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Checklist: Setting Up a Federation Server

Bill Mathers|Last Updated: 2/10/2017
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2 Contributors

Applies To: Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012

This checklist includes the deployment tasks that are necessary to prepare a server running Windows Server® 2012 for the federation server role in Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS).

Note

Complete the tasks in this checklist in order. When a reference link takes you to a procedure, return to this topic after you complete the steps in that procedure so that you can proceed with the remaining tasks in this checklist.

setting up a federated serverChecklist: Setting up a federation server

TaskReference
setting up a federated serverBefore you begin deploying your AD FS federation servers, review the; 1.) advantages and disadvantages of choosing either Windows Internal Database (WID) or SQL Server to store the AD FS configuration database 2.) AD FS deployment topology types and their associated server placement and network layout recommendations.setting up a federated serverDetermine Your AD FS Deployment Topology

setting up a federated serverAD FS Deployment Topology Considerations
setting up a federated serverReview AD FS capacity planning guidance to determine the proper number of federation servers you should use in your production environment.setting up a federated serverPlanning for Federation Server Capacity
setting up a federated serverReview information in the AD FS Design Guide about where to place federation servers in your organizationsetting up a federated serverPlanning Federation Server Placement

setting up a federated serverWhere to Place a Federation Server
setting up a federated serverDetermine whether a stand-alone federation server or a federation server farm is better for your deployment.setting up a federated serverWhen to Create a Federation Server

setting up a federated serverWhen to Create a Federation Server Farm
setting up a federated serverDetermine whether this new federation server will be created in the account partner organization or in the resource partner organization.setting up a federated serverReview the Role of the Federation Server in the Account Partner

setting up a federated serverReview the Role of the Federation Server in the Resource Partner
setting up a federated serverReview information about how federation servers use service communication certificates and token-signing certificates to securely authenticate client and federation server proxy requests. Caution: Though it has long been common practice to use certificates with unqualified host names such as https:\/\/myserver, these certificates have no security value and can enable an attacker to impersonate the AD FS Federation Service to enterprise clients. Therefore, it is recommended that you use a fully qualified domain name (FQDN) such as https:\/\/myserver.contoso.com and only use SSL certificates issued to the FQDN of your Federation Service.setting up a federated serverCertificate Requirements for Federation Servers
setting up a federated serverReview information about how to update the corporate network Domain Name System (DNS) so that successful name resolution to federation servers can occur.setting up a federated serverName Resolution Requirements for Federation Servers
setting up a federated serverJoin the computer that will become the federation server to a domain in the account partner forest or resource partner forest where it will be used to authenticate the users of that forest or from trusting forests. Note: If you want to set up a federation server in the account partner organization, the computer must first be joined to any domain in the forest where your federation server will be used to authenticate users from that forest or from trusting forests.setting up a federated serverJoin a Computer to a Domain
setting up a federated serverCreate a new resource record in the corporate network DNS that points the DNS host name of the federation server to the IP address of the federation server.setting up a federated serverAdd a Host (A) Resource Record to Corporate DNS for a Federation Server
setting up a federated server(Optional) If you will be adding a federation server to a federation server farm, you might have to first export the private key of the existing token-signing certificate (on the first federation server in the farm) so that you have a file format of the certificate ready when other federation servers must import the same certificate.

Exporting the private key is not required when your issued server authentication certificate can be reused by multiple computers (without the need to export) or when you will be obtaining unique server authentication certificates for each federation server in the farm. Note: The AD FS Management snap-in refers to server authentication certificates for federation servers as service communication certificates.
setting up a federated serverExport the Private Key Portion of a Server Authentication Certificate
setting up a federated serverAfter you obtain a server authentication certificate (or private key) from a certification authority (CA), you must then import the certificate file to the default Web site for each federation server. Note: Installing this certificate on the default Web site is a requirement before you can use the AD FS Federation Server Configuration Wizard.setting up a federated serverImport a Server Authentication Certificate to the Default Web Site
setting up a federated server(Optional) As an alternative to obtaining a server authentication certificate from a CA, you can use Internet Information Services (IIS) to create a sample certificate for your federation server. Caution: It is not a security best practice to deploy a federation server in a production environment by using a self-signed server authentication certificate.setting up a federated serverIIS: Create a Self-Signed Server Certificate and then complete the procedure Import a Server Authentication Certificate to the Default Web Site
setting up a federated serverIf you will be configuring a federation server farm environment in an account partner organization, you must create and configure a dedicated service account in Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) where the farm will reside and configure each federation server in the farm to use this account. By performing this procedure, you will allow clients on the corporate network to authenticate to any of the federation servers in the farm using Windows Integrated Authentication.setting up a federated serverManually Configure a Service Account for a Federation Server Farm
setting up a federated serverInstall the Federation Service role service on the computer that will become the federation server.setting up a federated serverInstall the Federation Service Role Service
setting up a federated serverConfigure the AD FS software on the computer to act in the federation server role by using the AD FS Federation Server Configuration Wizard.

Follow this procedure when you want to set up a stand-alone federation server, create the first federation server in a new farm or join a computer to an existing federation server farm. Note: For the Federated Web Single Sign-On (SSO) design, you must have at least one federation server in the account partner organization and at least one federation server in the resource partner organization.
setting up a federated serverCreate a Stand-Alone Federation Server

setting up a federated serverCreate the First Federation Server in a Federation Server Farm

setting up a federated serverAdd a Federation Server to a Federation Server Farm
setting up a federated server(Optional) Use the AD FS Management snap-in to add and configure the necessary AD FS certificates required to deploy your design. For more information about when to add or change certificates using the snap-in, see Certificate Requirements for Federation Servers.setting up a federated serverAdd a Token-Signing Certificate

setting up a federated serverAdd a Token-Decrypting Certificate

setting up a federated serverSet a Service Communications Certificate
setting up a federated serverIf this is the first federation server in your organization, configure the Federation Service so that it conforms to your AD FS design.setting up a federated serverChecklist: Configuring the Account Partner Organization

setting up a federated serverChecklist: Configuring the Resource Partner Organization
setting up a federated serverFrom a client computer, verify that the federation server is operational.setting up a federated serverVerify That a Federation Server Is Operational
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