Gartner Research

Microsoft Azure Active Directory: More Than an Active Directory in the Cloud, It's Microsoft's Entrée Into IDaaS

Published: 10 March 2015

ID: G00263087

Analyst(s): Nick Nikols


Microsoft has been rapidly evolving its cloud-based Azure Active Directory, and through the enticement of Office 365, the service is rapidly gaining customer adoption. This occurs with the intent of Microsoft becoming a significant identity and access management as a service provider.

Table Of Contents


  • What Azure AD Is Not
  • What Azure AD Is
    • Architecture
    • Other Services
  • What Are the Alternatives?
    • Stick With On-Premises Identity Infrastructure
    • Eschew Office 365
    • Limit Your Exposure to Azure AD
    • Utilize a Different IDaaS Provider
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses


  • Is Microsoft the Right IDaaS Provider for You?
  • Is Your On-Premises AD Environment in Good Shape?
  • Do You Have a Well-Thought-Out Cloud Exit Strategy?

The Details

  • Data Model for Azure AD
  • Managing Data in Azure AD
  • The Azure AD Access Panel
  • Azure AD Graph API
    • REST API Endpoints
    • Authentication
    • Role-Based Authorization
    • Differential Query
    • Directory Extensions
  • Graph-API-Based Applications
    • Single-Tenant Application
    • Multitenant Application (SaaS)
  • Licensing

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