Deploying ADFS on Nutanix – Installing and Configuring – Part 2

Deploying and configuring Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) 2012 R2 for Office 365 can be broken down into 4 blog posts:

  1. Install and Configuring ADFS (this post)
  2. Configuring Name Resolution and additional nodes (Coming Soon)
  3. Install ADFS Proxy (Coming Soon)
  4. Leverage ADFS with Office 365 (Coming Soon)
  5. New automated methods of setting up ADFS with Office 365 (Coming Soon)

Planning And Prerequisites, and Other Fun Details


Here are is the list of prerequisites from TechNet. But in general, you need to make sure you have a SSL certificate. The certificate must be trusted publicly (chained to a public root certification authority) or explicitly trusted by all computers that require access to the federation service. A wildcard certificate would work or a standard web certificate with the name you desire (i.e. – FS = federation service)

For this lab, you will need a Windows 2012 R2 Server with 4 cores, 4 Gigs of RAM and 100 Gig OS drive.

ADFS Role Planning

The ADFS role should be deployed within the corporate network, and not in the DMZ.  The ADFS proxy role is intended to be installed into the DMZ.

The default topology for Active Directory Federation Services is a federation server farm, using the Windows Internal Database (WID), that consists of up to five federation servers hosting your organization’s Federation Service. In this topology, ADFS uses WID as the store for the configuration database for all federation servers that are joined to that farm. The farm replicates and maintains the Federation Service data in the configuration database across each server in the farm.

Since the availability of Office 365 relies upon the availability of ADFS when the domain is federated there is a strong recommendation to have at least two ADFS servers with a redundant proxy infrastructure. On Nutanix, make sure the ADFS servers are running on different nodes and/or cluster’s for complete site resilience. Running Active Directory Federation Services on Windows 2012 R2 is fully supported across all hypervisors including Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV).

For more information on different designs, please review the design guidance information on TechNet.

Step by Step Install Guide

ADFS is installed as a role as shown below:ADFS-step1 ADFS-step2 ADFS-step3 ADFS-step4 ADFS-step5

Ok, that’s the easy part, now on to configuration.;)

Step by Step Configuration Guide

Welcome Active Directory Federation Services Configuration Wizard…!!
Before you begin your configuration, you must have the following:

  • An Active Directory domain administrator account.
  • A publicly trusted certificate for SSL server authentication installed in IIS before starting wizard.

AD FS prerequisites

ADFS-config-step1 ADFS-config-step2 ADFS-config-step3 ADFS-config-step4 ADFS-config-step5

This server will be configured as the primary server in a new AD FS farm ‘fs.poc.lan’. The configuration will be stored in Windows Internal Database. Windows Internal Database feature will be installed on this server if it is not already installed. All existing configurations in the database will be deleted. A group Managed Service Account POC\adfs$ will be created if it does not already exist and this host will be added as a member. Federation service will be configured to run as POC\adfs$.


If you click on View script, you can see the automated version:

# Windows PowerShell script for AD FS Deployment
Import-Module ADFS
-FederationServiceDisplayName:"ADFS POC" `
-FederationServiceName:"fs.poc.lan" `
-GroupServiceAccountIdentifier:"POC\adfs`$" `
The root key for the group Managed Service Account was created just before running the wizard.. If you have more than one domain controller in your Active Directory forest, the key may not yet have replicated to all domain controllers and therefore the service may not successfully install or start. To avoid service startup problems, wait 10 hours to ensure the key has replicated to all DCs before completing the Active Directory Federation Services Configuration Wizard, executing Install-AdfsFarm or Add-AdfsFarmNode on any other servers in your network, or restarting any AD FS service.


Verifying that AD FS is working fine:

Checkout your (IdentityProvider) IdP Sign-on landing page by navigating to https://fs./adfs/ls/IdpInitiatedSignon.aspx



And that’s how the is ADFS is initially setup, no matter you are a large or small environment, …Next up….Configuring Name Resolution and additional nodes…Until next time….Rob

Exchange Server 2016 RTM Released: Forged in the cloud. Built for Web-Scale

Exchange Server 2016 is here and available to download!!!

