.Net Foundation… the road to opensource

At Build 2014 this year Microsoft made some big announcements, one of the most exciting included a glimpse of the future that has been quite a long time coming. Microsoft announced the intention to open-source large pieces of the .net framework over the next 3 years.

You can read the full announcement at

Also check out the Day 2 Keynote that included the announcement of the .Net Foundation at Channel9.

All the information will be made available at


Only two days to go to get 2 books for the price of one…

I just got a new offer from Packt that have just published their 2000th book.

Press release:

Packt Publishing celebrates their 2000th title with an exclusive offer – We’ve got IT covered!

Known for their extensive range of pragmatic IT ebooks, Packt Publishing are celebrating their 2000th book title `Learning Dart’– they want their customers to celebrate too.

To mark this milestone Packt Publishing will launch a ‘Buy One Get One Free’ offer across all eBooks on March 18th – for a limited period only.

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PowerShell Connector for FIM 2010 R2

Last week Microsoft released the PowerShell Connector for Forefront Identity Manager 2010 R2 (FIM). The connector can be downloaded here:

Forefront Identity Manager Connector for PowerShell helps you synchronize identity information, easily provision and deprovision accounts, manage identity information, and provide password management capabilities for systems you can connect to with PowerShell scripts.

Official TechNet documentation on the connector is available here:


MVP 2013

It’s been quite a busy year and with all the excitement in the last quarter I have been away from my blog for a few weeks. This has been a very busy year with us completing multiple joint events around various Microsoft technologies, supported by Microsoft Identity Management. In total we visited more than 21 cities around the country and had showcases on Microsoft Security, Productivity and Cloud solutions. A busy few months indeed.

I’m wanted to give a shout out to the FIM PG, MVP EMEA and US programs for another great year. I’m very humbled to be at year 9 in the MVP program. I look forward to the new year and many of the new things coming within the Microsoft IAM space.

MSDN Azure Benefits and Use Rights Updated

I am so pleased today to read that the revised MSDN use rights for Azure now gives even more access to development tools in the Microsoft Azure stable. If you have not already seen the release the following three major updates will be of benefit to any MSDN subscriber:

  • Azure credit – $200 in month one and $50/month after
  • Azure VM’s to run your software (excl Windows client and server)
  • Team Foundation in the Cloud


The Windows Azure benefit has been improved! The choice is now yours on how you use your Windows Azure credits for development and test – including Virtual Machines (VMs), Web Sites, Cloud Services, Mobile Services, Storage, SQL Database, Content Delivery Network, HDInsight, Media Services, and many more. As a Visual Studio Professional with MSDN subscriber, you’ll receive a $200 USD Windows Azure credit the first month you use your Windows Azure MSDN benefit, then $50 USD per month for subsequent months. 

And starting June 1, 2013 you now have the ability to run your MSDN software in Windows Azure VMs. This cloud use right applies to all software included in the MSDN subscription, except Windows client and Windows Server.* Additionally, you’ll be able to use your MSDN software with qualified MSDN cloud partners – more details will be available soon. Check out the Visual Studio and MSDN licensing white paper for more information on cloud use rights. 

You can also take your ALM solution to the cloud with the Team Foundation Service MSDN benefit.§ Team Foundation Service is an end-to-end solution that handles the critical elements of lifecycle management. It’s kept up to date with the latest tools, including traditional version control and Git repositories, enterprise agile portfolio management, and team room collaboration. Learn more about the latest features and register today! 

Simplified Password Sync to Azure AD and Office 365

At the end of May 2013, Alex Simons and the Active Directory team released a simple solution aimed at providing quick and effecient password synchronization from an customer owned Active Directory to Azure and/or Office 365. Although the solution creates “issues” associated with sync-ing password it does get rid of many of the complexities that was previously implemented using FIM Sync and PCNS.

This new password sync capability has many advantages over existing 3rd party solutions that synchronize your on-premises passwords to Azure AD/Office 365:

  • We don’t sync plaintext passwords – The solution syncs hashes of hashes of your user’s passwords greatly reducing the risk of a password leaking.
  • You don’t need to install any new software on your Domain Controllers OR reboot your DCs.
  • Users don’t need to change their password in order for their password to initially sync to Azure AD.

Check out the Active Directory Team Blog or TechNet for more information.


FIM 2010 R2 Service Pack 1

Service Pack 1 has been released on MSDN:

  • Forefront Identity Manager 2010 R2 with SP1 (x86 and x64) – DVD (Multiple Languages)
  • Forefront Identity Manager 2010 R2 SP1 (x86 and x64) – DVD (Multiple Languages)
  • BHOLD Suite with SP1 (x86 and x64) – DVD (English, Dutch, German)

Microsoft Forefront Identity Manager 2010 R2 Handbook: Thoughts

Over the past few weeks, I have had the pleasure to read the “Microsoft Forefront Identity Manager 2010 R2 Handbook“ by Kent Nordström. Those who watch the FIM TechNet forums will definitely know the name. I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the book from Packt Publishing and would like to thank Pamheiba Akoijam.

As anyone in this area of expertise knows there are not many good resources around when it comes to understanding the value proposition of FIM and how to technically deploy it; other than the official TechNet wiki’s, articles and blogs. For a complete list of online FIM resources see Forefront Identity Manager Resources (en-US) - TechNet - Microsoft.

One of the first books that added value to the community was “FIM R2 Best Practices Volume 1: Introduction, Architecture and Installation of Forefront Identity Manager 2010 R2” written originally by David Lundell and Brad Turner (that David has now updated for FIM 2010 R2). The book is a great resource as an introduction as well as architectural overview for deployment topologies and I often recommend it to FIM customers. The book however had a lot of topics that David and Brad wanted to still address. Enter “Microsoft Forefront Identity Manager 2010 R2 Handbook“.

I really enjoyed going through this book and reading how the book easily explains various difficult concepts. Something else that is noticeable from the start is that the book is written with a single common real world scenario featuring a fictitious company called “The Company” (no reference to the CIA J) as the basis for all business scenarios and solution deployment activities.

The book covers and extremely broad scope of topics related to FIM ranging from something as simple as a brief history for the product up to deployment and troubleshooting suggestions. One of the great things about the book as that it is very hand-on and practical. Each business challenge is explained, mapped to a solution in FIM (and associated Microsoft products and offerings) and then deployed step-by-step. This ranges from information aggregation and synchronization, object provisioning and de-provisioning, password management, group management and portal customization. I love the fact that the book includes sections on FIM Certificate Manager, ADFS and Office 365.

The FIM content itself within the book is extremely value and I might find myself referencing it from time to time. Important areas such as “least privilege permissions” and development to production migration adds to the comprehensive scope of the book.

It feels like I can go on and on about the things I liked when going through the book, but be assured this is one of the best hands-on technical guides to the product that is published today.

If I had to make one comment about what I thought was missing I would be the perspective on some of the business value within the product relating to reporting, compliance and governance. None the less the book is an excellent resource.

Things I liked about the book:

  • Real Business scenarios with real solutions
  • Great practical, hands-on scenarios and deployments
  • Touches on almost every technical consideration in just enough depth (great breath and enough depth)
  • UAG, ADFS and Office 365 scenarios

I think the combination of “FIM R2 Best Practices Volume 1: Introduction, Architecture and Installation of Forefront Identity Manager 2010 R2” and “Microsoft Forefront Identity Manager 2010 R2 Handbook“ will be my de-facto standard recommendation to any personal trying to understand FIM and it will be required reading for my deployment team from now on.

The book is avaiable on many online stores include B&N, Amazon and the publisher site (here).