Microsoft touts new hybrid-cloud tools; rolls out Azure AD B2B authentication service

Microsoft is continuing to use its hybrid-cloud computing functionality as a cloud differentiator with its rollout of additional migration tools and its Azure Active Directory B2B authentication technology.

Microsoft is continuing to push its support of hybrid-computing environments as one of its main cloud differentiators.

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On April 12, Microsoft officials blogged about three hybrid migration tools the company is making available to customers.

Azure Site Recovery -- a tool for migrating virtual machines to Azure from AWS, VMware, Hyper-V or on physical servers -- is getting a new option. "In the coming weeks," Microsoft will allow users to tag virtual machines within the Azure portal itself, something officials said will simplify Windows Server virtual machine migrations.

Microsoft also is enabling users to activate the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit directly in the Azure Management Portal. And the company is providing a Cloud Migration Assessment tool to help users estimate the costs of moving to Azure.

Microsoft also is making its Azure Active Directory (AD) B2B authentication service generally available as of today, April 12.

Microsoft made public previews of Azure AD B2B and its complement, Azure B2C, available in September 2015. Azure B2B and B2C are aimed at providing secure authentication across on-premises, cloud and hybrid configuration,

Microsoft officials have said.Microsoft designed B2C for developers who want to build apps and services that can authenticate with consumer identity services like Facebook and Google. Microsoft touted B2B as suited for authenticating between business-to-business partners.

Microsoft made Azure AD B2C generally available in the U.S. last Summer. Today, Microsoft is broadening availability of B2C to include Europe, including in European datacenters that operate and store data locally only.Azure AD B2B is generally available today as part of Microsoft's Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) suite.

I've seen some speculating that Microsoft might use Azure AD B2B to provide guest access for Microsoft Teams, which is Microsoft's Slack competitor. I've asked if this will be the case and a spokesperson said the company has "nothing to share." (So take that as a maybe.)

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