What sets this version of Exchange apart from the past, is that it was forged in the cloud. This release brings the Exchange bits that already power millions of Office 365 mailboxes to your on-premises environment. And deploying Exchange 2016 on Nutanix, you can truly create the ultimate email web-scale environment.

Email remains the backbone of business communication and the one that workers consider the most essential tool for getting things done. Because of this, it’s vital to have a modern messaging infrastructure that meets today’s business expectations of scale. With the volume of email and other communications continuing to grow, people need tools that help them focus on what’s most important in their inboxes, schedules and interactions with others at work. And as the quantity of email data grows, so do the demands on IT to manage, preserve and protect it. This is why Web-Scale so important in an Exchange 2016 environment.

Web-Scale Fundamentals  
Exchange Server 2016

To help you meet these challenges with Exchange Server, Microsoft has deepened the integration between Exchange and other Office products, so your organization can be more productive and collaborate more effectively. They’ve made it easier to manage your email with new ways to focus on what’s important, work more efficiently, and accomplish more with your devices. Microsoft has also simplified the Exchange architecture and introduced additional recovery features.

Exchange 2016 builds on and improves features introduced in Exchange 2013, including Data Loss Prevention, Managed Availability, automatic recovery from storage failures, and the web-based Exchange admin center.

  • Better collaboration: Exchange 2016 includes a new approach to attachments that simplifies document sharing and eliminates version control headaches. In Outlook 2016 or Outlook on the web, you can now attach a document as a link to SharePoint 2016 (currently in preview) or OneDrive for Business instead of a traditional attachment, providing the benefits of coauthoring and version control.
    Exchange Server 2016
  • Improved Outlook web experience: Continuing our effort to provide you with a first class web experience across devices, Microsoft has made significant updates to Outlook on the web. New features include: Sweep, Pin, Undo, inline reply, a new single-line inbox view, improved HTML rendering, new themes, emojis, and more.
    Exchange Server 2016
  • Search: A lightning-fast search architecture delivers more accurate and complete results. Outlook 2016 is optimized to use the power of the Exchange 2016 back end to help you find things faster, across old mail and new. Search also gets more intelligent with Search suggestions, People suggestions, search refiners, and the ability to search for events in your Calendar.
    Exchange Server 2016
  • Greater extensibility:  An expanded Add-In model for Outlook desktop and Outlook on the web allows developers to build features right into the Outlook experience. Add-ins can now integrate with UI components in new ways: as highlighted text in the body of a message or meeting, in the right-hand task pane when composing or reading a message or meeting, and as a button or a dropdown option in the Outlook ribbon.
    Exchange Server 2016
  • eDiscovery: Exchange 2016 has a revamped eDiscovery pipeline that is significantly faster and more scalable. Reliability is improved due to a new search architecture that is asynchronous and distributes the work across multiple servers with better fault tolerance. You also have the ability to search, hold and export content from public folders.
  • Simplified architecture: One Role…!  Exchange 2016’s architecture reflects the way we deploy Exchange in Office 365 and is an evolution and refinement of Exchange 2013. A combined mailbox and client access server role makes it easier to plan and scale your on-premises and hybrid deployments. Coexistence with Exchange 2013 is simplified, and namespace planning is easier.
  • High availability: Automated repair improvements such as database divergence detection make Exchange easier than ever to run in a highly available way. Stability and performance enhancements from Office 365, many of which were so useful that Microsoft shipped them in Exchange 2013 Cumulative Updates, are also baked into the product.

That’s just quick list of highlights; I encourage you to get a full view of what’s new by reviewing the Exchange 2016 documentation on TechNet.

Or, if you are in the mood for something more bite-sized, check out these short demo videos in which a few members of the Exchange team show off their favorite features:

Exchange 2016 will follow the same servicing rhythm as Exchange 2013, with Cumulative Updates (CUs) released approximately every three months that contain bug fixes, product refinements, and selected new investments from Office 365. The first CU is expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2016.

I just started playing with the RTM and will update on under the hood changes in a future blog post.  Stay Tuned…Until next Rob….