What’s new in the April 2020 release of Azure AD Connect (version 1.5.18.0)?

In our March 2020 webinar “Everything you wanted to know about Azure AD Connect…”, Microsoft’s Rob de Jong talked about an upcoming release of Azure AD Connect. Well, version 1.5.18.0 is now here!

Everything you ever wanted to know about Azure AD Connect webinar recording

See below for further information about Azure AD Connect version 1.5.18.0. And, if you watch the recording of our recent webinar (available free on demand here), you can hear Rob talking about it from about 27 minutes in.

Rob also talks about some interesting features that are either in private preview, or due to be released soon. (Specifically he mentions that the release notes would include a call out for private preview of the new configuration file features. My understanding is that although this did not make it into the notes for this release, it is still very much on the cards.)

Extension of the use of the MS-DSConsistencyGUID to groups as well as users

The big change in the April 2020 release of Azure AD Connect (version 1.5.18.0) is the extension of the use of the MS-DSConsistencyGUID so that it is used with groups as well as users.

The MS-DSConsistencyGUID is generated during initial installation – it is basically a unique attribute that the AD object and the Azure AD object both have (usually it is a copy of the AD object GUID). Now if the two objects become disconnected from each other (either because of a calamity, or because the AD object gets moved to a different forest), Azure AD Connect knows how to connect them up again. This has worked well for user objects, and is now extended to group objects too. Even better, the feature is implemented without your intervention when you upgrade.

There are numerous small changes and fixes as detailed in Microsoft’s release notes, but a more profound change relates to this and ALL future releases.

Deprecation of old versions of Azure AD Connect from November 2020

Starting in November 2020, Microsoft will begin deprecating versions of Azure AD Connect more than 18 months old. At that time they will deprecate versions up to 1.3.20.0, and then at each new release they will evaluate which versions to deprecate.

It has always been best practice to run with the latest version so that you receive an optimal support experience. Probably the vast majority of users have auto update enabled anyway, and so do not have to think about this. For the rest, you should probably get up to date before November – right now it is supported to upgrade from any version to the current version (which you can download here) – but that might not always be the case.

Probably your old version will go on working fine, but you may not have the latest security fixes, performance improvements, troubleshooting and diagnostic tools and service enhancements, and if you require support Microsoft may not be able to help you. Helpfully, you will get Azure AD Connect Health notifications that warn you about upcoming deprecations when you are running one of the older versions.

Further information about the Azure AD Connect upgrade process?