For a five-hour period on December 3, 2015, European Office 365 tenants discovered that some of their users were unable to access their mailboxes or SharePoint sites. Interestingly, the problem was not caused by an issue with the Office 365 infrastructure, but with a configuration error in Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) that affected critical authentication processes. Based on Microsoft’s post-incident report, it seems that this configuration snafu was due to human error in the management of Azure AD, which goes to show how critical Azure AD is in keeping Office 365 services up and running.
While Microsoft does a good job at keeping the Office 365 infrastructure online through automated management and deploying redundancies across multiple datacenters, the fact is that complex cloud services depend on many components. The Azure AD is undoubtedly crucial among these components, as evidenced by the services that were unusable during the December 3 outage: the Azure Management Portal, Dynamics CRM, the Azure Data Catalog and Operational Insights portal, Stream Analytics, Remote App, Visual Studio Team Services, and SQL Database.
GSX for Azure AD Connect helps admins prevent degradation in service, first and foremost by providing a common identity for accessing both cloud and on-premises resources to avoid authentication failures. In addition, GSX works tirelessly to monitor Azure AD connect synchronization. When this synchronization fails, objects and attributes cannot be updated as expected, and this causes serious issues for end-users. GSX enables real-time visibility into Azure AD Connect processes, in order to detect abnormal usage or loss of synchronization.
This includes tracking anything that might impact Azure AD Connect performance, including CPU usage, RAM usage, % disk time, average disk queue length, and critical Windows services for fast troubleshooting. It also includes system availabilities such as network connectivity and live monitoring and reporting for CPU, Memory, and Average Disk time. GSX also provides access to the core System Windows Services (ADSync, Azure AD Connect Health Sync insight and Azure AD Connect health sync monitor) to check that they are up and running.
GSX for Azure AD Connect enables proactive incident management via real-time availability and performance alerts, which means you can set up custom, predefined thresholds on specific performance counters, and anticipate potential issues before they impact your business. All of these features are located in a single, central dashboard using agentless technology to provide critical information for Office 365 administrators. In short, it’s everything you need to manage the availability and performance of the service delivered to users, as well as the health of everything that can impact the user experience.
Want more about this topic? Join us at MSExchangeCon on Sept 15 and attend our session: "Troubleshooting Office 365 & Azure User Authentication Issues". Experts from GSX, Olivier Raynaut and Tim Book, will present on Identity and Access Management (IAM), addressing the critical need to ensure appropriate access to resources across technology environments. Save your seat today >>