What You Need to Do Before Azure AD and MSOL Modules Retire
Microsoft has recently been beating the drum about the retirement of the Azure AD PowerShell module and its older Microsoft Online Services (MSOL) counterpart. On March 3, the Azure AD team posted in the Microsoft Technical Community to say that they had listened to customer feedback and pushed the termination of support out from the end of June to the end of 2022. On September 30, Microsoft set a new retirement date for the Azure AD and MSOL modules for June 30, 2023. Things tend to happen around the end of June to align with the end of Microsoft’s financial year and allow everyone to start the new year afresh.
The salient points in message center notification MC281145 are:
- Reaffirmation that Microsoft will not retire the Azure AD Graph API on June 30, 2022. The Azure AD Graph is the component which underpins the Azure AD and MSOL modules. It’s a Graph API built especially for Azure AD before the Microsoft Graph established its position as the common API for Microsoft 365. The Azure AD team wants to deprecate their Graph API and embrace the Microsoft Graph, which is the basic reason for the planned deprecation of the Azure AD and MSOL modules.
- Confirmation that the subset of the cmdlets in the Azure AD and MSOL modules which deal with user licensing will stop working earlier than the rest of the other cmdlets. Quite apart from the desire to move to the Microsoft Graph, these cmdlets are affected because Microsoft is moving to a new licensing management platform. Originally, the scheduled date for the transition was June 30, 2022. Microsoft pushed the date out eight weeks to August 26, 2022 and now it’s March 31, 2023. After this date, license management cmdlets like Get-AzureADSubscribedSKU won’t work.
- Reconfirmation that the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK is the way forward.
The deprecation date for the Azure AD and MSOL modules is shifting. Originally, this was June 2022, then the end of 2022, and now it’s June 2023. Clearly, customer feedback has told Microsoft that it’s going to be difficult to update PowerShell scripts before Microsoft wants to retire these modules. ISV products which use the modules or the Azure AD Graph API must also be updated before the axe descends. See Microsoft’s FAQ for help in identifying other applications which use the Azure AD Graph API.
Update (July 29): Microsoft has pushed out the retirement of the Azure AD and MSOL license management cmdlets to 31 March 2023.
No matter which way you turn, the basic fact is that Microsoft will eventually retire the Azure AD and MSOL modules. It’s time to update scripts now, with the priority order being:
- Scripts that manage licenses for Azure AD accounts (before August 26, 2022). This example of creating a license management report might help get you started.
- Scripts that perform other Azure AD management operations (ideally before the end of 2022).
Microsoft Documents Its Migration Approach
To help, Microsoft has created some documentation for steps to migrate scripts. The most important statement is “There is currently no tool to automatically converts scripts in Azure AD PowerShell to Microsoft Graph PowerShell.” I doubt that any automatic script migration tool will appear. There are just too many variations in how people code with PowerShell to guarantee that a tool could handle even moderately complex scripts. The potential to create a support nightmare is one reason why I think Microsoft won’t produce a migration tool.
Which leaves us with Microsoft’s simple three-step approach to script migration:
- Find the Microsoft Graph equivalent of your Azure AD PowerShell cmdlets from the Cmdlet map.
- Select the Microsoft Graph cmdlet to view the reference documentation and get the new syntax for the cmdlet.
- Update your existing scripts using the new syntax.
Testing might be a good fourth step to add. And before you start, you need to create an inventory of scripts which use Azure AD or MSOL cmdlets.
At first glance, the process seems straightforward. In many cases, it is, and you won’t have huge difficulty in converting Get-AzureADUser with Get-MgUser. Microsoft notes some limitations, to which I add:
- Don’t depend on the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK documentation for help with basic information like the format of input parameters. The documentation is machine-created and is shockingly bad in terms of its ability to guide people with real-life examples.
- The SDK cmdlets are based on Graph API queries and often the documentation for those queries will help you understand how cmdlets work and the parameter values they expect.
- The Graph Explorer is an excellent tool to help understand how Graph queries run and what they return.
- Pay attention to parameters and switches. Some parameters of SDK cmdlets require a colon between the parameter and the value where an Azure AD or MSOL cmdlet does not. Some parameter and switch names change.
- Don’t plan to run SDK scripts interactively. It will only lead to an accumulation of permissions for the service principal used by the SDK.
- The SDK cmdlets handle pagination when necessary to retrieve all matching objects. Usually, there’s an -All parameter to help (like Get-MgGroup -All).
- Sometimes you’ll need to use certificate-based authentication and a separate Azure AD registered to gain administrative access to data. The Teams tags report is a good example of when this technique is necessary.
We Feel Your Pain
The Office 365 for IT Pros eBook writers are busy converting script examples to use the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK. We plan to have everything done over the next few months. On one level, it’s a pain to be forced to find and upgrade scripts. On another, it’s an opportunity to revamp scripts to make them work better. Perhaps you might even consider moving some of your long-running scripts to Azure Automation?
So much change, all the time. It’s a challenge to stay abreast of all the updates Microsoft makes across Office 365. Subscribe to the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook to receive monthly insights into what happens, why it happens, and what new features and capabilities mean for your tenant.