Multi-Region Replication Now Enabled for AWS Managed Microsoft Active Directory

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  • AWS

Our customers build applications that need to serve users that live in all corners of the world. When listening to our customers, they told us that whilst they were comfortable building Active Directory (AD) aware applications on AWS, making them work globally can be a real challenge.

Customers told us that AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory had saved them time and money and provided them with all the capabilities they need to run their AD-aware applications. However, if they wanted to go global, they needed to create independent AWS Managed Microsoft AD directories per Region. They would then need to create a solution to synchronize data across each Region. This level of management overhead is significant, complex, and costly. It also slowed customers as they sought to migrate their AD-aware workloads to the cloud.

Today, I want to tell you about a new feature that allows customers to deploy a single AWS Managed Microsoft AD across multiple AWS Regions. This new feature called multi-region replication automatically configures inter-region networking connectivity, deploys domain controllers, and replicates all the Active Directory data across multiple Regions, ensuring that Windows and Linux workloads residing in those Regions can connect to and use AWS Managed Microsoft AD with low latency and high performance. AWS Managed Microsoft AD makes it more cost-effective for customers to migrate AD-aware applications and workloads to AWS and easier to operate them globally. In addition, automated multi-region replication provides multi-region resiliency.

AWS can now synchronize all customer directory data, including users, groups, Group Policy Objects (GPOs), and schema across multiple Regions. AWS handles automated software updates, monitoring, recovery, and the security of the underlying AD infrastructure across all Regions, enabling customers to focus on building their applications. Integrating with Amazon CloudWatch Logs and Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS), AWS Managed Microsoft AD makes it easy for customers to monitor the directory’s health, and security logs globally.

How It Works 
Let me show you how to create an Active Directory that spans multiple Regions using the AWS Managed Microsoft AD console. You do not have to create a new directory to use multi-region replication it will work on all your existing directories too.

First, I create a new Directory following the normal steps. I select Enterprise Edition since this is the only edition that supports multi-region replication.

I give my Directory a name and a description and then set an Admin password. I then click Next which takes me to the Networking setup.

I select a Amazon Virtual Private Cloud that I use for demos and then choose two subnets which are in separate Availability Zones. The AWS Managed Microsoft AD deploys two domain controllers per region and places them in separate subnets which are in different Availability Zones, this is done for resiliency reasons so that the directory can still operate even if one of the Availability Zones has issues.

Once I click next, I am presented with the review screen and I click Create Directory.

The directory takes between 20-45 minutes to be created. There is now a column on the Directories listing page that says Multi-Region, this directory has this value currently set to No indicating that it does not span multiple Regions

Once the directory has been created, I click on the Directory ID and drill into the details. I now have a new section called Multi-Region replication and there is a button called Add Region. If I click this button I can then configure an additional Region.

I select the Region that I want to add to my directory, in this example US West (Oregon) us-west-2, I then select a VPC in that Region and two subnets that must reside in separate Availability Zones. Finally, I click the Add button to add this new Region for my directory.

Now back on the directory details page I see there are two Regions listed one in US East (N. Virginia) and one in US West (Oregon), again the creation process can take upto 45 minutes, but once it has complete I will have my directory replicated across two Regions.

Costs
You pay by the hour for the domain controllers in each region, plus the cross-region data transfer. It’s important to understand that this feature will create two domain controllers in each Region that you Add, and so applications that reside in these Regions can now communicate with a local directory which lowers costs by minimizing the need for data transfer. To learn more, visit the pricing page.

Available Now
This new feature can be used today and is available for both new and existing directories that use the Enterprise Edition in any of the following Regions: US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (N. California), US West (Oregon), AWS GovCloud (US-East), US West (Oregon), Asia Pacific (Mumbai), Asia Pacific (Seoul), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Sydney), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), Canada (Central), Europe (Frankfurt), Europe (Ireland), Europe (London), Europe (Paris), Europe (Stockholm), and South America (São Paulo).

Head over to the product page to learn more, view pricing, and get started creating directories that span multiple AWS Regions.

Happy Administering

— Martin

Martin Beeby

Martin Beeby

As a Principal Advocate for Amazon Web Services, Martin travels the world showcasing the transformational capabilities of AWS. In his time as an advocate, Martin has spoken at over 200 events and meetups as well as producing, blogs, tutorials and broadcasts. Martin has been developing applications since he was 16 and over the past 20 years has worked on projects with many major companies and brands. His primary focus is on .NET applications and has worked as a C# and VB developer since 2001.

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