Migrating MSA to AAD “fun” (rant)

I am starting to go through the Microsoft push to move from Microsoft Accounts (MSA, a.k.a. live.com accounts) to Azure Active Directory (AAD), their cloud-based enterprise solution to user and group management.

With a heavy investment in Azure, Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS), Visual Studio Subscriptions (formerly MSDN subscriptions), etc., this has been challenging.  We have run into issues with moving Azure subscriptions to AAD (previously managed via MSA).  We have run into PowerShell for Azure scripting issues.  We have run into automation issues between VSTS and Azure. VSTS has strange requirements with the primary email address on MSA must be the VS subscription email address (change the primary email address on your MSA and you won’t see your VS subscription, unless it is the free one).

Add to the fact that my MSA used to have a custom domain.  They offered it, promoted it, and then are taking it away although “grandfathering” those that had it.  But this has been problematic in that I couldn’t renew it and their support kept trying to push me over to the business side (Office 365) when it is part of Outlook Premium.  I finally gave up and moved my custom domain to Office 365 to make it more straight forward.  But I shouldn’t have had to do that, now having two separate accounts where before I had one.

I know we will get through this.  In the long run, it will probably be for the best.  In addition to my navigating from MSA to AAD, I also access multiple AADs, so that fun should be interesting when the time comes.

Microsoft should have continued to embrace custom domains with Outlook Premium (via MSA).  Microsoft should have done a much better job of supporting both MSA and AAD integration, giving us migration tools to map MSA accounts to AAD (with the MSA accounts approval of course) so resource access wasn’t lost or confusing (instead of having to work with Microsoft directly, where they have made mistakes because of the complex array of services over the decades via MSA).

I did look at an alternative to O365 and Outlook Premium once I knew I was in trouble with their policy changes that were well supported.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t much that could provide the Exchange Active Sync (EAS) capabilities along with Webmail and Outlook support (with all the features of Calendar, Inbox, Folders, Contacts, etc.).