If you have ever used User Profile Service Application within SharePoint, you will be glad to hear that they have made some improvements from 2010 to 2013. One of the nice new features is the ability to Import directory from Active Directory and not have to go via FIM! From my experience with 2010 this was one of the biggest pains – not being able to start the user profile service via Central Admin.
But there are also some limitations:
- Mapping to system SharePoint properties is not supported.
- Mapping two different AD attributes to the same SharePoint property is not supported
It works by:
- Starting the Synchronization Service in SharePoint (which is used for communication with FIM) – the Direct Import services are based on User Profiles.
- Configure the type of import
- configure the connection to the directory
- Run the Synchronization
This feature can be used in various environments (Development, Test, QA etc…) and allows quick and dirty imports rather than time consuming and painful replications of user profiles.
Overall a great addition to making life easier when presented with a business problem that only User Profile can solve.
For further detail please refer to: https://www.nothingbutsharepoint.com/sites/itpro/Pages/SharePoint-2013-User-Profile-Syncronization-Direct-Active-Directory-Import.aspx (Thanks Gokan Ozcifci)
http://www.harbar.net/archive/2012/07/23/sp13adi.aspx (Thanks Spencer Harbar)