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The authoritative source for identities in most organizations today is Microsoft Active Directory. To build comprehensive offerings for these organizations, cloud service providers (CSPs) not only have to support Active Directory, but also need to completely shadow it to the cloud in a secure and controllable way.
This makes it possible to become the new central point for access control to applications inside and external to the realm of CSPs and brings them into the ideal position to sell additional services, which are already integrated into the customers IDM. It even makes it possible to offer cloud-based replacements for on premise domain controllers.
With Windows Azure Active Directory, Microsoft is going exactly this route. Outside Windows Azure, Univention offers the a powerful platform including services compatible to Microsoft Active Directory, a comprehensive set of applications like OX App Suite and support for 3rd party SaaS Applications like Salesforce.