Microsoft begins adding single-sign on support to its Azure cloud

Summary:Microsoft is adding federated-identity support for providers including Google, Facebook, LiveID and OpenID to its Azure cloud platform via a new update to its Windows Azure AppFabric component.

Microsoft is adding federated-identity support for providers including Google, Facebook, LiveID and OpenID to its Azure cloud platform via a new update to its Windows Azure AppFabric component.

Windows Azure AppFabric is the new name for .Net Services, and currently includes service bus and access control only. Microsoft has started making regular, monthly updates to Azure AppFabric. The August update -- which the Softies are characterizing as a major one -- includes a number of identity-specific updates to the access control piece.

The August Azure AppFabric update is available via the AppFabric LABS environment, which is where the AppFabric team showcases some of its early bits and makes them available for free to get user feedback. (Microsoft characterizes the features it delivers via AppFabric LABS as "similar to a Community Technology Preview," but notes that these technologies "may occasionally be even farther away from commercial availability."

Included in the August access-control update to Azure AppFabric are the following new features:

  • Integration with Windows Identity Foundation (WIF) and tooling
  • Out-of-the-box support for web identity providers including: Windows Live ID, OpenID, Google, Yahoo, and Facebook
  • Out-of-the-box support for Active Directory Federation Server v2.0
  • Support for OAuth WRAP, WS-Trust, and WS-Federation protocols
  • Support for the SAML 1.1, SAML 2.0, and Simple Web Token (SWT) token formats
  • Integrated and customizable Home Realm Discovery that allows end-users to choose their identity provider
  • An OData-based Management Service that provides programmatic access to ACS configuration
  • A Web Portal that allows administrative access to ACS configuration

Microsoft officials outlined the company's plans to add single sign-on/federated identity support to Azure in the fall of 2009. Microsoft execs recently said that the company is working to add federated-identity support to Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) of hosted applications. (BPOS is not yet running on Azure, just to be clear; however, it's still running in Microsoft datacenters.)

How major are these new AppFabric updates? Sergejus, a .Net developer, tweeted: "Finally, Azure #AppFabric supports LiveID, OpenID, Google and Facebook authentication. Now real development starts!"

Topics: Software, Browser, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

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Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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