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ManageEngine 2018 Predictions: On-Premises and Azure Active Directory

VMblog Predictions 2018

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2018.  Read them in this 10th annual series exclusive.

Contributed by Derek Melber, Technical Evangelist, ManageEngine

Predictions for On-Premises and Azure Active Directory

We've been guessing for years whether companies would start moving to Azure Active Directory (AD) or keep their on-premises AD. At this point, I think it is clear that we still don't know! But the future of the cloud becomes quite clear if we break down the fundamentals that organizations are considering.

First, the cloud is scary. Sure, some say that every cloud has a silver lining or that they're walking on cloud nine; but if we want to talk about cloud technology, we have to look at the truth: the cloud isn't very secure. Just like organizations' tightly controlled corporate networks, clouds are not impervious to attacks. So to minimize the risk, many companies will take their chances protecting their own data rather than putting their important information into the cloud.

Next, companies have spent time, effort, money and development on their on-premises AD. These investments make it hard to justify moving to Azure AD. Until there is a mandate or some other compelling reason for organizations to move to Azure AD, they will keep their on-premises AD (either completely or in part).

Another key concept to consider is maturity. Azure AD is an infant compared to on-premises AD. Azure AD doesn't offer nearly as much control as on-premises AD, but this is because on-premises AD is almost 18 years old. Organizations want the same controls in Azure AD as they do with on-premises, but that's just not possible yet.

If we really take a look at the push for and implementation of Azure AD, we must consider the influence that Office 365 had on Azure AD. Initially, Office 365 didn't require Azure AD, but Microsoft eventually forced the use of both as each gained popularity. It is unclear how much Azure AD implementation there would have been without Office 365.

With all of these key factors considered, where will this technology be in another five years?

At this rate, both Azure AD and Office365 are growing in popularity. Does that mean we will all be "in the cloud" in five years? There will for sure be continued adoption of the cloud but likely not as much as many want. Organizations are moving to the cloud where it makes sense, and they will continue to do so over the next few years. I'm finding that no organization (except for very small businesses) wants to move everything to the cloud and get rid of all their on-premises services. Although moving everything to the cloud might sound good in many ways, this desire is outweighed by the factors mentioned above and the need to control physical servers and data.


About the Author

derek melber 

Derek Melber, technical evangelist for the ADSolutions team at ManageEngine, a division of Zoho Corporation, is a 16-time Microsoft MVP and author of over 15 published books. Derek tours the world giving organizations and administrators insight into Windows Active Directory, Group Policy and security to improve their overall environment. For more information on ManageEngine, the real-time IT management company, please visit; follow the company blog at and on LinkedIn at, Facebook at and Twitter @ManageEngine.

Published Friday, October 20, 2017 7:32 AM by David Marshall
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