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AWS Directory Service OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

AWS Directory Service is #9 ranked solution in top Identity and Access Management as a Service providers. PeerSpot users give AWS Directory Service an average rating of 8 out of 10. AWS Directory Service is most commonly compared to Azure Active Directory: AWS Directory Service vs Azure Active Directory. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 21% of all views.
What is AWS Directory Service?

AWS Directory Service lets you run Microsoft Active Directory (AD) as a managed service. AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory, also referred to as AWS Managed Microsoft AD, is powered by Windows Server 2012 R2. When you select and launch this directory type, it is created as a highly available pair of domain controllers connected to your virtual private cloud (VPC). The domain controllers run in different Availability Zones in a region of your choice. Host monitoring and recovery, data replication, snapshots, and software updates are automatically configured and managed for you.

AWS Directory Service was previously known as AWS Managed Microsoft AD.

Buyer's Guide

Download the Identity and Access Management as a Service (IDaaS) (IAMaaS) Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: January 2022

AWS Directory Service Customers
Expedia, Intuit, Royal Dutch Shell, Brooks Brothers
AWS Directory Service Video

AWS Directory Service Pricing Advice

What users are saying about AWS Directory Service pricing:
  • "The pricing depends because with AWS there are two types of directory objects: 30,000 and 500,000. It varies. AWS provides the pricing calculators so we can get an estimate from there as per the company requirement of how many users and objects that we need to create. So we can go to that portal, put in the data, and get the quotation. There are no extra licensing fees. It's all included."
  • "AWS' pricing is fair, and costs can be cut if you look carefully at when you're using it."
  • "The pricing is reasonable."
  • AWS Directory Service Reviews

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    Senior Infrastructure Reliability Engineer - (Remote) at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Top 20
    Extends AD identity and management capabilities to AWS resources
    Pros and Cons
    • "The most valuable feature is that because it's all in the cloud, you don't need to manage the infrastructure."
    • "We had a problem with the schema uploading and setting up the directory when we are migrating our users from on-premises to cloud infrastructure."

    What is our primary use case?

    Generally, the primary use case is for our users and people in our company to access the cloud infrastructure. We're managing the ACL permissions through directory services and providing the credentials to the users so they can log into the VMs or in cloud infrastructure using that directory services. It's also for the MFA enabled, to secure the access connection from users who are able to log into the servers.

    It's on cloud infrastructure. In its current role, we are using it as Azure infrastructure. Previously, I worked on AWS infrastructure and did my certification based on AWS and Azure Solutions Architect.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Directory Services basically manages all of our business network connections as the central point of authority. It ensures that all IT resources are connected to the right users. Let's suppose that an employee is terminated or somebody leaves the company. A directory service automatically turns off all access to every resource or device in that individual's library.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature is that because it's all in the cloud, you don't need to manage the infrastructure. You don't need to install the hardware cost. The primary benefit with implementing the AWS Directory Service is that the organization can now extend AD identity and management capabilities to AWS resources. Without the AWS Directory Services, both AD and Active Directory and AWS would have to be managed separately.

    What needs improvement?

    The main function of Active Directory is that it runs in the cloud. It's run on virtual Windows servers. The main function is to enable administrators to manage permissions and control access to our network resources. There are a lot of things that could be improved: services like the schema master, domain naming master, PDC emulator infrastructure masters. These are the things that we can manage and make changes to so that they work more efficiently.

    Something I would like to see added is a main domain controller that you can use and implement for managers for access users and PC servers on the network.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have worked with AWS Directory Service for more than three and a half years in my previous work.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We had a problem with the schema uploading and setting up the directory when we are migrating our users from on-premises to cloud infrastructure. But then we opened a case and involved the AWS support team. That really helped with the issues that we are facing, and that was fixed. It was a challenge for us.

    That's the beauty of AWS infrastructure because when you run on AWS cloud infrastructure, you just keep an eye on the maintenance, like updating the Windows server's patching and adding the users and managing their permission as administrator.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    This is on the Windows servers. With Windows servers, we can use the load balancer, which is going to be a scale up and scale high. AWS Directory Service provides enough storage capacity, approximately 30,000 directory objects. "Objects" refers to users, groups, and computers. They have a different edition. AWS Managed Microsoft AD enterprise edition is designed to support organizations with up to 500,000 directory objects. It's a lot of capacity.

    We do have a global infrastructure with approximately 700-800 people using that infrastructure. We also set it up with the AD connector. It simply connects our existing infrastructure, on-premise infrastructure, to AWS.

    We can definitely increase usage in the future. As I mentioned, the normal one can support up to 30,000 directory objects, which is a lot. We are creating users, groups, and computers. It's all together. With 700 users, 300 groups, and approximately 700-800 computers, that's all together around 2,000-3,000, but we still have enough space.

    How are customer service and support?

    Tech support is pretty good and they're helpful. They will contact you through email or phone. They're available 24/7.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    Everything was previously on-premises, including hardware maintenance and cooling system power. We needed to upgrade the hardware, the end of life of the hardware, so that's why we switched from on-premises to low capacity to AWS Directory Services.

