Microsoft tackles SaaSy URL sprawl, dumping its dotcom in favor of cloud.microsoft
Promises more cross-product links, better security, and easier admin – for you and Redmond’s own crew
Microsoft has admitted its panoply of 365-branded products have sprawled across an uncomfortably large quantity of inconsistently named URLs, so the software giant has started to consolidate them all at cloud.microsoft.
"As Microsoft cloud services have grown over the years, the domain space they live on has grown as well – into the hundreds," states a Wednesday post from Redmond. "Over time, this fragmentation has created increasing challenges for end user navigation, administrative simplicity, and the development of cross-app experiences."
It's also meant the admins of the Microsoft.com domain have a lot of juggling to do as they try to secure the bits of that domain dedicated to SaaS and others that offer less sensitive content or services.
Redmond's response is to give its 365 services a consistent URL structure: [productname].cloud.microsoft. That decision means users will be able to access products at URLs such as outlook.cloud.microsoft or teams.cloud.microsoft, while status pages will be offered at status.cloud.microsoft.
The consistent URLs are more than a branding exercise. The post points out that the new arrangements are more intuitive, and mean admins only have to put one domain – cloud.microsoft – onto their allow-lists.
Microsoft's own admins will enjoy the change. "Keeping SaaS experiences isolated in their own domain space establishes a clean security boundary for our compliant authenticated experiences," the post observes. "There are also anti-spoofing and integrity benefits to hosting such experiences on an exclusive, purposefully-managed TLD like .microsoft vs a generic TLD like .com."
The scheme will one day expand beyond Microsoft 365. The Windows giant's post presages "We will share plans for other services in the future."
The document also teases "better and tighter integration across the Microsoft 365 ecosystem by streamlining development and improving performance of cross-app experiences."
We can't wait. Especially if they manage to stay up, unlike Microsoft 360-something and falling.
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Another reason for the shift to cloud.microsoft is to distinguish SaaS services from the e-commerce and content centric Microsoft.com domain.
The simplified URL scheme isn't live yet and will first be used for new services. Once Microsoft starts to move other services to its SaaSy domain, it will offer at least 30 days' notice.
It won't solve all of Microsoft's URL sprawl problems, though: in 2021 we reported a community-led effort to consolidate 179 admin portals at msportals.io. At the time of writing the list has grown to 220 portals. ®