Azure AD Connect – why is training important?

Azure AD Connect is an important piece of Microsoft software that has been implemented in 250,000+ organizations worldwide, but few people are aware of its full range of capabilities. And that’s why we developed our new Azure AD Connect Masterclass.

Our Azure AD Connect Masterclass was launched earlier this year, and was developed by my colleague James Cowling (CTO, Oxford Computer Group) and I in partnership with Andreas Kjellman (formerly MIM and Azure AD Connect Program Manager at Microsoft) and Jimmy Andersson (Microsoft MVP).

The training course goes far beyond the wizard. It covers Azure AD Connect in its entirety, including best practices, dos and don’ts, and optimal configuration. It also offers authoritative, structured and time-saving learning materials, including dozens of step-by-step lab exercises.

The Masterclass has already had great reviews from students. But, if you’re wondering whether you need training on Azure AD Connect, here are answers to a few questions we’re sometimes asked.

Question: We’ve already installed Azure AD Connect via the wizard. What more is there to know?

Answer: The express installation only covers the simplest of scenarios. Most organizations need a custom install, which opens up a plethora of possibilities, and an optimal installation requires additional knowledge and understanding.

Also, the wizard doesn’t cover high availability, customising rules for your particular environment, upgrading (except in the simplest configuration), and other useful scenarios such as merging groups from different AD forests.

Question: Microsoft has produced a lot of documentation that’s free. Can’t I learn what I need to know from this?

Answer: A lot of excellent documentation is available but it’s inconsistent in style and format, and it’s not structured for learning. There are also significant gaps, and even contradictions!

The Masterclass goes into great detail about Azure AD Connect, and this information is not found anywhere in the Microsoft documentation that I have seen so far. Hailemichael, Programmer/Analyst, US

Our Azure AD Connect Masterclass is a comprehensive, structured, authoritative training course that brings together information from multiple sources, augmented with our own experience of real implementations. It includes tried and tested materials, and step-by-step labs that demonstrate all the key aspects and capabilities of the product.

Question: What’s the difference between MIM and AAD Connect, and do we need to implement both?

Answer: MIM is excellent at synchronizing authoritative sources of data (e.g. HR or student registration systems) with primarily on-premises target systems such as line of business applications, ERM systems, LDAP directories, email systems and, of course, Active Directory.

Azure AD Connect is targeted at a very specific job: to synchronize multi-forest AD environments with an Azure AD tenant. Therefore, although there may be some overlap with MIM in principle, in practice they are each optimized for the job that they do, and they are designed to work together harmoniously.

Question: Can’t we use MIM to synchronize users and groups with Azure AD?

Answer: Synchronizing users and groups with Azure AD is not supported by Microsoft, and is not recommended. Azure AD Connect is continually developed to keep up to date with changes to AD and Azure AD, so you know that it’s always going to be up to date, and always going to be supported by Microsoft. Why re-invent the wheel?

Question: Surely all I need is to take all the users and groups I have on premises and replicate them in the cloud. What else is there to do?

Answer: This misses a golden opportunity. In a mature, and inevitably complex, multi-forest environment, persons will be represented more than once and as different object types (for example enabled and/or disabled users, contacts, and Foreign Security Principals). Azure AD Connect is designed to consolidate these different representations of a person to create a single user in the cloud with all of their group memberships intact.

It is also possible to consolidate different representations of the same group across forests (assuming that they can be accurately identified), but only if you understand the wizard-based configuration options plus the necessary post-wizard tweaks.

If you want a comprehensive deep-dive into this powerful technology, you need our Azure AD Connect Masterclass.

How is the Azure AD Connect Masterclass available?

  • Instructor-led public course – attend in the classroom or via Skype
  • Private course – training for your team, either on-site at your company offices or via Skype
  • Online, self-paced course – study in your own time and at your own pace. Start anytime!