Kevin McCauley

The Future of IT is SaaS and PaaS. It's time to get started!

Azure Active Directory – Microsoft’s Big Bet on Azure

Active Directory (AD) has been a critical factor of the success of Windows Server since it was first released in December 2000.  Back then, it was Exchange Server (and it’s requirement on AD) that drove sales of Windows Server.  In 2014 it’s O365 that driving the sales of Azure Active Directory.  However, any business currently running a version of Windows Server Active Directory (2003, 2008, 2012) should look at Azure Active Directory.  Especially if they are using commercial SaaS products like, Dropbox, ServiceNow, GoToMeeting, Concur etc.  Don’t make the mistake of early adopters that are barely managing a myriad of identifies.

Microsoft is making a huge investment in Azure Active Directory (AAD).  Today, AAD contains a small subset of features that are part of Windows Server Active Directory and the Forefront Identity Manager.  However, Microsoft has been steadily releasing new capabilities to close the gap.  You can expect Microsoft to continue making big investments in Azure Active Directory.  Look for a major upgrade announcement in the beginning of Oct 2014.

Key Azure Active Directory Features:

  • Single sign-on to any cloud app
  • Enforce Multi-Factor Authentication with SaaS
  • Works with multiple platforms and devices
  • Integrate with on-premises Active Directory

Active Directory Resources:

Recent News (Sept 2014)


High Availability / Disaster Recovery (HADR) Deployment Architectures for Azure

f you new to Azure and kicking the tires on SQL IaaS, you’ll want to make sure you are aware of these 4 options for HADR.   Don’t forget to allocate some time to install / configure Active Directory for the high-end solutions.

SQL Server HADR technologies that are supported in Azure include:

  1. AlwaysOn Availability Groups
  2. Database Mirroring
  3. Log Shipping
  4. Backup and Restore with Azure Blob Storage Service

Full article:


Top 3 Reasons Why Docker is Taking Off

Docker is hot and every major cloud platform is embracing as fast as possible.  What’s driving the move to Docker and container technology?  

  1. The operating system is increasing irrelevant
  2. PaaS is the new middlewear
  3. Vitalization technologies facilitate container technology

Read the full article

Build, Ship and Run Any App, Anywhere
Docker - An open platform for distributed applications for developers and sysadmins

Related Links: 


How to Move Your Data/Files to Microsoft Azure

Once you get started with Microsoft Azure, it won’t be long before you’ll want to start copying files from your computer/server.  Unfortunately, there isn’t any convenient desktop tools like OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon Cloud Drive etc. that let you just copy and synch from (Windows explorer / Mac finder).  Most of the tools are “old school” command line tools.  Today you have a choice of AzCopyAzure PowerShellAzure Storage Client Library for .NET or through explorer  tools. Here’s a short list as of August 2014:

My guess is that Microsoft will upgrade / create a comprehensive tool in the near future that’s as easy as the ubiquitous desktop synch tools used by millions of consumers today.


Top 3 Web Site Tools for Microsoft Azure


If you are thinking on making the move to Azure Web Sites, it’s a great time to look at these 3 Content Management Systems: WordPress, Joomia and Drupal.  The following review from is outstanding: 


Directory Services is an Excellent First Use Case for Azure

After you have done your homework and picked a cloud platform, one of the first use cases I recommend investigating for your business is Directory Services.  If you’ve been a traditional Microsoft Active Directory (AD) Customers, I recommend looking into the New Azure Active Directory service.  Extending AD into Azure opens numerous possibilities for SaaS, Mobile and LoB integration and is the foundation of a true cloud architecture.  Microsoft just released new features this week with Azure Active Directory Sync Beta 2.  Enterprise customers will appreciate the support for Selective sync, improved password reset & exchange hybrid support.

Beta 2 Features:

  • Selective synchronization which enables you to only sync attributes required for the services you want to enable.
  • AD password reset with multi-forests.
  • Exchange hybrid deployment in multi-forests environments which enables you to have mailboxes in Office 365 as well as in your on-premises exchange.

You’ll find more information on the Active Directory Blog

Azure AD Interview

My Interview with Magazine is published.  The article highlights Hanu Software making the 100 Most Promising Solution Providers list.  The article also covers my recent experiences customers move to Microsoft Azure.








Why Docker is Disruptive

Docker enables the creation of application containers that are much more efficient than running separate virtual machines in a cloud computing environment. This is why application containers are called a form of “operating system virtualization” whereas virtual machines, using a hypervisor, virtualize the computing hardware (aka a server).

Microsoft Doesn’t Support Exchange on Azure

There’s a difference between technically sound and supported.  The following story from a Texas Healthcare provider illustrates the difference.  The comments in response to the story are actually more interesting than the story.

“Their (Microsoft’s) words were ‘while it is legally and technically feasible, Microsoft has chosen not to provide support for such a configuration (Exchange on Azure) at this time and has documented this.’ We backed out of an agreement on Azure, costing us $30,000 in losses, delays, and increased risks.”

Azure cloud support shock for Texas healthcare provider

Microsoft Azure


Docker, the Next Big Thing in Cloud Computing

Docker is barely a year old and every major cloud vendor (Microsoft, Amazon, Google, etc) is embracing.  Google is the latest to get on board.

You can think of Docker as a shipping container for things on the internet–a tool that lets online software makers neatly package their creations so they can rapidly move them from machine to machine to machine.


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