1. Home
  2. User Management
  3. How Do I Integrate Bright With AD provider from SSSD?

How Do I Integrate Bright With AD provider from SSSD?

This article discusses the AD provider of SSSD. The AD provider provided by MS Windows provides compatibility with LDAP/Kerberos as well as AD. The AD provider provided by SSSD is a protocol-compatible version that does much of the same. It also helps avoid many of the long procedures that would otherwise be followed.

SSSD’s AD provider introduces these unique features in terms of security, speed and ease of configuration:

  • Logins are faster as the AD provider can leverage the special tokenGroups feature.
  • The client machine is able to update or refresh its DNS records.
  • The NetBIOS domain name can be autodiscovered and used in both lookups and output format (getent passwd AD\\Administrator now works). Clients are able to automatically discover the closest AD server to connect to using the ‘sites’ feature of AD. The AD provider automatically discovers trusted domains in the same forest, allowing all users from the same forest to log in to the machine.
  • Expressing access control with an LDAP filter was made much simpler with a new configuration option.
  • Custom UPN suffixes, also known as Enterprise Principals are supported by default (in RHEL7 only. See workaround for RHEL5/6 below)

Also note that the AD provider uses GSSAPI binds to AD LDAP for increased security.

Notes for RHEL7/8 and clones:

RHEL 7/8 uses includes realmd and the whole process of joining and  generating the configuration files can be achieved by issuing a single command – ‘realm join <domain name>’

The following packages need to be installed:

# yum install realmd oddjob oddjob-mkhomedir sssd adcli

Then issue the realm join command:

# realm join <domain name>

This will create and populate the necessary config files.

Example sssd.conf:

domains = mytestdomain.com
config_file_version = 2
services = nss, pam
default_domain_suffix = MYTESTDOMAIN.COM

ad_domain = mytestdomain.com
realmd_tags = manages-system joined-with-adcli 
cache_credentials = True
id_provider = ad
krb5_store_password_if_offline = True
default_shell = /bin/bash
ldap_id_mapping = True
use_fully_qualified_names = True
fallback_homedir = /home/%u
access_provider = ad 

Notes for RHEL6 and clones:

How to test if AD service discovery is working?

AD clients use SRV records to find the domain controller for a given service. Dynamic DNS is an integral part of Active Directory, because domain controllers register their network service types in DNS so that other computers in the Domain (or Forest) can access them.

To test AD service discovery you can query  the DNS server for the AD-specific SRV records:

# dig srv _ldap._tcp.dc._msdcs.<Domain_Name>

If service discovery is not working (e.g. the domain is in a non-public TLD), then you can configure the DNS server to forward queries for that zone to domain controller:

# cat /etc/named.conf.include

zone "bcm.local" {
type forward;
forwarders {;

CMDAemon will respect any changes made to the file /etc/named.conf.include. After that you will need to restart the DNS server on the headnode:

# service named restart

Obtain a Kerberos keytab using adcli

In order to get started, a Kerberos keytab file is required. There are several ways to obtain a keytab file, but the simplest way to generate one on a Unix system is via the the adcli utility. adcli is one of the building blocks of realmd, AND unfortunately, it is the only component of realmd that works on RHEL 6. adcli is available from the EPEL repository.

If AD service is working, the following command should show some basic information about the domain:

#  adcli info  bmc.local 
domain-name = bcm.local 
domain-short = BCM 
domain-forest = bcm.local 
domain-controller = win2008.bcm.local 
domain-controller-site = Default-First-Site-Name 
domain-controller-flags = pdc gc ldap ds kdc timeserv closest writable good-timeserv full-secret 
domain-controller-usable = yes 
computer-site = Default-First-Site-Name 

If AD service is not working, you will need to specify a few extra options:

# adcli info bmc.local -S  -D BCM.LOCAL -R BCM.LOCAL
-S     IP/Hostname of the Domain Controller
-D     Domain name
-R     Kerberos realm

To join the domain:

# adcli join bmc.local 


# adcli join bmc.local -S  win2008.bcm.local  -D BCM.LOCAL -R BCM.LOCAL

This adcli join command would prompt the user for his password and if the password is correct, it will return to the prompt without further messages. The default user is the Administrator, but any user that has permission to join a new machine to the domain can be used. You can use the -U option to specify the user e.g.:

# adcli join wind2008.bmc.local -U johndoe

If adcli succeeds a keytab file will be created in /etc/krb5.keytab.

