Windows Azure Gains Single Sign-On Support

August preview of Azure AppFabric security component adds support for single sign-on and identity federation.


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Microsoft has announced that the August preview release of a component of its Windows Azure AppFabric cloud computing platform adds support for federated identity and single sign-on.

The announcement was made in a blog post by Justin Smith, a Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) program manager on the Windows Azure AppFabric Access Control Service (ACS) team, on Wednesday.

"Today I’m excited to announce a major update to ACS," Smith said.

The ACS update should be good news for developers and service providers working on applications meant to run on Windows Azure and Windows Server as it also enables access control as a service for federating identities.

ACS is a component of AppFabric, which provides a set of services designed to streamline building composite applications that take advantage of local and cloud services.

"Windows Azure now provides secure connectivity natively via Service Bus and Access Control, in much the same way that it also provides compute and storage as a cloud service," Microsoft said in a statement.

The update adds support for several leading Web identity providers, including Google, Yahoo, and Facebook, as well as OpenID and Windows Live ID, the blog post added. (ACS, along with the Service Bus were previously named .NET Services.)

Another new feature is support for Windows Identity Foundation (WIF) and Active Directory Federation Server version 2. In addition, the ACS update provides Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) 1.1 and 2 support, as well as support for the OAuth WRAP, WS-Trust, and WS-Federation protocols, Smith's post said.

Other new features in the ACS update include tools that let users select identity providers, a management service that enables developers to have "programmatic access" to ACS configuration, and a Web portal that provides administrative access to ACS configuration, Smith added.

Microsoft began charging Windows Azure customers in early February, and by early June claimed to have garnered some 10,000 paying customers.

However, so far use of ACS continues to be free because it's available via Microsoft's AppFabric Labs environment in a manner similar to a community technology preview or CTP.

The ACS component August preview is available at the AppFabric Labs site.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

Tags: cloud computing, Microsoft, SaaS, Azure, Cloud Hosting

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