We are preparing to migrate our client's SP 2016 On-Prem to SP Online.

As our first steps we are planning to:

  • Create a Dev environment as a copy of the SP On-Prem (origin), but without most of the content.
  • Create a Staging environment as a copy of the SP Online (destination)

To be honest I don't understand well the role of AD in these different environments.

Can Prod and Dev share the same AD? If yes, is it a good practice?

What about on our destination? How do we set Azure AD for staging?

I've sketched 2 plans:

Plan 1 - Different ADs for Dev and Prod in the origin.

Plan 2 - Share the same AD within the client's vpn.

If you can shed a light on this matter it will be greatly appreciated.

Plan 1 Plan 1

Plan 2 Plan 2

2 Answers 2


It is not possible to have the same Active Directory user replicated to multiple Azure AD tenants. Because of this, Plan 1 would be more appropriate if you're in a hybrid state, though you will have to maintain separate Active Directory forests.

  • 1
    Yes we will both ADs separated. Both in the On-Prem Farm and Online Tenants. Thank you so much Trevor. Apr 8, 2020 at 21:29
  • You can add users from another Azure AD tenant as a guest in another...it basically works as federation between tenants. So the account still only exists in one tenant, but can be granted access to another.
    – DubStep
    Apr 30, 2020 at 18:32
  • Guests have limitations, however (i.e. they cannot access certain O365 Group resources).
    – user6024
    Apr 30, 2020 at 19:04
  • I haven't run into any personally. For example, I'm a global administrator on my azure tenant with a guest account. I dunno what that means for O365, but was assuming this was just being used for SharePoint Online access.
    – DubStep
    May 4, 2020 at 13:24

Yes, you can have multiple SharePoint farms in the same domain. There is no good or bad practice about it, as there isn't anything domain specific for a SharePoint farm other than the accounts. It doesn't register any objects in AD. A good practice would be using separate SQL servers and domain accounts for each farm.

  • My concern was loosing some functionality because of SharePoint "not finding" AD users or groups. Apr 8, 2020 at 13:15
  • If that is not the case then I might go with Plan 1 in order to have more control over the environment, not depending on the client IT Apr 8, 2020 at 13:16

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