How to connect Active Directory with SharePoint

This "how-to-connect" documentation will explain the initial configuration of an example connection from Active Directory to a SharePoint Online List in Office 365. We will be synchronizing data stored in Active Directory.

 

This guide presupposes that you have installed the Layer2 Cloud Connector and that you are familiar with its basic functionality. The Layer2 Cloud Connector User Documentation will provide you with all necessary information.

 

 

Contents

1. Configuring Active Directory

2. Configuring the Layer2 Cloud Connector

2.1 Creating a new connection

2.2 Configuring the Data Entity 1

2.3 Configuring the Data Entity 2

2.4 Running your connection

3. Hints and known issues

3.1 Connection direction

3.2 Data model

3.3 DefaultColumnSize

1. Configuring Active Directory

To connect to Active Directory, you are going to need the server name and the domain controller name. You can find this information in your Server Manager/Local Server.

 

Active Directory settings

 

We also need the Base DN. The Base DN is based on the directory you want to set to be the root directory for searches and the DC. In our case, Users will be the root directory.

 

Active Directory basedn

 

The last we need is an user account with the rights to access the Active Directory. If you are reading and writing, make sure your user has the rights to.

 

2. Configuring the Layer2 Cloud Connector

2.1. Creating a new connection

Create a new connection by using the Create New Connection option in the Actions pane (right-hand side). The new connection will appear at the bottom of the Connection Manager List (left-hand side). Click on your newly created connection to open the connection configuration settings.

 

Choose a meaningful name for your connection and replace the current "New Connection" Connection Title with it.

 

Connections to Active Directory can be bi-directional. An initial connection should always be uni-directional to assure that both data entities are identical before switching to bi-directional. Therefore, choose Left to Right as Direction. You can change this setting after your initial synchronisation finished successfully.

 

Step 1 Active Directory connection setup.png

 

 

2.2. Configuring the Data Entity 1

We will now set up our Data Entities. Go to the data entity “Data Entity 1” to open the configuration settings.

 

Choose a Data Entity Title. It is recommended to give your entities meaningful names to maintain an overview when you decide to set up multiple connections.

 

Select the Data Provider for Active Directory from the data provider list. You can search for Active Directory by typing into the selection box.

 

Step 2 Active Directory integration source setup.png

 

For the Connection String, we need the information mentioned in step 1. You can copy the below connection string and adjust it to match your gathered information. Use the Verify Connection String option to evaluate if the provided connection string is valid.

 

 

Server=srv;Port=389;User="l2-dev-sp2016\Administrator";BaseDN="CN=Users,DC=l2-dev-sp2016,DC=local";Other="DefaultColumnSize=8000";

 

 

  • "Server=servername;" this property defines the server name we are connecting to. That is the computer name from Server Manager in step 1.
  • "Port=389;" this property defines the port from server we are connecting to. This is a default port number.
  • "User=activedirectoryuser;" this property must be set to an user with rights to access the Active Directory.
  • "BaseDN=basedn;" this property must be set to the information we got in the first step. The root folder users is set as CN and the DC to separated DCs for each "dot" from the sub DC.
  • "Other='DefaultColumnSize=8000';" see section 3 for more information about this property.

 

Enter the user account's password into the Password field. The field masks the value for better security.

 

The Select Statement text box is used to define specific data queries. We will be gathering all information from the User table. You can copy the below select statement and adjust it to match your needs. Save your changes by using the right-hand pane option Save Changes.

 

SELECT * FROM User

 

Step 2.5 Active Directory integration connection string setup.png

 

To check if all necessary columns are received, you can use the Preview Data option on the right-hand pane which will provide you with a pop-up window showing your sample data from your Active Directory entity.

 

 

Preview data of Active Directory integration.png

 

2.3. Configuring the Data Entity 2

We are going to send the data to a custom SharePoint Online list. It's required that you set up this list prior to the next steps. Your list should contain matching columns according to your source entity.

 

Use the left-hand pane to switch to the data entity "Data Entity 2". We will be using the Layer2 SharePoint Provider for this setup. 

 

For more information about the SharePoint provider visit:

https://www.layer2solutions.com/support/cloud-connector-faqs/layer2-csom-sharepoint-ado-net-provider.

 

You can copy the below Connection String which contains the minimum of required properties to connect to your custom SharePoint Online list.

 

URL=https://your_custom_sharepoint_list_url/AllItems.aspx;Authentication=Office365;User=User@domain.com;

 

  • "URL=https://your_custom_sharepoint_url/AllItems.aspx;" this property defines the URL of your custom list that will be addressed.
  • "Authentication=Office365;" this property will determine the authentication method used. Office 365 is the default authentication method to access Microsoft Office 365 / SharePoint Online. This method will not work in case of federation, e.g. ADFS. For further authentication method, you can consult the provider specifications linked above.
  • "User=User@domain.com;" this property should describe the user you wish to connect to SharePoint to. 

 

Enter the password that belongs to the user account used in the connection string into the Password field. Save your changes by using the right-hand pane option Save Changes.

 

Step 3 Active Directory integration target setup.png

 

In the next step, we will configure our mapping settings. Click on the Mappings option on the left-hand pane. If your fields from SharePoint are named identical to the fields from your source system, the Enable Auto Mapping option will match those columns. Disabling this option allows you to match your columns as needed. Save your changes by using the right-hand pane option Save Changes.

 

Step 4 Active Directory integration mapping.png

 

2.4. Running your connection

To run your connection switch back to the main connection configuration node and use the Run Now Button located on the bottom of the setup page. The Run Synchronization Toolbox will also display the synchronization process. 

 

Step 5 Active Directory data integration start.png

 

Below is a data preview of the information we have accessed in our source entity:

 

Active Directory integration ready.png

 

This will be the result in our SharePoint Online list after our initial successful synchronization:

 

Finished Active Directory integration.png

If you want to use a bi-directional synchronization, you can now switch your connection direction after our first initial synchronization run finished successfully. See section 3.1 for further information.

3. Hints and known issues

 

3.1. Connection direction

As far as tested, this connection supports uni-directional as well as bi-directional synchronizations. 

 

After adjusting the direction to bi-directional, you should check your Mappings settings again because some systems might include read-only columns that cannot be mapped directly: CanonicalName and MemberOf should not be set in bi-directional connections. These fields are set automatically through or can only be set in the Active Directory.

 

We also recommend choosing a Conflict Resolution that matches your environment's needs. You can find out more about the different conflict resolutions in our Layer2 Cloud Connector User Documentation.

3.2. Data model

To see all the tables and views you can access with the Active Directory provider, use these queries in the Select Statement:

 

 

SELECT * FROM sys_tables

 

SELECT * FROM sys_views

 

 

If there are more tables or views available, you can load them with the option "load more" in the popup window.

3.3. DefaultColumnSize

Some columns from Active Directory are very large. If you get some error about the size of a returned value, try to increase the size of the columns through the property Other="DefaultColumnSize=8000". The default value for the column is 2000.

 

 

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