Windows 10 will be an Azure AD Citizen Out of the Box

Windows 10 will be an Azure AD Citizen Out of the Box

While many customers are becoming weary watching new Cloud-threaded features show up in most products, Microsoft's push for it is becoming even stronger. We saw at Ignite this year, how many customers simply can't be ready to migrate workloads to the Cloud even in the next 5 years or so, yet the conference was specifically tailored to promote it through messaging about the near future.

And, so it goes. The market pushes, customers push back, and then they finally connect somewhere near the middle. Of course, the vendor hopes that it's more of a 60/40 split so its investments show fruit.

Microsoft is expected to release its next operating system version, Windows 10, this summer. And, while we've heard a great many things about new features, attention to customer complaints about Windows 8.1, and some technology breakthroughs, we've really not heard a lot about the Cloud perspective. Azure is becoming a revenue beast, and it's the basis for everything Microsoft is developing. So, how will Windows 10 fit in the Cloud?

Microsoft has developed and published a blog post that focuses more on what customers can expect in certain SKUs of Windows 10. Windows 10 will still be a solid on-premises citizen, but it will also come with full-fledged Azure AD capabilities, if customers choose to use that. From what you can read, Microsoft is also making it deeply integrated and potentially too easy to use – meaning, any end-user can just sign-up for it and bypass local authority unless steps are taken.

Per Microsoft, here's what you can expect:

  • Self-provisioning of corporate owned devices. With Windows 10, employees can configure a brand new device in the out-of-box experience, without IT involvement.

  • Use existing organizational accounts. Employees can use their Azure AD account to login to Windows (the same account they use to sign into Office365).

  • Automatic MDM enrollment. Windows 10 PC's and tablets can be automatically enrolled in an organizations device management solution as part of joining them to Azure AD. This will work with Microsoft Intune and with 3rd party MDMs.

  • Single Sign-On to company resources in the cloud. Users will get single sign-on from the Windows desktop to apps and resources in the cloud, such as Office 365 and thousands of business applications that rely on Azure AD for authentication.

  • Single Sign-on on-premises: Windows 10 PC's and tablets that are joined to Azure AD will also provide SSO to on-premises resources when connect to the corporate network and from anywhere with the Azure AD Application Proxy.

  • Enterprise-ready Windows store. The Windows Store will support app acquisition and licensing with Azure AD accounts. Organizations will be able to volume-license apps and make them available to the users in their organization.

  • Support for modern form factors. Azure AD Join will work on devices that don't have the traditional domain join capabilities.

  • OS State Roaming. Things like OS settings, Desktop wall paper, Tile configuration, websites and Wi-Fi passwords will be synchronized across corporate owned Azure AD joined devices.

The blog post, entitled Azure Active Directory and Windows 10: Bringing the cloud to enterprise desktops!, is the start of a series that will dig into the various Azure AD features for Windows 10. The first one covers joining a device to Azure AD in the out-of-box experience, and the series will continue from there.

For enterprises, this series should be a must-read, as there will be need to be careful planning to ensure that end-users aren't abducted by the Cloud.

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