The year 2013 for Microsoft was a year full of new ideas, developments and improvements. One of their hottest products this year was Windows Azure. Think about Windows Azure as a new type of "cloud platform" which allows users to quickly build and deploy multiple applications. The use cases for Azure range from infrastructure to storage needs, SQL databases to service buses and from virtual machines to virtual networks. The datacenters, which run and store these applications, are available all around the world making it convenient to deploy near your customers and business for geographic redundancy. One of the great benefits of this flexible platform is the ability to develop and build any type of application in any language using the tools and framework most suitable to your business needs.
B2B Tech and Azure
B2B Technologies has worked closely with the Azure platform and helped many customers by hosting and developing custom applications. We've even been inducted into the top tier of Microsoft's Azure partners, known as the Azure Circle Program. As stated previously, there are hundreds of applications and ways that Azure can be utilized, but B2B Tech has a few specific applications where we specialize:
- Hosting DirSync for Office 365 users
- Use of Active Directory to provide Single Sign-On for all web applications
- Hosting SharePoint and Custom Websites
- Hosting Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) for Office 365 and other applications
Directory Synchronization, or DirSync, is exactly what it is called – a way for different types of local directories to be synched back to a cloud environment. It's a great benefit for large companies who constantly edit and update their local directories. The local directory is manually updated in one location and then synched back and stored in the cloud. DirSync has the ability to work within Office 365 and Windows Azure Active Directory (AD).
Most people are probably familiar with an Active Directory but you may not realize you are. Active Directory houses all users, permissions, updates, files, employees and other static company data in one location. An Active Directory is often setup in businesses, organizations, schools and public places where computer access is necessary yet keeping confidential information protected is vital. Active Directory analyzes user sign-on credentials and controls the access and information that specific user has been granted via the system administrator. Most organizations use some type of Active Directory instance as it saves companies money, but more importantly it saves IT Departments countless hours of manually updating each individual machine in their network. There are other directory services, but Active Directory is the Microsoft-developed and run directory service that we prefer to deploy for our customers.
Single Sign-On is a feature that gives a user access to all permitted files and programs by using one set username and password. In the past, users have been forced to create and remember multiple usernames and passwords causing frustration and confusion when working with various programs. Now, Single Sign-On is available in Microsoft's Active Directory.