Microsoft Azure AD Sync Service Gets Second Preview

Microsoft this week launched a second preview of its Azure Active Directory (AD) Sync Services that incorporates several user-suggested improvements.

The first preview version of Azure AD Sync was released in April and included support for synchronizing multiple Active Directory forests on premises, as well as synchronization with multiple premises-based Exchange deployments.

This second preview release addresses some stability issues and adds trouble-shooting tools, according to Microsoft's announcement. It also includes three improvements most requested by reviewers.

The first improvement is called "selective synchronization." It's a new checkbox option in the management portal that allows IT pros to control which applications sync with the Microsoft Azure AD service. For instance, users can specify various Office 365 applications to synchronize, such as Exchange Online, Lync Online or SharePoint Online, or even a "3rd party application."

A second most-requested improvement added to this release is the ability to reset Active Directory passwords within multiple forests. Lastly, the new beta allows organizations to have an "Exchange hybrid deployment in multiforest environments."

The Azure AD Sync service is designed for "more advanced scenarios where DirSync does not provide support," according to a Microsoft Connect description. Moreover, Microsoft eventually plans to replace DirSync with Azure AD Sync Services sometime this year, which will add more advanced capabilities.

For a walkthrough in setting up Azure AD Sync Services with Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 1 or Windows Server 2012, see this Redmond article.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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