AWS Directory Services is a managed service that makes it easy to set up and run directories in the AWS Cloud. It provides several directory types, including Amazon Cloud Directory, AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory (Enterprise Edition, also known as AWS Managed Microsoft AD), and Simple AD. These directories are fully managed and integrate seamlessly with other AWS services, such as Amazon EC2, AWS SSO, and AWS Managed Services.

Amazon Cloud Directory is a scalable, highly available, and fully managed directory service that enables you to build flexible cloud-native directories for organizing hierarchies of data along multiple dimensions. It can be used to create directories for a wide range of use cases, such as identity and access management, schema-free graph databases, and application-specific data.

AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory (Enterprise Edition) is a fully managed, highly available service that enables you to use Microsoft Active Directory (AD) in the AWS Cloud without the need to deploy or manage any domain controllers. It provides a fully functional AD environment that can be used to manage users, groups, and computers, and to enable seamless domain join and authentication for Windows and Linux instances.

Simple AD is a fully managed directory service that is based on Samba 4, an open-source implementation of the Microsoft Active Directory protocol. It provides a subset of Active Directory features, such as user and group management, and can be used to authenticate users and computers in the AWS Cloud.

AWS Directory Services also provides a managed Microsoft AD Connector, which enables you to connect your on-premises Active Directory to AWS and use your existing identities to access AWS resources. This makes it easy to extend your existing AD infrastructure to the AWS Cloud and provides a seamless integration between on-premises and cloud-based resources.

AWS Directory Services is a managed service that enables businesses to connect their AWS resources with an existing on-premises Microsoft Active Directory or to create a new, managed directory in the AWS Cloud. It provides a highly available and scalable directory infrastructure, which eliminates the need for businesses to manage and maintain their own directory services.

AWS Directory Services also supports multiple use cases, including authentication and authorization, user and device management, and application access control. This service provides a simple and secure way to manage access to AWS resources and applications, and it integrates seamlessly with other AWS services such as Amazon EC2, Amazon RDS, and Amazon WorkSpaces.

With AWS Directory Services, businesses can improve security, enhance compliance, and reduce operational costs by leveraging a managed directory solution in the cloud.

AWS Directory Services provides three types of directory services to help you manage your on-premises and cloud-based directory resources. These are:

  1. Simple AD – A cost-effective directory option for small and medium-sized businesses that need a Microsoft Active Directory (AD)–compatible directory to support their Amazon EC2 instances and applications running on AWS. It is a standalone directory that does not require any infrastructure to be set up.
  2. AD Connector – A proxy service that allows you to connect your on-premises Active Directory to AWS services, including Amazon EC2, Amazon RDS, and AWS WorkSpaces, without the need for complex network configurations or synchronizing identities.
  3. AWS Managed Microsoft AD – A fully managed, highly available Microsoft AD service that enables you to use AWS services with your on-premises AD. It is a highly scalable and highly available directory service that provides all the capabilities of Microsoft AD, including Group Policy, domain join, and LDAP/Kerberos authentication. It also supports multi-region deployments, enabling you to deploy a single directory across multiple AWS regions to provide low-latency access to AWS resources from any location.

Features and Benefits

Centralized user management

With AWS Cloud, you can centrally manage and control user access and permissions across all of your AWS resources. This helps to simplify user management and ensure that access is granted only to those who need it, reducing the risk of unauthorized access and data breaches.

Integration with AWS resources

AWS Cloud provides seamless integration with a wide range of AWS resources, including compute, storage, networking, and security services. This allows you to easily build, deploy, and manage your applications and infrastructure on the AWS Cloud, with minimal effort.

Secure and compliant

AWS Cloud provides a secure and compliant environment for your applications and data. With built-in security features like encryption, multi-factor authentication, and network isolation, you can ensure that your data is protected at all times. AWS Cloud also complies with a wide range of industry standards and regulations, making it suitable for even the most sensitive workloads.

Scalable and highly available

AWS Cloud enables you to scale your applications and infrastructure on demand, without having to worry about capacity constraints or downtime. With features like auto-scaling and load balancing, AWS Cloud ensures that your applications are highly available and responsive, even during periods of high traffic or demand.

Use Cases

Hybrid IT environments

Hybrid IT environments are becoming increasingly common as organizations seek to leverage the benefits of both on-premises and cloud-based infrastructure. AWS offers a range of services that can help organizations to seamlessly integrate on-premises infrastructure with AWS Cloud resources. For example, AWS Direct Connect allows organizations to establish a dedicated network connection between their on-premises data center and AWS, providing a more reliable and secure connection than internet-based connections. Additionally, services such as AWS Storage Gateway can be used to extend on-premises storage to AWS, enabling organizations to take advantage of the scalability and cost-effectiveness of cloud storage.

