The multi-domain support is available in the LDAP-based Active Directory connector since version 220.127.116.11. This connector was bundled with midPoint version 3.3.1 and 3.4.
LDAP-based Active Directory connector supports Active Directory environment with multiple domains that are presented to midPoint as s single resource. The connector internally keeps LDAP connection to several domain controllers and distributes the requests as needed. This implementation allows the seamless use of cross-domain features such as membership of accounts from one domain in the group in another domain.
The implementation is based on two connector featues:
- Configuring multiple servers in the connector configuration. The connector will maintain connections to several servers and distribute operations to them based on the DN of an entry.
- Explicit support for Active Directory Global Catalog. This can be optionally supplemented by the LDAP referral mechanism (see below).
In practice both approaches are needed for proper multi-domain support.
Configuring Multiple Servers
The connector still has the usual configuration properties such as
bindDn and so on. This configuration specifies primary server in the domain. This is the server that will be used to retrieve the schema, it will be used to test the connection and so on. Other servers in the topology can be configured using new configuration property
servers. Each value of this property specifies one server. It contains attribute-value pairs that define connection parameters of each individual server. The names of configuration properties can be used, separated by equal signs and semicolons, such as this:
The server will be selected for each operation according to the
baseContext that is specified in server definition. The most specific DN match will be used. If there are more multiple servers specified for the same
baseContext then one of them will be selected randomly. The server which does not specify any
baseContext is considered to be the default and that server will be used if the DN cannot be matched. This is equivalent to the server which is specified by ordinary configuration properties.
The configuration properties that are not explicitly specified in the server configuration line are taken from the ordinary configuration. E.g. it is not necessary to specify
bindPassword for each server if they are the same as configured using the ordinary configuration properties.
LDAP referrals are special LDAP responses that efficiently mean "See also this server, it may have more data". Domain controllers usually provide appropriate referrals as a response to request for data that reside on a different domain controller. The connector will follow these referrals by default. This means that in some situations it is sufficient to configure just one domain controller in the connector configuration. The connector will then discover other controllers by following the referrals. Our testing shows that this is a feasible setup for read (search) operations. But it fails with write operations.
Active Directory is a distributed directory service. Each domain has its own database of users, groups and other objects. Yet, there is a globally-unique identifier (GUID) that is supposed to be an universal identifier across all the domains in the forest. But while entry DN contains information in which domain it belongs, the GUID has no such identification.
MidPoint is using GUID as a primary identifier. This is what we want, because GUID is persistent and therefore we can detect when object moves in the tree, when it is renamed, etc. But we also need a method to figure out which domain controller has authoritative data for each object. As we are using GUID and not DN as a primary identifier this is not a simple task.
Fortunately, Active Directory contains a replicated global database that is called global catalog. This database contains a partial information about all objects from all the domains in the forest. This is the ideal place that the connector can use to query objects based on GUID.
Global catalog location is configured by using the
globalCatalogServers configuration property. The property has the same syntax as the
servers property, e.g.:
globalCatalogServers property is explicitly specified, the connector will try to determine the global catalog hostname from the
host property. It will strip the hostname part, take the DNS domain and prepend
gc._msdcs in front of the domain. This is the common DNS domain that represents the global catalog location. Therefore in simple default installation of Active Directory forest there is usually no need to specify
The global catalog can be used in a several ways. There is a
globalCatalogStrategy configuration property to control the behavior. It may have the following values:
none: (default) The global catalog will not be used explicitly. The global catalog will only be used when an LDAP referral points to it and referral strategy is set to follow (which is the default). This configuration is the best one for single-domain deployments, because it will avoid explicit round-trip to global catalog which is not needed in single-domain deployments. Therefore it is the default value for global catalog strategy. This strategy should also work in multi-domain environment as long as referrals are set to
follow. But there are some issues (see note below).
resolve: The global catalog will be used to translate GUID to DN. But other global catalog attributes will be ignored. The actual data will be retrieved from the authoritative domain controller. This is the recommended setting for multi-domain deployment as it is the most reliable method.
read: The global catalog will be used to read the object data. The domain controller will not be queried. This has an advantage over the
resolvestrategy that it is only one query instead of two. But only partial data are returned as global catalog contains only a subset of data. This can be the strategy of choice for deployments where performance is critical and that use only those data that are stored in global catalog.
read strategies it is also recommended to change referral strategy to
ignore. This makes sure that only the servers mentioned in the configuration will be queried. This may be important, because default installation of Active Directory issues referrals that point to non-secure global catalog port 3268 therefore exposing the password used by the connector.
Connector configuration should contain the top-level domain controller (
top.example.com) configured using the ordinary configuration properties. The domain controllers of sub-domains (
sub2.example.com) should be configured using the
servers configuration property. This example assumes that the
bindDn is specific for each server, but the password is the same on all servers.
The accounts should be configured for the top domain and each sub domain as a separate object type in the
schemaHandling section (only top domain and one subdomain is shown in the following example).
baseContext specification is important in this case. This specification is used by midPoint to correctly base the searches to these specific DNs which in turns allows the connector to properly route them to appropriate servers. This may be partially mitigated by the referral mechanism, but explicitly specifying the
baseContext is a more reliable method.
baseContext feature is only available in midPoint 3.3.1 and midPoint 3.4 (and later).
The roles are selecting a domain simply by using the intent:
Entitlements and Associations
As all the domains are presented to midPoint as a single resource, it is easy to define entitlement (group) in one account and specify an association in another account. The following example defines groups in top-level domain and an association to these groups in the subdomain:
This is essential the usual association definition as one would use in single-domain environment. The connector will properly route the group membership operations to the domain controller that maintains group entry. The
baseContext specifications should be properly used here as well. Also please note the use of shortcut association attribute (
memberOf). The Active Directory seems to maintain this attribute properly even in multi-domain environment. The use of this attribute can significantly speed up the system especially is groups with large number of users are used.
- The connector will work properly only if all the domains have the same schema.
- Passwords that apply to individual servers can be specified in the
serversconfiguration property if needed. However, this property is an ordinary string property and it does not have the same protection as password properties. Therefore if passwords are specified there then the passwords will be stored in cleartext in the databse and the cleartext password might (unintentional) appear in the log file. The password specified in the ordinary
bindDnproperty is encrypted and protected. If the same password is used for all domain controllers then it is best to specify it once in the
bindDnproperty and do not specify it in
serversproperty at all.
- The connector will follow referrals specified by the domain controllers in the LDAP responses. The referrals are DNS names that ofter rely on the AD-specific DNS entries (such as
DomainDnsZones.example.comand so on). Therefore correct DNS setup with delegation the AD-managed DNS server is needed for proper functioning of the connector.