I have small business, 63 people now, but we are growing slowly. We have no Active Directory, we use Office 365 for email, and about 25% use Macs. We are kind of spread out, 3 offices with more than 5 people, and several folks work from home 100%

I'd like to have:

  1. Active directory (management, security, etc)
  2. Network drive for shared storage
  3. Integration/Federation with Office 365
  4. No local servers

I'm thinking of building several IaaS VMs in Azure:

  1. Domain controller to federate with Azure AD (or do I need separate ADFS or DirSync)
  2. Direct Access server and deploy the client to all my workstations (works with Macs?)
  3. File Server with 500GB shared drive
  4. Anything else I'd need?
  • You might be able to make this work, but if you're asking I'd assume you think this is all somewhat easy to setup but have never done any of it before... This looks like a good job for a consultant. – Chris S Feb 15 '14 at 0:29

I don't think there's any official deployment guides for AD on Azure - and yes, you would still need to deploy ADFS or DirSync, because your AD (even in a cloud) wouldn't magically trust Office 365's infrastructure.

Direct Access only works on Windows 7 or 8, Enterprise Edition or Ultimate (for 7.) No Mac client. Domain join via DA can be tricky although I understand it works better with Win2012 R2 now.

For shared storage, why don't you just use SkyDrive and/or SharePoint in Office 365? That's what it's there for.

Instead of AD, which really doesn't do this well yet, perhaps you can look into things like InTune or some other MDM (mobile device management) tool?

  • Thanks! Intune does look very promising for device management. I was hoping to not have to go Sharepoint just yet, that would be cross platform supported though. Thank you for the feedback! – Paul Bell Feb 15 '14 at 15:31

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