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Replacing DirSync With Azure AD Connect

Posted by Heidi Black on September 14, 2016

ad-connect-to-assign-azure-vm-office-365-licensesAzure AD Connect is the best way to connect your on-premises directory with Azure AD and Office 365. This is a great time to upgrade to Azure AD Connect from Windows Azure Active Directory Sync (DirSync) or Azure AD Sync as these tools will reach end of support on April 13, 2017.

The two identity synchronization tools that will end were offered for single forest customers (DirSync) and for multi-forest and other advanced customers (Azure AD Sync). These older tools have been replaced with a single solution that is available for all scenarios: Azure AD Connect. It offers new functionality, feature enhancements, and support for new scenarios. To be able to continue to synchronize your on-premises identity data to Azure AD and Office 365, we strongly recommend that you upgrade to Azure AD Connect.

The last release of DirSync was released in July 2014 and the last release of Azure AD Sync was released in May 2015.

What is Azure AD Connect

Azure AD Connect is the successor to DirSync and Azure AD Sync. It combines all scenarios these two supported.


Date Announcement
April 13, 2016 Windows Azure Active Directory Sync (“DirSync”) and Microsoft Azure Active  Directory Sync (“Azure AD Sync”) are announced as deprecated.
April 13, 2017 Support ends. Customers will no longer be able to open a support case without upgrading to Azure AD Connect first.

How to transition to Azure AD Connect

If you are running DirSync there are two ways you can upgrade: In-place upgrade and parallel deployment. An in-place upgrade is recommended for most customers and if you have a recent operating system and less than 50,000 objects. In other cases it is recommended to do a parallel deployment where your DirSync configuration is moved to a new server running Azure AD Connect.

If you use Azure AD Sync an in-place upgrade is recommended. If you want to, it is possible to install a new Azure AD Connect server in parallel and do a swing migration from your Azure AD Sync server to Azure AD Connect.

Solution Scenario
Upgrade from DirSync If you have an existing DirSync server already running.
Upgrade from Azure AD Sync If you are moving from Azure AD Sync.

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