Monday, 21 February 2011

Mapping internal users (LDAP) to the cloud

Overview: Steve Plank has a great video on "How ADFS and the Microsoft Federation Gateway work together up in the Office 365 Cloud". 

To get your internal ADFS users to authenticate in the Microsoft cloud (Azure and Office 365), you do need ADFS 2.0.  The claims based authentication that can be setup in SharePoint 2010 is how Office 365 and AZURE will authenticate AD users. 

You users will access SP2010/MS Online365/AZURE Web application using their browser.  The end application sends the browser a response redirecting them to the MS Federation Gateway (MFG)/App Fabric/STS web service (SP2010 on site editions), this in turn passes the users browser onto ADFS.

ADFS generates the user a SAML token and the are redirected to the MFG, MFG in turn generates it's own SAML token containing it's claims and the browser is redirect back to the originally requested web application.

For a user trying to access SharePoint Online from their internal network, you can see the user makes several requests to different points along the chain however the key result being the user get securely authenticated against you internal Active Directory (AD).
Steve Planks video is easier to follow than this post but it's worth understanding the process as it applies to Azure, SharePoint claims based authentication and Office 365.  This coupled with custom LDAP providers results in a consistent manner to handle authentication in the cloud using you internal LDAP directory.

Below is an animation describing the process whereby a user is authenticated on their internal network and then they use SharePoint Online (Office 365).
More Info:

Settingup ADFS for SharePoint Reference:


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