    How was the initial setup?

    AWS Directory Service has a control navigation plan. From there, as per our requirement, we can choose the directories and then choose to set up the directory. Then it's just a simple, straightforward process. From the one I created in the past, I followed the AWS documentation, and they have a very decent and straightforward documentation to build the AWS Directory Services.

    What about the implementation team?

    In my previous company, where I set up the AWS Directory Services, we had three or four people that worked on the project. I was part of that project. We were basically migrating our on-premises directory service to our cloud infrastructure directory services. It took us around three to four weeks to establish that whole infrastructure.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The pricing depends because with AWS there are two types of directory objects: 30,000 and 500,000. It varies. AWS provides the pricing calculators so we can get an estimate from there as per the company requirement of how many users and objects that we need to create. So we can go to that portal, put in the data, and get the quotation.

    There are no extra licensing fees. It's all included.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would rate this solution 9 out of 10. I have no complaints with the product. It's pretty predefined and user-friendly.

    AWS is very helpful and very useful for the infrastructure because that's how you can manage your Microsoft Office 365 user accounts with AWS-managed Microsoft Active Directory Services. That is the secure way for users to log in. As a big organization, it is very important to keep the Directory Services in the cloud and manage the Directory Services for the whole infrastructure.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Public Cloud
    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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    Powershell IT Admin Cert at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Top 5
    Easy to set up with great redundancy but is very expensive
    Pros and Cons
    • "We like the fact that it's got such great redundancy."
    • "AWS could improve the number of regions. Azure has passed them. The ned more consistency, as far as the Northeast is concerned."

    What is our primary use case?

    My client uses it as a VMware host.

    What is most valuable?

    We like the fact that it's got such great redundancy. We don't have to worry about power or any of the CapEx costs.

    The initial setup is very simple.

    The solution is stable.

    The scalability is great.

    What needs improvement?

    The cost for support's a little high.

    AWS could improve the number of regions. Azure has passed them. The ned more consistency, as far as the Northeast is concerned. They need to put in some more resources, more bandwidth into that area in particular. We have to keep putting our stuff in the central east or the central regions due to the fact that the Northeast is always so overloaded.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability of the product is very good. Very nice. It's much more stable in the containerized enclosure inside of a privatized data center - other than the issues with being on the cloud and hackers bringing down the entire environment. Other than that, there are very few problems.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We have around 600,000 users currently.

    We do plan to increase usage.

    Our clients are gradually walking off instances from VMware to containerized instances. We're walking away from VMware mainly due to the fact that we're paying three times. They're running a Citrix environment in a VMware instance on the cloud. I told them, we're just going to containerize the instances for the application and work on more of a software model instead of an instance model. 

    How are customer service and support?

    You do need to pay for support, which comes at a rather high cost.

    I don't deal with them. We don't deal with tech support. We do it ourselves.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I'm also familiar with Azure. AWS is easy to use, however, Azure is way easier to use when it comes to migration as all the tools are already in place. All the integration is already there. Microsoft did that on purpose.

    That said, when it comes to the Linux environment, AWS is awesome. When you are running Oracle, AWS is very nice.

    How was the initial setup?

    The implementation process is quite straightforward. It's not difficult at all. We create instances with JSON scripts, which means it's instantaneous. There's no problem.

    We have five people that maintain the solution.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    As you pay monthly, I'd say the toughest part is getting management to understand the differences in cost. When they start seeing that monthly cost, they start to freak out. You have to remind them that they didn't put out millions for the CapEx cost. It's harder for them to grasp the cost.

    It's pretty pricey. There's no doubt about it. However, in enclosed containerized instances in, for example, an HPE GreenLake framework with the frame internalized inside of the client environment, it's not nearly as expensive.

    The pricing is convoluted. I would prefer it if all cloud solutions come up with better modeling. I know it's difficult to come up with an all-in-one cost, mainly due to the variance in the environments. I understand that. However, they need to centralize their cost a whole lot more.

    What other advice do I have?

    We are an AWS partner. 

    I'd advise new users to take accounting classes. Take cloud accounting and costing classes to help you understand and explain what you mean. That way, when the accounting group from the existing CapEx IT group balks, you can explain the breakdown to them. There's very little training involved, however, you need to get trained in that aspect.

    I'd rate the solution at a six out of ten, simply based on the cost. It's very expensive. However, I'd give it a nine for ease of use, as it is intuitive.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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    563,327 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    UsmanBaig
    Associate Director - Technical at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
    Real User
    Reliable, easy to use managed service
    Pros and Cons
    • "AWS handles everything on the backend requiring minimal legwork from our team. We only require a dedicated database administrator while depending on Amazon for RDS."
    • "Our only complaint is that you cannot integrate your Exchange server. Or, if you are planning to install an Exchange server on your Amazon EC2 instance, then you need to configure Active Directory on EC2 instance. We would like for this limitation to be lifted."

    What is our primary use case?

    This directory service was used for domain authentication and policy implementation. These features were easily available and configurable.

    How has it helped my organization?