You can use the following command to verify the file:

# klist -ke | head -n 10 
Keytab name: FILE:/etc/krb5.keytab 
KVNO Principal 
---- --------------------------------------------------------------------------  
6 SERVERNAME$@BCM.LOCAL (des-cbc-crc)  
6 SERVERNAME$@BCM.LOCAL (des-cbc-md5)  
6 SERVERNAME$@BCM.LOCAL (arcfour-hmac)  
6 SERVERNAME$@BCM.LOCAL (aes128-cts-hmac-sha1-96)  
7SERVERNAME$@BCM.LOCAL (des-cbc-crc)  
7SERVERNAME$@BCM.LOCAL (des-cbc-md5)  

 You do not need to install adcli on every node on the cluster. It needs to be installed on only one host.

A keytab can be generated in various other ways as well:

– Using SAMBA. This method is discussed in the following KB article:

http://goo.gl/YyUI4T – Sections 1 to 4

– On a Windows host:

> ktpass -princ host/SERVERNAME@BCM.lOCAL -mapuser johndoe@BCM.LOCAL -pass MY_SECRET_PASSWORD  -out unix.keytab

You will need to transfer unix.keytab to the Linux host as /etc/krb5.keytab.
Kerberos keytabs are machine-independent so it does not matter where and how the file was created.

Configure Kerberos

# cat /etc/krb5.conf
    default = FILE:/var/log/krb5libs.log
    kdc = FILE:/var/log/krb5kdc.log
    admin_server = FILE:/var/log/kadmind.log 

    default_realm = BCM.LOCAL
    dns_lookup_realm = true
    dns_lookup_kdc = true 
    ticket_lifetime = 24h
    renew_lifetime = 7d
    forwardable = true

   kdc = win2008.brightcomputing.com
   admin_server = win2008.brightcomputing.com

 .bcm.local = BCM.LOCAL
 bcm.local = BCM.LOCAL 

Configure SSSD

# cat /etc/sssd/sssd.conf
config_file_version = 2
services = nss, pam, ssh, autofs
domains = BCM.LOCAL



id_provider = ad
# Uncomment if service discovery is not working
#ad_server = win2008.brightcomputing.com 
#ad_domain = bcm.local

or if service discovery is working:

# cat /etc/sssd/sssd.conf
config_file_version = 2
services = nss, pam, ssh, autofs
domains = BCM.LOCAL



id_provider = ad

 Configure the system to use SSSD for authentication

# authconfig --enablesssd --enablesssdauth --update

 Verify that  everything is working

# kinit -k SERVERNAME$ 

The command above should return to the prompt without errors.
getent should be able to retrieve the user’s information:

# getent passwd administrator@bcm.local

SSH should be working:

# ssh johndoe@localhost


# ssh johndoe@bcm.local@localhost

 Querying AD LDAP directly:

# ldapsearch -H ldap://win2008.bcm.local -Y GSSAPI -b 'cn=John Doe,cn=Users,dc=bcm,dc=local'

should return the user information without errors.

# getent -s sss passwd johndoe
johndoe:*:10002:10000:John Doe:/home/johndoe:/bin/sh 

Configure the compute nodes

You can perform the same changes to one of the nodes and then grab the software image or copy the following files:

– /etc/nsswitch.conf
– /etc/pam.d/{system,password}-auth
– /etc/krb5.{keytab,conf}
– /etc/sssd/sssd.conf

to the same relative locations inside the software image e.g. /cm/images/default-image/etc/nsswitch.conf.

Modify the exclude lists

You will also need to modify the exclude lists for the node’s category, in order to prevent update/synchronization operations from altering SSSD ‘s cache:

# cmsh
% category use default
% set excludelistsyncinstall
(add the following line)
no-new-files: - /var/lib/sss

% set excludelistgrab
(add the following line)
- /var/lib/sss

% set excludelistgrabnew
(add the following line)
- /var/lib/sss

% set excludelistupdate
(add the following line)
no-new-files: - /var/lib/sss

% commit


In some cases it might be necessary to restore the SELinux security context of the keytab file:

# chown root:root /etc/krb5.keytab
# chmod 0600 /etc/krb5.keytab
# chcon system_u:object_r:krb5_keytab_t:s0 /etc/krb5.keytab

Time synchronization

The clocks of the Domain controller and the Linux clients need to be synchronized in order for AD to function properly.

It is therefore recommended to use the domain controller as an NTP server:

# cmsh
% partition use base
% set timeservers win2008.bcm.local
% commit

POSIX attributes

If you want to use the POSIX attributes defined in AD instead of SSSD’s automatic ID mapping you will need to add the following directives in the domain section of sssd.conf:

ldap_id_mapping = False
ldap_user_uid_number = uidNumber
ldap_user_gid_number = gidNumber
ldap_user_home_directory = unixHomeDirectory

Notes for RHEL5 and clones

The AD provider is not available in the version of SSSD shipped with RHEL5 (1.5.1). 

