Azure AD vs Microsoft Entra ID?

3 August 2023 - by Jack

Microsoft has decided to rename Azure Active Directory (AAD) to Microsoft Entra ID (As of this post’s writing, no acronym has been offered by Microsoft). This change reinforces Microsoft’s history of renaming products, to the frustration of users and system administrators alike.

  • Windows Live Hotmail ->
  • Xbox Music -> Groove Music
  • Windows Live Mail -> Windows Mail
  • Windows Live Writer -> Open Live Writer
  • Windows Defender -> Microsoft Defender
  • Office 365 -> Microsoft 365
  • Office Online -> Office for the web
  • Windows Azure -> Microsoft Azure
  • Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) -> Azure DevOps Services
  • Windows Marketplace -> Microsoft Store
  • Microsoft Intune -> Microsoft Endpoint Manager

Azure AD vs Microsoft Entra ID

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When and Why?

Microsoft announced the name change on July 11th 2023, with the reasoning given that customers have ‘Embraced’ the Microsoft Entra product line so unifying identity and access capabilities under the Entra name on the surface seems natural. As the Entra name itself was a rebrand of existing offerings, this seems mostly like a justification for something they already had planned.

A more likely explanation could be that AAD never quite lived up to the expectations of the name Active Directory (AD), lacking the potential to fully integrate or replace traditional AD as there was no compatibility in identity management between the two offerings. This necessitated the use of both services, which needed to be clarified for users. It would be best if you only looked as far as the number of available articles explaining the difference between AD and AAD to see why naming was an issue.

Whatever the real reason, Microsoft is set to replace the display names for SKUs and service plans as of October 1st 2023.

What’s Changing?

For better or for worse, nothing is changing. Not from a product offering perspective anyway. Azure Active Directory is simply now called Microsoft Entra ID. The change does however introduce a logistical issue for many organisations, who will have plenty of naming conventions and documentation to update.

Final Thoughts

Product name changes are never popular. People as a whole don’t like change, especially when that change results in extra work and no direct benefits. In this case however, it may actually be beneficial in the long run if it results in less product confusion and clearer separation.
All we can do is hope for a smooth transitionary period and wait and see how it plays out.

JackAuthor: Jack Jones
Jack has been an integral part of Pipe Ten’s engineering team for over 5 years. With a long history of being immersed in Microsoft’s ecosystem, Jack embodies Pipe Ten’s provider agnostic approach and has lead the evolution of many customer solutions to integrate the benefits of public cloud, specialising in Azure and AWS. The wealth and sheer depth of Jack’s cutting edge technical knowledge and skillset has been crucial to the success and growth of many customers’ businesses.

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