    This is a managed directory service (by AWS) that offers a hands-free solution for our team as we are not required to hire or train people to manage Active Directory features and/or high availability backups. There is also no security patching required on an operating system level or Active Directory malware attack. Additionally, we are able to easily integrate other AWS services.

    What is most valuable?

    AWS handles everything on the backend requiring minimal legwork from our team. We only require a dedicated database administrator while depending on Amazon for RDS.

    What needs improvement?

    Our only complaint is that you cannot integrate your Exchange server. Or, if you are planning to install an Exchange server on your Amazon EC2 instance, then you need to configure Active Directory on EC2 instance. We would like for this limitation to be lifted.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I did not find any performance issues, likely since this is a managed service that does not take a lot of CPU resources.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    This solution is scalable and does not require any maintenance on our end. 

    How are customer service and support?

    We did not require their assistance while using the AWS Directory Service.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We switched because my company is the only core partner to Amazon in Pakistan and we have more than 300 certified people with predefined training.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was straightforward.

    What about the implementation team?

    The process required only one person to deploy and took just one day as it was easy to configure and implement AWS.

    What was our ROI?

    We were able to see some return on investment thanks to this being a managed service only requiring us to hire two to three people to manage backup/disaster solutions.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    It is important to note that there are no hidden fees following initial purchase.

    What other advice do I have?

    I highly recommend any AWS Managed Service. 

    I would rate it an eight out of ten.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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    Besther Nwosu
    Head of IT/Cloud Infrastructure Architect at Crown Interactive Limited
    Real User
    Cost-friendly, support-friendly, and 99.99% reliable
    Pros and Cons
    • "AWS has eliminated the downtime we waste when our on-premises resources go down."
    • "To get CloudWatch to monitor your memory and storage, you have to do some configuration within your server, which sometimes results in errors."

    What is our primary use case?

    I use this solution to create servers to host our application.

    How has it helped my organization?

    AWS has eliminated the downtime we waste when our on-premises resources go down. It also means we can work remotely and that if there's an issue, it can be resolved without going into the office or data center.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature is disaster recovery.

    What needs improvement?

    An area for improvement would be that in order to get CloudWatch to monitor your memory and storage, you have to do some configuration within your server, which sometimes results in errors. Another improvement would be to make it easier to migrate from one instance to a larger one.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using this solution for three years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I would say AWS is 99.99% stable and well-performing, as long as you know what you're doing with it.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    In general, AWS' scalability is good, but if you want to move your instances from M5 large to M5 Xlarge, it's not so straightforward.

    How are customer service and support?

    I think AWS' technical support is top-notch.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was straightforward, taking around a day, with the exception of the DB, where we lost some of the data.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    AWS' pricing is fair, and costs can be cut if you look carefully at when you're using it. They accept upfront and non-upfront payments, with upfront payments being lower. However, it can be a little difficult to figure out pricing if you're working with an exchange rate.

    What other advice do I have?

    AWS is cost-friendly, support-friendly, and its system is 99.99% reliable. I would give this solution a score of ten out of ten.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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    Andrei Sandulescu
    IT Auditor & Compliance Officer at Intellimind
    Real User
    Top 5Leaderboard
    Easy to use, but better integration with other business solutions would be useful
    Pros and Cons
    • "The most valuable feature is ease of use."
    • "I would like to see better integration with other business solutions."

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature is ease of use.

    The documentation is okay.

    What needs improvement?

    I would like to see better integration with other business solutions.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using AWS Directory Service for less than one year.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    This solution is stable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    AWS Directory Service is a scalable solution. We have thirty users in our company and we do plan on increasing our usage.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support is ok.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I have used Microsoft Active Directory, and we switched because AWS Directory Service is easier to use.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was straightforward. I think that it took about two weeks to deploy.

    What about the implementation team?

    Two people are suitable for maintenance.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The pricing is reasonable.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We did not evaluate other options before choosing this one.

    What other advice do I have?

    My advice for anybody who is considering this solution is to first make sure that they want to use other AWS services. If they do not intend to do so, then they can simply use Microsoft Active Directory.

    This solution does what we want to achieve.

    I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Private Cloud

    If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

    Amazon Web Services (AWS)
    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
    Senior Datacenter Engineer at a comms service provider with 201-500 employees
    Real User
    Top 20
    Easy to assign information and to manage the resources in the network
    Pros and Cons
    • "I like the manageability. Activate Connect makes it easier to assign information and to manage the resources in the network."
    • "The group policy can be improved."

    What is most valuable?

    I like the manageability. Activate Connect makes it easier to assign information and to manage the resources in the network.

    What needs improvement?

    The group policy can be improved. 

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using AWS Directory Service for six years. 

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It is stable .

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It is scalable. 

    How are customer service and technical support?

    We have been in touch with technical support. They were good. 

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was straightforward. The deployment didn't take more than a half-hour for an expert to setup. 

    What other advice do I have?

    My advice to someone considering this solution is that before working on this it is better to have good theoretical knowledge about this solution, otherwise if something goes wrong it can impact the entire use.

    The private cloud hypervisor is not so stable so far. They should improve the stability in the next release. 

    I would rate it a nine out of ten. 

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.