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Microsoft Releases Second Preview of Azure AD Sync Services

Microsoft announced a second preview release of its Azure Active Directory (AD) Sync Services solution this week.

The first preview release of Azure AD Sync Services, back in April, included support for synchronizing multiple Active Directory forests on premises with the public cloud-based Microsoft Azure AD service. It supported synchronization with multiple premises-based Exchange deployments, too.

This second preview release of Azure AD Sync Services addresses some stability issues and adds trouble-shooting tools, according to Microsoft's announcement. It also includes three improvements most requested by reviewers.

The first improvement is called "selective synchronization." It's a new checkbox option in the management portal that allows IT pros to control which applications sync with the Microsoft Azure AD service. For instance, users can specify various Office 365 applications to synchronize, such as Exchange Online, Lync Online or SharePoint Online, or even a "3rd party application."

A second most-requested improvement added to this release is the ability to reset Active Directory passwords within multiple forests. Lastly, the new beta allows organizations to have an "Exchange hybrid deployment in multiforest environments."

The Azure AD Sync service is designed for "more advanced scenarios where DirSync does not provide support," according to a Microsoft Connect description. Moreover, Microsoft eventually plans to replace DirSync with Azure AD Synch Services sometime this year, which will add more advanced capabilities.

For a walkthrough in setting up Azure AD Sync Services with Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 1 or Windows Server 2012, see this Redmond article.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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