No More AD Servers

The server-less future is closer than you think.

I have been predicting that Microsoft would soon allow workstations to be joined directly to their Office 365 cloud-based domain (Azure AD for you techies) for some time, and that time has come.  What in the world does this mean to me, you ask?  Well, it means that one of the few remaining reasons to have a server onsite is fading away. 

To most of you this means having to press CTRL+ALT+DEL before you can log into your workstation.  It is very important that we can control who logs into workstations, and thus an AD domain server is a requirement at most businesses.  We could move all the corporate data to the cloud, email to the cloud, but would still be stuck supporting a single server onsite to run the AD services. 

In the new cloud-based technology world workstations are everywhere, and they do not necessarily “visit” the corporate network all that often.  There are many solutions to this issue but none of them are as clean as having the computer be able to join the domain just like your mobile phone can have email setup on it. 

Microsoft built in the ability for the new Windows 10 operating system to be joined directly to their cloud-based Azure AD services.  If you are already on any of the Microsoft Office 365 services you ALREADY have a username setup in this service and joining your workstation is possible.  So now we can enable the truly cloud-based corporate infrastructure.  All your devices can be “mobile” and your network security and controls remain intact.  

A word of caution: these services are just now rolling out and it will take some good planning to transition your current on-premise AD servers to the full cloud-based Azure AD services.  Stringfellow will be validating our preferred method for accomplishing this and rolling out across Clients in the future.  We are getting closer and closer to a server-less network, and that’s just fine by me!

Written by: Edward Stringfellow