Last December, Microsoft delivered an updated and much-changed test build of a tool called Azure AD Connect that was designed to connect Active Directory on premises and various directories in the cloud.
On June 24, Microsoft made Azure AD Connect generally available for all Azure Active Directory customers, including all businesses running Office 365.
As part of today's rollout, Microsoft also is making Azure AD Connect Health generally available for its Azure AD Premium customers. Azure AD Connect Health is a cloud service for monitoring and securing cloud and on-premises "identity infrastructure," Microsoft officials said in today's blog post.
The first release of Azure AD Connect Health is for customers using Azure Directory Federation Services (ADFS) who want monitoring, reporting and alerts for their ADFS servers.
Additional sync and sign-up options for Azure AD Connect and the AD Connect Health services are in the works
The Azure AD Connect tool is a revised version of the original Azure AD Connect tool that Microsoft made available in beta in August 2014. Company officials said Microsoft revised the tool because of feedback from testers that signaled Microsoft needed to make Azure AD Connect simpler.
Rather than offering a bunch of different tools for connecting on-premises and cloud directories, including DirSync, Azure AD Connect, Azure AD Sync, Active Directory Federation Services, etc., Microsoft went back to the drawing board to create a single replacement.
In other Azure-related news, Microsoft also is making available as of today a limited public preview of its Azure SQL Data Warehouse.
Microsoft announced Azure SQL Data Warehouse at its Build conference in April. The service is based on SQL Server's massively parallel processing architecture that right now is available only as part of the Microsoft Analytics Platform System appliance. Azure SQL Datawarehouse can integrate with Power BI, Azure Machine Learning, Azure Data Factory and Azure HDInsight, Microsoft's Hadoop-on-Azure service.