Active Directory In The Cloud revisited
Earlier today Microsoft MVP for SQL Server Brent Ozar wrote a blog entry entitled Microsoft MVPs: NDA + Twitter = Yammer where he said:
Every year, Microsoft MVPs gather for a summit where they talk about <NDA> and <NDA>. Just like any other conference, they want to talk about this stuff over social networking sites like Twitter, but they can’t because it’s NDA.
There’s an app for that.
Yammer is a free private version of Twitter. You sign up with your company’s email address, and you can only see tweets (yams?) from people with that same domain name.
[For those that don’t what a Microsoft MVP is allow me to briefly explain. Microsoft run a a program called the Most Valuable Professional (MVP) program in which they hand out annual awards to people who provide help and advice relating to Microsoft products on a voluntary basis.]
I’m proud to be able to say that I, like Brent, am an MVP for SQL Server and hence I completely understand the problem that he elucidated in this blog post. Brent’s suggested solution to leverage Yammer was as follows:
- Set up an email server with Active Directory accounts for each MVP
- Do some kind of screen-scraping to find out when MVP profiles disappear, and then revoke the associated user’s AD account
Its an interesting idea but putting aside the technical and logistical questions of whether it would actually be possible there is one sociological aspect to this that I believe makes it unworkable: there are thousands of MVPs in the world and there is no way that they are all going to agree to having an online persona set up on their behalf that they do not have control over. No, a better solution is required, one that exhibits all of the following three characteristics:
- A directory service where every MVP has control over their profile/persona
- The ability to define a group of profiles in that directory service containing all MVPs
- The ability to federate that group of identities so that Yammer could provide its service to all MVPs
As it happens Microsoft require that every single MVP in the world also has a Windows Live ID in order that they can communicate with us. In other words, there is already a directory service available that contains all MVPs so that is (1) taken care of. Unfortunately (2) and (3) do not exist and that disappoints me.
Anyone who remembers my blog post from January 2008 Windows Live Groups predictions and Active Directory In The Cloud will know that I have been harbouring hopes for some time that a group identity federation service would be offered through Windows Live and that Windows Live Groups would be the vehicle for it but alas that has not materialised. I still do hope that the Windows Live ID identity service will evolve to become the “Active Directory in the cloud” that I so desire and that the Live Framework will be the API that powers it. I’ll keep hoping…