Amazon Targets Microsoft with AWS Directory ServiceAmazon Targets Microsoft with AWS Directory Service
A new service from Amazon Web Services will put the company in direct competition with Microsoft in the realm of directory services. Although designed to work with on-premise Microsoft Active Directory deployments, AWS Directory Service is also being touted as a cloud-based alternative to the Microsoft technology.
October 23, 2014
A new service from Amazon Web Services (AWS) will put the company in direct competition with Microsoft (MSFT) in the realm of directory services. Although designed to work with on-premise Microsoft Active Directory deployments, AWS Directory Service is also being touted as a cloud-based alternative to the Microsoft technology.
As Jeff Barr, chief evangelist for Amazon Web Services, noted in a blog post, a centralized directory reduces administrative work when it comes to employee hires, exits and role changes. But he took aim at Microsoft by writing, “Administrators should not have to maintain one directory service for on-premises users and services, and a separate, parallel one for the cloud. Ideally, on-premises and cloud-based services could share and make use of a single, unified directory service.”
That’s where Amazon is hoping to provide a differentiating product, although it will be an uphill battle to carve out market share from the incumbent Active Directory.
Amazon executives clearly understand that, though, as AWS Directory Service is being provided in two flavors—one that simply supports on-premise Active Directory deployments from the cloud and another that enables organizations to completely switch their directory services to the cloud. The second version is a Samba-based directory on the Amazon public cloud.
“If your organization already has a directory, you can now make use of it from within the cloud using the AD Connector directory type,” Barr wrote. “This is a gateway technology that serves as a cloud proxy to your existing directory, without the need for complex synchronization technology or federated sign-on.”
Simple AD, the version intended to fully replace any directory services organizations may have (or were planning to deploy), was designed to support most of the common Active Directory features. According to Barr, both AD Connector and Simple AD are secure and easy to use.
Both services are available in Amazon regions US East (Northern Virginia), US West (Oregon), Asia Pacific (Sydney), Asia Pacific (Tokyo) and Europe (Ireland). Pricing begins at 5 cents per hour for small directories (up to 10,000 users) and 15 cents per hour for large directories (up to 100,000 users). Prices vary by region.
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