A second look at Azure AD Connect Public Preview 2

Before viewing this post please refer back to my following articles if you require a base understanding of Microsoft Azure ADConnect and the features available.

  • I first posted on AADConnect and AADSync back in August last year.
  • I also presented on Cloud Identities at TechEd Melbourne and Sydney last year here.

This post will focus on what is new and what has changed.

As posted by Alex Simons (Azure AD Director) the Microsoft Azure ADConnect preview 2 was released earlier this year. I downloaded Azure AD Connect Public Preview Download from here. I started the installer and was presented with the screen to install the services. Note: I could have specified a SQL server if my Domain was large enough to warrant this (Microsoft recommends this for over 50,000 + users). I could specift a Service Account if that was a company requirement. I could also select import settings if I had a previous configuration that I wanted to apply to this ADSync server.  I left all options unselected and selected install.

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The next option was to specifiy what I wanted to install, ADSync or SSO. I selected ADSync.

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I then entered my Azure Global Admin credentials. The installer now creates and assigns a service account within Azure AD with the minimum permissions that it requires, which is a great improvement. I then entered my On-Premises credentials (this also creates a service account).

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The following option allows for Group Based filtering.  I noted that you can only specify 1 group here which may suit some customers who do not wish to use OU based filtering. Microsoft added this option with the intention of pilot and evaluations of Azure AD and Office 365.  I selected ‘Synchronise all users and devices’.

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Here I specify that a user is represented only once across all directories.

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Here you can change your user attribute mappings.  This may be required if you are using for example Shibboleth for SSO or if you have some other customised requirements.

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Optional features can be modified later, so don’t be overwhelmed by the amount of options.  You can re-run the wizard to make changes later if you need.

  • Exchange Hybrid- For an Exchange Hybrid migration to Office 365.
  • Azure AD attributes- if you only want to sync a smaller set of user attributes.
  • Password writeback- change a password in Azure AD and it writes back to On-Premises and verifies the On-Premises password policy.
  • User writeback- A user created in Azure AD is created in On-Premises AD.
  • Group writeback- Groups in Office 365 will be written back to your On-Premises Exchange forest.
  • Device Sync- Allows for Windows 10 computers enrolled with Intune or directly with Azure AD to sync to On-Premises AD. (we are seeing the start of managing a Windows-as-a-Service subscription model). This is called ‘Cloud registered Devices’. NOTE: This requires a 2012 R2 schema.
  • Directory extension- Use this if you want to sync a unique attribute to Azure AD, eg. a custom Linux attribute, or an Employee ID (currently limitations apply to certian values and characters).

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The screenshot below is for Azure AD attributes.  So in my example I will not be using CRM so I remove the syncing of these attributes.

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Below we have the option to remove attributes from being Synced.  Eg. An organisation may have extended their schema and used “extensionAttribute’s”. Perhaps these contain sensitive information, the administrator can simply uncheck these attributes so they are not synced.

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Here we confirm which On-Premise destination we want to use for User writeback. Select the Users OU. Note: you can add/merge many domains to the one Azure AD subscription, so Write-Back destination is required. 

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Here I ticked the box to start a sync after install.

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Here you can see I have run the miisclient and can see that 60 objects have been synced automatically.

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Here was can easily see errors. My user account had an error because AD and AAD had the exact same display name of aaron.whittaker. For this test environment I will ignore this error.

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Next in Azure AD I create a new user called CloudUser1

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Back on my Sync server I selected connectors at the top, then selected my Azure AD and run a ‘Full Synchronization’.

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Below you can see the event for the CloudUser1 being synced to On-Premises.

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Here we can verify that the user has been synced.  You can see I have applied an On-Premises group membership permission to a Cloud User.

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To view my post on upgrading to AADConnect GA from Beta see my post here.

To get started refer to the following articles:

Post by Alex Simons

And follow these twitter handles:

@askariel  @Alex_A_Simons

To start planning for your business transformation you can deploy and test these features all from within your Microsoft Azure subscription.  If you don’t have a Microsoft Azure subscription you can take a trial here.

Aaron Whittaker
@AaronW2003

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Azure Active Directory and Windows 10: Microsoft’s Hybrid Vision

Azure Active Directory and Windows 10: Microsoft’s Hybrid Vision

As more and more companies make the transition from On-Premise to the Cloud, Microsoft believes that there will be a phase where companies run both data centers in parallel.  Microsoft believes that this Hybrid state will last for approximately 10 years.  Beyond these years most workloads will be in the cloud.

How can organisations manage users and devices from a single source of truth?  Microsoft has assisted with this Hybrid state allowing companies to administer cloud users, all with the assistance of Azure ADConnect. Today we are in a Cloud First era, if Cloud is not supported why not?

The days of imaging devices and adding them domains maybe coming to an end.  Companies will soon be able to manage Windows 10 (slated for first update) by simply joining them to Azure AD, with Azure AD Join.

This will be compatible with Microsoft Intune. Users will get a single sign on experience from their on premise applications, device and their cloud applications. This will be the start of large organisational process changes and is important as companies look to manage the plethora of mobile devices.  If your next device refresh is the same as your last one, it may be an outdated solution.

Let’s go for a test!  I installed Windows 10 build 10074 with Hyper-V on my laptop with 1.5 gig ram allocated (works, but definently needs resources), after installing I was presented with this screen

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Here you can click Express or Custom, this just changes your Feedback and other experience related settings, then I got a loading screen

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Then I selected “This Device Belongs to my Company”

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I clicked continue make sure you read this screen first

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Then I typed in my username and password

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I got my password wrong first time, but this error gave me something interesting, my Azure AD branding that I configured at TechEd Australia last year came through.

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Then I got this screen, after 10 minutes watching the circle I went got a coffee then played with my phone.

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Then I got this log in screen

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Logging in

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Then this error.  Not sure if it was a VM, network or ram issue.

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I selected Try Again and it worked immediately.  Please note the default PIN complexity requirements.  This pin may now automatically work across several different devices.

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But what does this mean and what has happen to my machine?  It is not on a domain, but if you check the sysinfo it says my logon server is \\AzureAD.

Edit:  I tested SSO for Office 365 and Azure as suggested by Alex Simons.  I could only get Azure SSO to work.  With Office 365 each time I tried to enter the URL it would redirect back to Office 365 login page.

I am sure in the coming months we will see more features and capabilities added.  Keep a look out for more on this topic at this year TechEd’s, Ignite and Build events around the world.

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The key benefits and capabilities of Azure Active Directory and Windows 10:

  • Consistent user experience.
  • Single Sign on
  • Automatic Enrollment
  • Support modern form factors – devices that don’t have domain join functions.

This feature has huge potential so it is good to start planning any organisational transformations before Windows 10 goes GA.

Look at the following comment from Deniz regarding this new feature”Works great, well done, already started planning to decommission all onprem servers including ADs and work with AzureAD only with a fileserver vm in Azure.”

To get started refer to the following article:

Post by Alex Simons and Ariel Gordon

And follow these twitter handles

@aaronw2003  @Alex_A_Simons @askariel

To start planning for your business transformation you can deploy and test these features all from within your Microsoft Azure subscription and a VM.  If you don’t have an Microsoft Azure subscription you can take a trial here.

Aaron Whittaker @AaronW2003

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