Visual Studio Online Now Integrates With Azure Active Directory

It currently only works with new Visual Studio Online accounts, but that will soon change.

Microsoft has provided a solution for developers wanting to integrate Visual Studio Online with Active Directory. For now, the solution is only partial, but Microsoft says it will soon be a full remedy.

The latest "sprint" of Visual Studio Online (VSO) -- Microsoft's cloud-based ALM suite -- allows creating a new VSO account and connecting it to Azure Active Directory (AAD). The hitch for now is that it only allows this for new VSO accounts, rather than existing ones.

Microsoft Technical Fellow Brian Harry, Product Unit Manager for Team Foundation Server (TFS), said on his blog that federated authentication was one of the top VSO requests from users. It's unclear how many current VSO developers will want to create an entirely new account, just to connect to AAD. To those users, Harry says to be patient:

"Don't. Just wait a few sprints and we'll enable you to add AAD... Enabling attaching existing accounts is the next scenario on our list and, last I checked, we were estimating about 3 more sprints of work to get that done."

Harry didn't say how long those sprints would take, but the VSO team has been pushing out updates at a very regular rate.

New accounts can be linked to AAD from within the Azure portal or VSO itself. "Once created, everything that you can do with a Visual Studio Online account works as you would expect including full clients support: i.e., clients and tools that support Visual Studio Online can connect to AAD-backed accounts," according to the VSO Web site.

Harry said that identity management is extremely complicated, adding that current Microsoft documentation doesn't help very much. To that end, he said that Microsoft will put together a "one stop shop page" with explanations, links to resources and FAQs to assist users.

The clamor for VSO/AAD integration came through Visual Studio UserVoice, a feedback forum for Microsoft developers. Through UserVoice, developers suggest new Visual Studio features or abilities, and other developers vote on the suggestion, giving Redmond a sense of how important the issue is to the community.


About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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