You can either use the LDAP provider and configure it to make GSSAPI binds to AD LDAP:

domains = BCM.LOCAL
services = nss, pam
config_file_version = 2



# changing or commenting this value will not allow sssd service to start
id_provider = ldap
ldap_sasl_mech = GSSAPI
##### See klist -ke for the value of ldap_sasl_authid
ldap_sasl_authid =  HOST/SERVERNAME@BCM.LOCAL
ldap_krb5_keytab = /etc/krb5.keytab
ldap_krb5_init_creds = false
# to find the AD server
ldap_uri = ldap://win2008.bcm.local
ldap_schema = ad

# to get user information (UID/GID) from the active directory ldap_user_object_class = user
ldap_user_home_directory = unixHomeDirectory
ldap_group_object_class = group

# kerberos config
auth_provider = krb5
krb5_server = win2008.bcm.local
krb5_realm = BCM.LOCAL

Additional LDAP-related directives can be added as needed.

Or install SSSD 1.9.x on RHEL5 from a third-party repository:

1) Add the RHEL5  SSSD 1.9.x repository:

# cd /etc/yum.repos.d/
# wget https://repos.fedorapeople.org/repos/plabrop/SSSD-rhel5/epel-SSSD-rhel5.repo 

2) Install SSSD:

# yum install sssd sssd-tools sssd-cient

adcli is not available on RHEL5 so you will have to generate the keytab on an RHEL6 system or use one of the other, previously-mentioned methods to generate it.


If service discovery is functioning  the only required steps are:

1) Obtain a keytab:

# adcli join bcm.local

2) Configure SSSD:

Edit /etc/sssd/sssd.conf

domains = BCM.LOCAL 
id_provider = ad

3) Configure Kerberos

(Recommended but not strictly necessary)

    default_realm = BCM.LOCAL 
     kdc = win2008.brightcomputing.com 
     admin_server = win2008.brightcomputing.com
 .bcm.local = BCM.LOCAL 
 bcm.local = BCM.LOCAL

4) Use SSSD for authentication

# authconfig --enablesssd --enablesssdauth --update

Other issues

Enterprise Principals

Aug 31 01:52:32 SERVERNAME sshd[37629]: pam_sss(sshd:auth): system info: [Cannot resolve servers for KDC in realm "BCM.COM"] Sun Aug 31 01:52:32 2014) [[sssd[krb5_child[37715]]]] [unpack_buffer] (0x0100): cmd [241] uid [745256] gid [10000] validate [true] offline [false] UPN [9000029529@BCM.COM]

SSSD obtains the UPN value from the userPrincipalName defined in AD LDAP. If enterprise principals are being used the domain part of the the UPN might differ from what is defined in the configuration (e.g. BCM.COM instead of BCM.LOCAL)

Unfortunately, the version of SSSD that comes with RHEL6 does not support enterprise principals (See https://fedorahosted.org/sssd/ticket/1842). The workaround is to force SSSD to use the default realm, as it is defined in the configuration files, instead of trying to get that value from Active Directory.

To achieve that you need to add a non-existing value for the UPN in the domain section of sssd.conf:

ldap_user_principal = nosuchattribute

Overriding settings defined in AD

You can override settings such the user home directory, shell etc. that are defined in AD, by adding appropriate directives in sssd.conf. For example, to override the pre-defined home directory for a user, add the override_homedir directive in the domain section of sssd.conf:

override_homerdir =  /home/%d/%u

The home directory of user foobar will be /home/bcm.local/foobar.

The available sequences are:

           %u               login name
           %U               UID number           
           %d               domain name           
           %f               fully qualified user name (user@domain) 
           %o               The original home directory retrieved from the   
                            identity provider.           
           %%               a literal ´%´

Those sequences are expanded automatically. You can use the override_home directive together with the above sequences to achieve the desired result. Other useful directives are: override_shell, allowed_shells, create_homedir (bool), etc.

Setting the User Portal Authentication to work with AD too

If user portal authentication is to work with AD, then /etc/pam.d/php must be set to authenticate against AD via SSSD too. This can be done by copying the contents of /etc/pam.d/system-auth to /etc/pam.d/php.


See also:

How do I authenticate against multiple AD servers using SSSD capabilities?

How do I authenticate against Active Directory Using SAMBA/WINBIND?

Updated on February 8, 2022

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave a Comment