Enter Windows 8, Exit Active Directory

Posted on April 25, 2012 by admin

If you ask most network administrators microsoft windows 8what their most important tools are, Active Directory is likely to be included in the list. This networking tool is used for so many different tasks that it’s hard to imagine the networking world without it; however, that is exactly what network admins are going to have to do in the near future. According to ZDNet and other sources, Active Directory will be no more once Windows 8 enters the market (this applies only to Windows on ARM [WOA], not Windows on Intel).

What is Active Directory?
Active Directory is an exceptionally powerful tool. It’s what network administrators use to set the security for networks, to add and remove users, to bring in users from remote locations, and more. Permissions and groups are at the heart of security and, because of that, losing this feature is a very big deal for network administrators who are accustomed to controlling their networks through Active Directory.

What is the Alternative?
Windows 8 is going to require some big changes for network administrators. According to ZDNet, the solution for Active Directory tasks will be Intune, a cloud-based program that will cost $11 per user per month. This means that administrators will have to take their user management into the cloud, something about which not all of them will likely be pleased. The operating system (OS) is also going to require that administrators learn to manage RT, the Windows 8 version for tablet devices. This will entail some effort, and (according to sources quoted in the ZDNet article) not all network administrators are impressed with what Windows 8 has to offer versus more well known options, such as iPad tablets.

Change and Resistance
There is always a lot of resistance to changing over from one OS to another, especially when that new OS involves changes that take away administrative tools that network experts are accustomed to and that they’ve come to understand very well. For many network administrators, using Active Directory to add and remove users, change security, and address other issues could be done almost on pure reflex; as such, this will be a big loss.

Windows NT, however, came and went, and so did many other products and interfaces before it. Windows 8 will likely redefine how a lot of tasks get done in the business world, and network administrators will not be exempt from the changes.

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