One of the most complex parts of the whole cloud story is Identity Management and Access Control. To help you master this complexity Microsoft released Windows Azure Access Control(ACS) as one of it first cloud services. Today ACS has evolved to Windows Azure Active Directory, an Active Directory solution built for the cloud.
Just before the year ending Microsoft announced that two key features of Windows Azure Active Directory became available at no charge:
- Access control provides centralized authentication and authorization by integrating with consumer identity providers, such as Facebook, or using on-premises Windows Server Active Directory. By having Access Control available you can create a single application that can allow users to login with both their Organizational Credentials stored in Windows Azure AD or Windows Server AD, or to login in using popular consumer service identity services like Microsoft Account, Facebook, Google, or Twitter. Historically, Access Control has been priced based on the number of transactions.
- Core Directory & Authentication enables capabilities such as single sign-on, user and group management, directory synchronization and directory federation.