Windows Azure Active Directory, also known as Windows Azure AD or WAAD for short, is Microsoft's (News - Alert) cloud-application platform for software developers or businesses that need to build, deploy and manage Web apps easily using any language or framework, on any device and platform. Not only does Windows Azure AD integrate apps with Office 365 using OAuth 2.0, it can also host these Web apps and keep an organization’s active directory running in the cloud by using the REST or Representational State Transfer protocol to facilitate the process or to run and store data in Microsoft data centers rather than on-site.
Other than using WAAD to bring Windows server to the cloud or to manage Office 365, Windows Azure Dynamics CRM Online and Windows InTune cloud properties have recently brought users two new capabilities: Web single sign-on (SSO) and Graph API, which are used to create new collaborative applications or to execute create, read, update, and delete (CRUD) operations on Windows Azure AD.
Here are the three new features added to the WAAD preview:
- The ability to create a standalone Windows Azure AD tenant
- A preview of the Directory Management User Interface (UI)
- Writing support in WAAD's Graph API
These additions of Windows Azure Active Directory offer users REST-style communications and multiple services of Web APIs, a service using HTTP and the principles of REST. This comes in handy to be used in place of SOAP- and WSDL-based interface designs.
The first new feature provides the ability to create a standalone Windows Azure AD tenant with an Office 365 account; which means one can become a valid Office 365 tenant without needing to sign up for Office 365. The same applies to any other Microsoft service, like Intune or Azure Dynamics CRM Online.
This new service has a free trial for the duration of the preview to be able to try out WAAD and the features for creating an Office 365 tenant.
The second new feature provides a preview of the WAAD management UI and it allows any service that uses Windows Azure AD as its directory such as Office 365 to use the Windows Azure AD preview portal to manage the REST interface for accessing and managing objects such as users, groups, and domains for new AD users. In addition, the Azure portal provides built-in support for managing websites as well as experimenting with Office 365’s live data through this UI.
The last feature provides users with a new Graph API, a REST-based API, to enables access to read the graph of a specified WAAD tenant, such as for Office 365 tenants. This makes it easy for Windows Azure AD to support CRUD operations for users and groups and control the interface to Office 365 or even be able to write data to their tenant's directory data.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein