Andrew asked a really interesting question back in December about the future of domain controllers. I’d like to point out two complementary paths that may converge in the future and work out a possible user story for them.
The first path is represented by Active Directory Federation Services. ADFS v2 is being used by Microsoft IT to provide identity information to internal, and some external sites. http://channel9.msdn.com/shows/Identity/How-ADFS-v2-Helps-Microsoft-IT-to-Manage-Application-Access/. Using ADFS with 3rd parties means that my identity information is provided directly to the site based on my ability to log into a Microsoft domain, working within the corporate network this is entirely transparent, I don’t have to create and manage accounts for the dozens of different internal and external services that I use. Should I leave Microsoft at some point, then MSIT don’t need to contact all these companies to remove my access as that access is no longer possible as soon as my account is disabled. Could a future version of Windows allow access to resources based on a standardized secure token and the claims that it contains?
A second path is that the number of identity providers that I use is slowly consolidating, previously it would be normal to create a new account for each service, now I expect to be able to sign in directly to new services such as Project Emporia using a windows live or facebook account. The more experimental, temporary or infrequently used the less I trust them to maintain my account. Why wouldn’t I consider employers the same way? Rather than authenticating to a Windows AD
Imagine a future sample for Contoso Cycles looking at staff identity. They continue to have an Active Directory but ADFS has been deployed enabling staff to access supplier ordering sites directly based on their corporate identity using federated identity at the supplier site. They have seasonal demand and take on temporary staff. The IT manager is aware that shops have been creating shared accounts for holiday staff, rather than raising IT requests for each temporary staff member a closed Facebook group is created, temporary staff are added to this group by the store manager. Contoso IT authenticate Facebook users for domain access, and give log in permissions based on membership of the Facebook group.
BTW John recently joined Microsoft as an architect in the MTC