2016 Essentials Integration: Azure AD & Office 365Alex Fields
This post is part of a series on the Microsoft Cloud Services integrations that are included with Windows Server 2016 Essentials Experience.
To begin we will connect our local on-premises Windows Essentials Experience Server to the Microsoft cloud by enabling the Azure Active Directory and Office 365 integrations. Please note that this is very different from using Azure AD Connect or “full” Directory Synchronization.
Finally, we will add some users from our on-premises Active Directory to Office 365 (and vice-versa)! There are four basic methods for adding/managing users with this integration:
- Add brand new user accounts from the Essentials Dashboard
- Add Microsoft cloud accounts to existing on-premises users
- Import existing Microsoft cloud accounts to the on-premises domain
- Assign existing on-premises users to existing Microsoft cloud accounts
Before you continue with this step, be sure you have obtained an Office 365 subscription and at least verified your domain in the Office 365 portal.
Enable the integrations
From the Server Essentials Dashboard Home, choose Services from the left pane and Office 365 from the middle pane. Click the link to Integrate With Office 365 on the far right. This will also enable the Azure Active Directory integration at the same time.
A wizard will step you through the process. You will use your Office 365 administrator account to connect to your Microsoft Azure AD tenant; it may ask you to acknowledge that strong passwords will be enabled, and then after a short waiting period you’ll be done.
Managing user accounts with the Dashboard
Great! Now let’s try adding some users. First, check out the Office 365 portal. Navigate to the Admin console, and click Users –> Active Users on the left.
In this example, we only have one user so far–the global administrator for the Office 365 tenant. If you have setup an Azure subscription, you might also be able to login to the Azure Service Management portal and verify the accounts showing up in there also.
Method 1 – Add brand new user accounts from the Essentials Dashboard
Now return to your Essentials Dashboard and from the Home / Setup screen, and select Add user accounts.
Name the account, assign a password. As you continue through the wizard, make sure you assign the “real” domain name (instead of the “onmicrosoft.com” one). You will also have the opportunity to assign Office 365 licenses and set permissions / access for the Windows Server Essentials resources.
Now, let’s return to the Office 365 portal and refresh our view.
Ah-ha! Test User shows up correctly. What about Azure AD in Azure Service Management portal?
Well, that’s just slick!
Method 2: Add Microsoft cloud accounts to existing on-premises users
But what if you have pre-existing users on-premises and need to assign new Office 365 accounts to them? Easy! You can import them in bulk right from the Essentials Dashboard. Go to the Users tab and find the link on the right to Add Microsoft Cloud Accounts.
Select any accounts that you’d like to add, assign licenses, and so on.
Note that these users will be prompted to reset their passwords (on-premises) on next login–the new passwords will be immediately synced to Office 365. Be sure to alert them in advance of making this change!
Check out the Office 365 Admin portal to confirm they appear.
Method 3: Import existing Microsoft cloud accounts to the on-premises domain
You might also have pre-existing accounts in Office 365 that need to be provisioned on-premises in the Active Directory domain. For example, perhaps the users are coming from a Workgroup with Office 365. This too is possible by selecting the option to Import accounts from Microsoft Cloud service.
Select the accounts you want to import.
Do not fly past this last screen! As you can see, in this case the password is actually reset for the user immediately–you can click the link to view the password(s) in a text file. Once again, users will need to login on-premises first in order to change passwords before being able to get back into their Office 365 accounts. Be sure to communicate this change to them in advance.
Method 4: Assign existing on-premises users to existing Microsoft cloud accounts
There is no way to do this operation in bulk–it must be completed one user at a time. From Users, click on each user, then click Assign a Microsoft Cloud Account. Simply choose the option to Assign an existing Microsoft Cloud Services account to this user account. Note: users will be required to reset their passwords on next login, which will trigger a sync of the new password to the cloud.
We have now covered how to connect Windows Server 2016 Essentials to Azure Active Directory and Office 365, as well as the four primary methods of adding users from the Essentials Dashboard–creating them together from scratch, importing existing user accounts from a local domain, importing accounts originally created in Office 365, and finally matching up pre-existing on-premises accounts to separate corresponding cloud accounts.
Coming up, we will continue exploring the Office 365 integration features such as the Dashboard management capabilities for Exchange Active Sync policies and SharePoint libraries. Then we will proceed with connecting to other online services such Microsoft Intune, Azure Backup and Azure Virtual Network. We have plenty to explore, stay tuned!