What is Azure AD Connect?
Azure AD Connect is an on-premises Microsoft application that's designed to meet and accomplish your hybrid identity goals. If you're evaluating how to best meet your goals, you should also consider the cloud-managed solution Azure AD Connect cloud sync.
Azure AD Connect provides the following features:
- Password hash synchronization - A sign-in method that synchronizes a hash of a users on-premises AD password with Azure AD.
- Pass-through authentication - A sign-in method that allows users to use the same password on-premises and in the cloud, but doesn't require the additional infrastructure of a federated environment.
- Federation integration - Federation is an optional part of Azure AD Connect and can be used to configure a hybrid environment using an on-premises AD FS infrastructure. It also provides AD FS management capabilities such as certificate renewal and additional AD FS server deployments.
- Synchronization - Responsible for creating users, groups, and other objects. As well as, making sure identity information for your on-premises users and groups is matching the cloud. This synchronization also includes password hashes.
- Health Monitoring - Azure AD Connect Health can provide robust monitoring and provide a central location in the Azure portal to view this activity.
What is Azure AD Connect Health?
Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) Connect Health provides robust monitoring of your on-premises identity infrastructure. It enables you to maintain a reliable connection to Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Online Services. This reliability is achieved by providing monitoring capabilities for your key identity components. Also, it makes the key data points about these components easily accessible.
The information is presented in the Azure AD Connect Health portal. Use the Azure AD Connect Health portal to view alerts, performance monitoring, usage analytics, and other information. Azure AD Connect Health enables the single lens of health for your key identity components in one place.
Why use Azure AD Connect?
Integrating your on-premises directories with Azure AD makes your users more productive by providing a common identity for accessing both cloud and on-premises resources. Users and organizations can take advantage of:
- Users can use a single identity to access on-premises applications and cloud services such as Microsoft 365.
- Single tool to provide an easy deployment experience for synchronization and sign-in.
- Provides the newest capabilities for your scenarios. Azure AD Connect replaces older versions of identity integration tools such as DirSync and Azure AD Sync. For more information, see Hybrid Identity directory integration tools comparison.
Why use Azure AD Connect Health?
When authenticating with Azure AD, your users are more productive because there's a common identity to access both cloud and on-premises resources. Ensuring the environment is reliable, so that users can access these resources, becomes a challenge. Azure AD Connect Health helps monitor and gain insights into your on-premises identity infrastructure thus ensuring the reliability of this environment. It is as simple as installing an agent on each of your on-premises identity servers.
Azure AD Connect Health for AD FS supports AD FS 2.0 on Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2016. It also supports monitoring the AD FS proxy or web application proxy servers that provide authentication support for extranet access. With an easy and quick installation of the Health Agent, Azure AD Connect Health for AD FS provides you a set of key capabilities.
Key benefits and best practices:
|Key Benefits||Best Practices|
|Enhanced security||Extranet lockout trendsFailed sign-ins reportIn privacy compliant|
|Get alerted on all critical ADFS system issues||Server configuration and availabilityPerformance and connectivityRegular maintenance|
|Easy to deploy and manage||Quick agent installationAgent auto upgrade to the latestData available in portal within minutes|
|Rich usage metrics||Top applications usageNetwork locations and TCP connectionToken requests per server|
|Great user experience||Dashboard fashion from Azure portalAlerts through emails|
License requirements for using Azure AD Connect
Using this feature is free and included in your Azure subscription.
License requirements for using Azure AD Connect Health
Using this feature requires an Azure AD Premium P1 license. To find the right license for your requirements, see Comparing generally available features of the Free, Basic, and Premium editions.