New Visual Studio Online accounts can now connect to the Azure Active Directory (AAD) as part of Microsoft’s efforts to fully support AAD in VS Online.
Microsoft Team Foundation project manager Brian Harry announced the new VS Online account capability in a blog post, explaining that AAD integration has been a top customer request for some time and Microsoft is working to fully enable that support, but for right now the AAD account linking only applies to new VS Online accounts, not existing ones. He implored customers not to rush and create new accounts, though.
“I know what you are thinking: ‘How can I create a new account, move all my stuff over to the new account and keep working?’ Stop. Don’t go there. It’s complicated,” Harry wrote. “If you just want to sync your source, create a new account and check it in—basically starting over, go ahead. But if you hope to preserve history, work items, tests, etc., don’t. Just wait a few sprints and we’ll enable you to add AAD. Down the other path, you’ll pull out half your hair and probably be done about the time we introduce the feature anyway.”
The benefits of linking an account to an Azure Active Directory include centralized identity management across Office 365 and Visual Studio Online, a single sign-on across Azure cloud services, multi-factor authentication, and integration with on-premises Active Directory. According to Harry, MSDN subscriber support has also been added to enable a specific set of AAD credentials to get customer credit, and Microsoft Live IDs can now be added to AAD as “external identities” as well, with an updated profile page to manage the accounts.
The Visual Studio Online team is working to enable full support for AAD in existing accounts later this year, as well as the ability to manage permissions using Active Directory groups. Beyond that, they’ll begin working on the next most pressing customer request: process template customization.
For more information on how to create a new account and connect it to the Azure Active Directory, the official Visual Studio announcement is available here.