offline Domain Join - allows to add computer to Active Directory without ever having it in the same network - DirectAccess - allows to log into the domain and access any services without having to VPN into the network - Active Directory Management over Web Services -  provides administrative tools over web services Besides, Windows 7 contains enhanced technologies, important for internet-based IT infrastructures: Remote Desktop (that enables access to applications running on the Terminal Server) and Microsoft Application Virtualization (application virtualization technology). And in November we are waiting for Windows Azure - the fully Cloud OS, that will run in Microsoft's data center.