Less than one year has passed since we started to talk about how this new service, Windows Azure Active Directory, could handle identity for your own cloud apps with the same infrastructure that powers Microsoft’s own SaaS services: Office365, Intune, Windows Azure itself…
It’s been a great journey: we released preview bits often, working with you to gather your feedback and ensure that the new service meets your needs.

Today Alex announced on the Windows Azure blog that Windows Azure Active Directory is ready for production!

You can read all the details in Alex’s announcement: here I just want to briefly share my personal perspective on the matter.

Thank You for Your Feedback

This is the first service that I saw start to RTM since I joined the engineering team, and I can tell you firsthand that your feedback has been invaluable to shape direction and features.
From partners and customers setting up pilot projects to casual commenters on the forums and blogs, going through our fantastic community of MVPs, Insiders and Regional Directors, your passion and the feedback that came out of it had a major impact on the product. I know lots of you will be pleasantly surprised by what you’ll see in the new portal today!

Keep being vocal guys, I can tell you it really works. Thanks again Smile

New Features

At the cost of being pedantic, I recommend reading Alex’s announcement for all the details. However, if I’d have to summarize, here there’s what’s new:

  • The Web Sign On and the Graph API endpoints are generally available. You can now go in production with applications taking advantage of those endpoints
    • Yes, it’s still free with a Windows Azure subscription Smile
  • Windows Azure subscriptions based on a Microsoft Account can now create and manage a Windows Azure Active Directory tenant directly in the Windows Azure portal
  • You can now register and manage applications to use SSO and Graph access directly in the Windows Azure portal
    • You no longer need to register apps in the Seller hub
  • SaaS applications meant to be accessed (SSO and Graph access) by multiple tenants are also managed in the Windows Azure portal

That’s pretty sweet. I’ve been working with this from its very beginning, and I can tell you that the ease of use of the portal is light years ahead from anything you used during the preview.

New Developer Content!

You are not going to find here a very long blog post about the new GA features. The reason is… that this time I wrote directly for MSDN!
Few weeks ago I was drafted to write two walkthroughs about key scenarios, using Windows Azure AD for Web sign on with LoB applications and identity for multitenant applications. My good friend and colleague Edward Wu was asked to do the same for describing how to use the Directory Graph.
We wanted to write something different from the usual tutorials, going beyond describing a toy sample… something that would help you to set up a working solution, sure, but that at the same time would help you to truly understand the key aspects of the technologies being used.   

Well, the result is a set of really long walkthroughs (surprised?Winking smile) that, I believe, you’ll find very thorough.

The big advantage of writing official documentation is that it really is a team effort, which leads to superior results: the authors might have been the ones seeding the process but then testers, writers and an army of reviewers verify, filter and refine to bring the content to a much higher bar. But hey, I am biased! You be the judge, the links are below:.

Amazing Numbers

One thing I like to remind myself is that what is being released today is the ability to use AAD for your own applications; however, the directory itself has been joyously humming for months already, serving the need of 2.9 Million organizations. 65 BILLION authentication requests just in the last 90 days, with 99.97% or better monthly availability!

All that power is now at the fingertips of all Windows Azure customers. As it is customary for me to say in those cases: I can’t wait to see what you’ll do with it! Smile

 

5 Responses to Windows Azure Active Directory Reaches General Availability

  1. [...] Yesterday Windows Azure Active Directory became generally available. As part of the launch we provided three tutorials that not only show you how to tackle important scenarios end to end, but they are also full of useful tricks that can be reused even in different contexts. As I did yesterday for Walkthrough #1: Adding Sign-On to Your Web Application Using Windows Azure AD, here I am going to call out (for your and search engines’ benefit) the pieces of reusable guidance you can find in Walkthrough #3: Developing Multi-Tenant Web Applications with Windows Azure AD. [...]

  2. [...] the various announcements and walkthroughs you had the chance to experience the changes in Windows Azure AD’s product [...]

  3. [...] all the exciting things going on in this space (Windows Azure AD GA! New preview features!) there should be no shortage of [...]

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