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Six Steps to Get Started with Windows Azure Active Directory

Provides Central Identity Store for Cloud Apps that is free for Production Use

Windows Azure Active Directory ( WAAD ), a cloud-friendly REST-based implementation of Active Directory for identity management of cloud applications, is now generally available for production cloud apps as a FREE service.  WAAD provides consistent centralized identity management for Microsoft Office 365, Windows Intune and your own cloud-based applications.  In addition, WAAD can be integrated with an on-premise Windows Server Active Directory via DirSync and Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) gateway components.

In this article, I’ll provide a set of resources that you can use to get started exploring and  leveraging Windows Azure Active Directory for your applications …

How does WAAD work with Windows Server Active Directory?
Watch this quick whiteboard video that introduces Windows Azure Active Directory and how it can integrate with Windows Server Active Directory.

Download this video for offline viewing.

How do I get started with Windows Azure Active Directory?

Get started with Windows Azure Active Directory by following these steps to create your Windows Azure Active Directory domain …

  1. Activate a FREE Windows Azure 90-Day Subscription to begin evaluating Windows Azure Active Directory
  2. Sign-in at the Windows Azure Management Portal with the login credentials used when activated your 90-Day FREE Subscription in Step 1 above.
  3. On the Windows Azure Management Portal, click Active Directory on the left navigation panel to navigate to the Active Directory page.

    image
    Active Directory page on Windows Azure Management Portal

    Click CREATE YOUR DIRECTORY to launch the Create Directory form to begin creating your new Active Directory domain instance.
  4. On the Create Directory form, complete the fields as noted below.

    - Domain Name: Enter a globally unique name for your new Active Directory domain instance.  This domain will initially be provisioned as subdomain inside the onmicrosoft.com public DNS domain.  You can assign a custom DNS namespace to this domain after initial provisioning is completed.

    - Country or Region: Select your closest country or region.  This selection will be used by Windows Azure to determine the Azure Datacenter Region in which your Active Directory domain instance will be provisioned and cannot be changed after provisioning.

    - Organization name: Enter your organization’s name.

    When all fields have been completed, click the image button to begin provisioning your new Windows Azure Active Directory domain instance.

    NOTE: Provisioning of your new Active Directory domain instance will require a few minutes to complete.  When completed, your new domain will be listed on the Active Directory page with a Status of Active.  When provisioning is completed, you may continue with the next step.
  5. On the Active Directory page, click on the name of your newly provisioning Active Directory instance to manage it on a Details page.

    image
    Selecting the newly provisioned Active Directory instance       
  6. On the Details page for your new Active Directory instance, note the tabs located at the top of the page as depicted below.

    image
    Tabs on Active Directory Details Page

    Each tab allows you to perform a particular set of management as follows:

    - Users – Create and Manage cloud-based users

    - Integrated Apps – Integrate your Cloud-based applications with Windows Azure Active Directory

    - Domains – Add a custom DNS domain name

    - Directory Integration – Configure integration with an on-premise Windows Server Active Directory forest.

    After exploring the details presented on each tab, continue with the next set of learning resources below.

Completed! You’ve completed the process of provisioning a new Windows Azure Active Directory instance.

Want more? Keep learning with these additional resources …

Once you've completed these resources, also be sure to check out our growing collection of Windows Azure Step-by-Step Cloud Labs at:

Build Your Lab! Build Your Lab! Download Windows Server 2012
Build Your Lab in the Cloud! Don’t Have a Lab? Build Your Lab in the Cloud with Windows Azure Virtual Machines
Join our "Early Experts" study group! Want to Get Certified? Join our Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Study Group

More Stories By Keith Mayer

Keith Mayer is a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft focused on Windows Infrastructure, Data Center Virtualization, Systems Management and Private Cloud. Keith has over 17 years of experience as a technical leader of complex IT projects, in diverse roles, such as Network Engineer, IT Manager, Technical Instructor and Consultant. He has consulted and trained thousands of IT professionals worldwide on the design and implementation of enterprise technology solutions.

Keith is currently certified on several Microsoft technologies, including System Center, Hyper-V, Windows, Windows Server, SharePoint and Exchange. He also holds other industry certifications from IBM, Cisco, Citrix, HP, CheckPoint, CompTIA and Interwoven.

Keith is the author of the IT Pros ROCK! Blog on Microsoft TechNet, voted as one of the Top 50 "Must Read" IT Blogs.

Keith also manages the Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Challenge - a FREE online study group for IT Pros interested in studying and preparing for certification on Windows Server 2012. Join us and become the next "Early Expert"!

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