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Azure AD DS features and benefits

To provide identity services to applications and VMs in the cloud, Azure AD DS is fully compatible with a traditional AD DS environment for operations such as domain-join, secure LDAP (LDAPS), Group Policy, DNS management, and LDAP bind and read support. LDAP write support is available for objects created in the managed domain, but not resources synchronized from Azure AD.

The following features of Azure AD DS simplify deployment and management operations:

  • Simplified deployment experience: Azure AD DS is enabled for your Azure AD tenant using a single wizard in the Azure portal.

  • Integrated with Azure AD: User accounts, group memberships, and credentials are automatically available from your Azure AD tenant. New users, groups, or changes to attributes from your Azure AD tenant or your on-premises AD DS environment are automatically synchronized to Azure AD DS.

    • Accounts in external directories linked to your Azure AD aren't available in Azure AD DS. Credentials aren't available for those external directories, so can't be synchronized into a managed domain.

  • Use your corporate credentials/passwords: Passwords for users in Azure AD DS are the same as in your Azure AD tenant. Users can use their corporate credentials to domain-join machines, sign in interactively or over remote desktop, and authenticate against the managed domain.

  • NTLM and Kerberos authentication: With support for NTLM and Kerberos authentication, you can deploy applications that rely on Windows-integrated authentication.

  • High availability: Azure AD DS includes multiple domain controllers, which provide high availability for your managed domain. This high availability guarantees service uptime and resilience to failures.

    • In regions that support Azure Availability Zones, these domain controllers are also distributed across zones for additional resiliency.

    • Replica sets can also be used to provide geographical disaster recovery for legacy applications if an Azure region goes offline.

Some key aspects of a managed domain include the following:

  • The managed domain is a stand-alone domain. It isn't an extension of an on-premises domain.

    • If needed, you can create one-way outbound forest trusts from Azure AD DS to an on-premises AD DS environment. For more information, see Resource forest concepts and features for Azure AD DS.

  • Your IT team doesn't need to manage, patch, or monitor domain controllers for this managed domain.

For hybrid environments that run AD DS on-premises, you don't need to manage AD replication to the managed domain. User accounts, group memberships, and credentials from your on-premises directory are synchronized to Azure AD via Azure AD Connect. These user accounts, group memberships, and credentials are automatically available within the managed domain.

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