Suppose your company is ready to create a corporate production environment using Windows Azure. If you are an enterprise of sufficient size, you will want to do this through your company’s Enterprise Agreement (commonly called an “EA”). But suppose you are a smaller company, or a 100% cloud company, and you want to do it the “right” way – but are not ready for an EA. How do you do it?
Microsoft Account is for Personal Use
First, while technically possible, there are reasons to not create production Windows Azure resources for your organization using a Microsoft Account (née Live Id (and many variants of Passport Account before that – it’s been around!)). The reason to avoid a Microsoft Account is that this is decidedly non-corporate – Microsoft accounts are intended for use by individuals. As a consequence, they are based on arbitrary email addresses and offer no way for an organization to manage them centrally. Even using your company email address as your login for a Microsoft Account is not a sufficiently manageable arrangement since you can continue to log into the associated Microsoft Account even after the email address no longer corresponds to a valid company email account.
Though you can get it done from a technical point of view – your Windows Azure assets can be deployed in production for sure from a Microsoft Account – there is a better way.
WAAD Organizational Account is for Organizations
Windows Azure Active Directory (WAAD) accounts are intended for use by organizations and are known as Organizational Accounts. And an “organization” in the context could be your company, school, non-profit, or any other entity from which centralized management of user accounts is beneficial.
Easily Create an Organizational Account from Windows Azure Portal
In the Windows Azure portal it is pretty easy to create additional Windows Azure Active Directory accounts all day long:
But the catch with that approach is that in order to create a new WAAD Organizational Account you need to be already logged into the Windows Azure Portal. So you already need an Azure Account. Though I have many accounts on Windows Azure, I wanted to understand the workflow to create a brand new Windows Azure setup without ever using an existing Windows Azure Account or a Microsoft Id…
In other words, what if I want to start from scratch?
Create Organization Account from Scratch
To create a new Organizational Account without already being logged into the portal, took some searching around and trying a few things, but turns out that one accomplish this by starting at https://account.windowsazure.com/organization.
The flow looks like this:
Note that later, once your new WAAD account has been established a few steps from now, you will receive a welcome email at the email you provided on this screen that will look something like this:
But back to the sign-up workflow… you will next click “check availability” then:
Click “Send text message” then type in the verification code:
Click “Verify code” then:
Click “continue” then:
after spinning you are invited to sign into Windows Azure:
After logging in…
After that spins a bit then asks you to sign up for the Windows Azure Free Trial:
Fill it in:
Click “Save” then fill in credit card details (not shown :-):
Then click “Sign up” to complete the process.
Tada! You are ready to go:
Now you can begin…
- Adding users to your WAAD Organizational Account
- Provisioning Windows Azure resources to the Subscription owned your Organizational Account
You can also configure your Organizational Account with a custom domain name (such as devpartners.com instead of devp.onmicrosoft.com) if desired.
But those are details for another time.
Office 365 Accounts are WAAD Organizational Accounts
Just so you know, Office 365’s directory service uses WAAD under the hood, and any Office 365 account is also a WAAD Organizational Account.
So most of the steps listed above (the ones associated with creating a WAAD Organizational Account) are not needed. You can create an Office 365 Account for your organization then jump directly to creating a Windows Azure account (or Free Trial).