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Consistent group naming in Microsoft Infrastructure services

April 10, 2017

A change in how group names are populated will occur to ensure a more consistent user experience across service interfaces which leverage Microsoft Infrastructure (MI).


What and When:

On April 26th, we’ll be making a couple changes related to group naming in Microsoft Infrastructure (MI). These changes may take as much as a day to propagate to all interfaces.


Some application interfaces that leverage MI for groups use the ‘display name’ value and others use the ‘identifier’ value to help customers identify groups in group picker interfaces. Groups Service (GS) customers can choose a different value for the ‘group display name’ than the ‘group id’. These two differing values can lead to confusion in different application interfaces.


We currently populate the MI group ‘display name’ value with the Group Service’s ‘group display name’ value. This change will alter that approach so that the MI group ‘display name’ value comes from the Group Service’s ‘group id’ value.


What you need to do:

No action is required unless you have processes which are built on the assumption that the MI group ‘display name’ value will come from the Group Service ‘group display name’ value. You may need to alter those processes to align with this change.


In general, we believe this change will support more wide-spread use of groups for applications.


More info:

Azure AD based applications and Sharepoint Server (on-premises) are the most common examples using the ‘display name’ attribute in their group interfaces, whereas most other applications use the ‘identifier’ attribute.


There is a strong practice around assignment of the group identifier value and stronger historical reliance on it, so this is the group name value we’ve chosen to standardize on. By standardizing on one value for both of the MI group attributes commonly used in application interfaces, consistency is achieved despite application design that differs.


Several more specific changes are happening, see below for the logic:

-Changing the group agent logic by which all future changes from the Groups Service propagate to MI.

-Running a one time “fix” on existing groups to update their display name value.

-Populating the ‘group name’ value to the ‘description’ attribute if there isn’t otherwise a description value.


The logic:

-map GS.groupid value to MI.displayName value, i.e. MI.displayName = GS.groupid

-continue to map GS.description to MI.description value, i.e. MI.description = GS.description

-if GS.description value = NULL, then MI.description = GS.groupName


MI documentation will be updated after this change to reflect these details.


Brian Arkills

Microsoft Infrastructure service manager