AWS Managed Microsoft AD - AWS Directory Service

AWS Managed Microsoft AD

AWS Directory Service lets you run Microsoft Active Directory (AD) as a managed service. AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory, also referred to as AWS Managed Microsoft AD, is powered by Windows Server 2019. When you select and launch this directory type, it is created as a highly available pair of domain controllers connected to your virtual private cloud (Amazon VPC). The domain controllers run in different Availability Zones in a Region of your choice. Host monitoring and recovery, data replication, snapshots, and software updates are automatically configured and managed for you.

With AWS Managed Microsoft AD, you can run directory-aware workloads in the AWS Cloud, including Microsoft SharePoint and custom .NET and SQL Server-based applications. You can also configure a trust relationship between AWS Managed Microsoft AD in the AWS Cloud and your existing on-premises Microsoft Active Directory, providing users and groups with access to resources in either domain, using AWS IAM Identity Center.

AWS Directory Service makes it easy to set up and run directories in the AWS Cloud, or connect your AWS resources with an existing on-premises Microsoft Active Directory. Once your directory is created, you can use it for a variety of tasks:

  • Manage users and groups

  • Provide single sign-on to applications and services

  • Create and apply group policy

  • Simplify the deployment and management of cloud-based Linux and Microsoft Windows workloads

  • You can use AWS Managed Microsoft AD to enable multi-factor authentication by integrating with your existing RADIUS-based MFA infrastructure to provide an additional layer of security when users access AWS applications

  • Securely connect to Amazon EC2 Linux and Windows instances


AWS manages the licensing of your Windows Server instances for you; all you need to do is pay for the instances you use. There is also no need to buy additional Windows Server Client Access Licenses (CALs), as access is included in the price. Each instance comes with two remote connections for admin purposes only. If you require more than two connections, or need those connections for purposes other than admin, you may have to bring in additional Remote Desktop Services CALs for use on AWS.

Read the topics in this section to get started creating a AWS Managed Microsoft AD directory, creating a trust relationship between AWS Managed Microsoft AD and your on-premises directories, and extending your AWS Managed Microsoft AD schema.

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