On Tuesday, Amazon's Jeff Barr took to the AWS blog to announce a new service that falls in direct competition with Azure Active Directory. AWS Directory Service is intended to bring authentication and directory object management to Amazon's Cloud services.
While AWS Directory Service is a new offering for Amazon, directory services, in general, is not new. Microsoft's Active Directory for on-premises is pretty much the standard for businesses and has been for some time. Born out of early versions of Exchange, Microsoft's Active Directory links users and computers together in a Windows domain to provide authentication and security. Microsoft's Azure Active Directory (AD) takes the same concepts and brings the functionality to the Cloud. Recent improvements allow on-premises and Cloud-based accounts to synchronize, effectively providing a seamless transition back and forth from one-premises to Cloud services.
Directory Services for the Cloud is critical and Amazon sees that. Directory Services is the crown jewel of the Cloud. AWS Directory Service is Samba-based, but also provides a connector to allow AWS customers to living in a Microsoft world inside the business to utilize the same type of conduit Microsoft provides. AWS Directory Service also works on its own (without the connector), giving those without directory services capabilities already to start from scratch.
But, let's be clear. The true goal here is to try and wean Windows-centric businesses off Microsoft services completely. Companies without a directory service now, that are using AWS as a Cloud provider, can get started right away. Amazon hopes that as companies migrate their on-premises environments to be run in the Cloud 100 percent, they'll choose AWS and the Microsoft-based Active Directory will be cast off.
Of course, the AWS Directory Service works best with AWS products. And, it's a great idea, but is wrought with one simple problem: Companies are not considering moving their entire operations to the Cloud anytime soon. It's clear that companies are utilizing more and more Cloud service these days in a Hybrid model fashion, but due to infrastructure investments, security, and privacy concerns, the short term (5-10 years) outlook says on-premises is still king.
You can check out the new service here: AWS Directory Service
Jeff Barr's full description of AWS Directory Services is here: New AWS Directory Service
Originally noticed on our sister site, Talkin' Cloud.