Cloud-based applications

AWS provides a comprehensive set of services for building, deploying, and managing cloud-based applications. These services include compute, storage, database, and networking services, as well as tools for monitoring, logging, and security. AWS Lambda, for example, allows developers to run code in response to events, without the need to provision or manage servers. AWS Elastic Beanstalk enables developers to deploy and manage applications in multiple languages, including Java, .NET, PHP, Node.js, Python, Ruby, and Go. AWS also offers a range of container services, such as Amazon ECS and Amazon EKS, which can be used to run and manage containerized applications on AWS.

Managed Active Directory services

AWS offers a range of managed Active Directory services, including AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory, which provides a fully-managed Microsoft Active Directory service in the AWS Cloud. This service enables organizations to use existing Active Directory identities and group policies to manage AWS resources, without the need to deploy and manage their own domain controllers. AWS also offers AWS Managed Microsoft AD, which provides a fully-managed, highly available Active Directory service, and AWS Directory Service for Simple AD, which provides a low-cost, directory-based identity management solution for small businesses and startups. These services make it easy for organizations to extend their on-premises Active Directory infrastructure to AWS, or to create a new, cloud-based directory service.

Getting Started

Creating and Configuring a Directory

To get started with AWS Managed Microsoft AD, you first need to create and configure a directory in the AWS Management Console. This involves specifying the domain name, choosing the size of the directory, and selecting the VPC and subnet in which the directory will reside. You also need to configure DNS, which involves creating a DNS forwarder in your VPC and updating your DHCP options set.

Managing Users and Groups

After creating and configuring your directory, you can start managing users and groups. You can add users and groups manually or import them from an existing on-premises Active Directory. You can also create security groups and assign permissions to users and groups.

Integrating with AWS Resources

AWS Managed Microsoft AD can be integrated with a variety of AWS resources, including Amazon EC2 instances, Amazon RDS databases, and Amazon WorkSpaces. You can use the directory to authenticate and authorize access to these resources, which helps improve security and simplify management. For example, you can use the directory to control access to your Amazon EC2 instances by using Group Policy Objects (GPOs) to manage user and computer settings.


Overview of pricing models

AWS offers flexible pricing models based on the services and resources used by customers. The most common pricing models include:

  • Pay-as-you-go: This model allows customers to pay only for the resources they use, without any upfront costs or long-term commitments. Customers are charged based on the actual usage of resources, such as compute, storage, and data transfer.
  • Reserved Instances: Reserved Instances provide customers with a significant discount on the hourly charge for an instance in exchange for committing to use the instance for a specific period of time, typically one or three years.
  • Spot Instances: Spot Instances allow customers to bid on unused EC2 capacity and run workloads at a much lower cost than the On-Demand price. Spot Instances are best suited for workloads that can handle interruptions and are flexible with respect to availability zones and instance types.
  • Dedicated Hosts: Dedicated Hosts provide customers with physical EC2 servers fully dedicated to their use. Dedicated Hosts can help customers reduce costs by allowing them to use their existing server-bound software licenses.

Factors that affect pricing

Several factors can affect the pricing of AWS services, including:

  • Usage: The amount of resources used by customers, including compute, storage, data transfer, and other AWS services, can affect pricing.
  • Region: AWS pricing can vary by region due to differences in infrastructure costs, taxes, and other factors.
  • Instance type: Different EC2 instance types have different pricing based on their specifications, such as CPU, memory, and network performance.
  • Reserved Instances: The pricing for Reserved Instances depends on the length of the commitment and the payment option chosen.
  • Spot Instances: The price of Spot Instances is determined by supply and demand and can fluctuate rapidly.
  • Dedicated Hosts: The pricing for Dedicated Hosts depends on the instance type and the region, as well as the length of the commitment.


In conclusion, AWS Cloud offers a wide range of benefits and use cases for businesses looking to improve their operations and infrastructure. These include increased flexibility, scalability, cost-effectiveness, and security. With AWS Cloud, businesses can easily deploy and manage their applications and services, as well as access a range of tools and services for data management, analytics, and machine learning.

One area that is particularly important for businesses is centralizing user management in the cloud. By doing so, businesses can ensure that their users have secure and easy access to the resources they need, regardless of their location or device. This can help to increase productivity and reduce the risk of security breaches, which can be costly and damaging to a business.

Overall, AWS Cloud provides businesses with a powerful and reliable platform for managing their infrastructure and applications. By leveraging its many benefits, businesses can achieve improved performance, scalability, and agility, while also reducing their costs and improving their security posture.