Azure AD Connect: developing our new training course has been a revelation to me!

We at Oxford Computer Training have been doing something unusual over the last few months. While we have a successful track record of developing quality training for products (mainly Microsoft products) which relate to Identity and Security, this is the first time that we have dared to develop training for a product which is free.

I am talking about our new Azure AD Connect Masterclass which makes its public debut today in Oxford, UK!

Azure AD Connect is related to our old friend, the synchronization engine in all Microsoft products from MIIS through ILM, FIM and now MIM. It synchronizes information from your on-premises Active Directory into Microsoft’s cloud-based Azure Active Directory, so that you are able to use services like Office 365, as well as the fascinating range of Identity, Security and Remote Access solutions (all “as a service”) provided in the Microsoft Azure platform.

On top of this synchronization capability, Azure AD Connect encompasses powerful capabilities to configure ADFS and other connectivity features to enable seamless integration between your Active Directory and Azure Active Directory environments.

Azure AD Connect has been around for a while, so why develop a new training course now?

Oxford Computer Group’s consultants in the US and Europe have been guiding customers in their implementations of Office 365 and related services for years now. At the start, the services – at least from an Identity point of view – were pretty simple. Now, they are increasingly complex.

The correct configuration and reliable operation of Azure AD Connect has become mission-critical in many organizations

Customers need help to understand the services available, how they are applicable to the problem at hand, and how the services are to be enabled and maintained using the existing management and audit tools in the organization. Thus, the correct configuration and reliable operation of Azure AD Connect has become mission-critical in many organizations.

Azure AD Connect has a helpful wizard, but what happens when things change?

We have observed that many implementations of Azure AD Connect are somewhat, shall we say, “black box”. There is a helpful wizard, and the installation and initial configuration are made unusually simple.

But what happens when things change? Another forest has to be synchronized, another email domain, another company must be integrated.

  • How to move forward?
  • How to maintain reliability?
  • What configuration is supported, and what isn’t?
  • When will the system automatically upgrade itself, and when is this not possible?
The first Azure AD Connect Masterclass gets underway!
The first public Azure AD Connect Masterclass gets underway in Oxford, UK, June 2018.

Our new Masterclass has been developed in collaboration with Azure AD Connect experts Andreas Kjellman and Jimmy Andersson 

We decided that Azure AD Connect is too important to go without training for architects and operators. So Hugh Simpson-Wells (CEO, Oxford Computer Group and Oxford Computer Training) and I have developed a new 3-day Masterclass in collaboration with subject matter experts Andreas Kjellman, who during his time at Microsoft was Program Manager for Azure AD Connect, and Jimmy Andersson, MVP for Enterprise Mobility.

For me, the process of developing the new training course has been both enlightening and humbling: I have been around Microsoft’s identity technologies for years, and am generally well-informed. But the sheer range of capabilities in Azure AD Connect, as well as the crucial differences between Azure AD Connect and MIM synchronization, have been a revelation to me, and I was frankly slightly shocked at how much I was not aware of!

There really is nothing like taking the time to do a deep dive into a product, and Azure AD Connect is no exception. Written by insiders, and delivered by experts in the field, our new Azure AD Connect Masterclass is certainly to be recommended to anyone who is doing anything but the simplest implementation with Azure AD Connect.

I would say that, wouldn’t I?!

What do others say? See below, and read more here.

In the past I’ve used Azure AD Connect to do really basic installations for customers, but going on the Masterclass has shown me the possibilities of doing larger scale implementations. It’s shown me some really exciting concepts.

The hands-on labs have been really good, and there were some real light bulb moments for me on the course. One of the biggest eye-openers was how you deploy your infrastructure. Before I went on the Masterclass, I had a concept in my mind of how we would do it, but that’s been turned on its head by this course!

I will recommend the Masterclass to all my colleagues. The knowledge the course writers bring from their previous roles is invaluable, and it’s information you won’t find anywhere else. Ian B, Senior Consultant, UK (who attended the test run of the Azure AD Connect Masterclass in May)

Forthcoming Azure AD Masterclasses – attend in the classroom or via Teams!

Want to get a taster? Check out our MIM & Azure AD Connect webinar. Presented by course writers Andreas Kjellman, Jimmy Andersson, Hugh Simpson-Wells and me. We explore the differences between MIM and Azure AD Connect – especially the synchronization model, but also configuration, automatic updates, reverse join, soft join, sticky join and more.