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Microsoft Releases ADFS 2.0 and Shuffles Its Cards

Microsoft has released Active Directory Federation Services 2.0, a key component of its effort to provide single sign-on federated identity management across enterprise domains and to cloud services.

The release of ADFS 2.0 last month is Microsoft's long-awaited extension to Active Directory that provides claims-based federated identity management.

By adding ADFS 2.0 to an existing AD deployment, individuals can log in once to a Windows Server and then use their credentials to sign into any other identity-aware system or app. Because ADFS 2.0 is already built into the Microsoft cloud-services portfolio, applications built for Windows Server can be ported to those services while maintaining the same levels of authentication and federated identity management.

 John "J.G" Chirapurath, Senior Director, Microsoft Identity and Security Business Group

"The bottom line is we're streamlining how access should work and how things like single sign-on should work from on-premises to the cloud," said John "J.G." Chirapurath, senior director in the Microsoft Identity and Security Business Group, in a May interview.

Microsoft says that ADFS 2.0 can be implemented atop AD without any schema extensions being necessary. While it needs to be installed on an instance of AD running on Windows Server 2008, you don't have to have all of your AD instances up to the current release -- though they do need be on at least Windows Server 2003.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.