Azure AD - SAML integration

This is a quick guide to help integrate Zentral with Azure AD using SAML for single sign-on.

In Zentral, identity providers (IdP) are configured using realms. There are three kinds of realm: SAML, OIDC, and LDAP. In this case, we will use a SAML realm.

We will start by setting up an Azure AD Enterprise Application with the Basic SAML Configuration. We will then configure a Zentral realm for this application. Finally, we will update the Azure AD application configuration.

Create an Azure AD application

Follow along the Azure documentation available here.

Create the app

Browse to Azure Active Directory Enterprise Applications, select Create your own application and opt for Non-gallery application, this will take you to a newly created app.

Select the Single Sign-On option in the tiles or in the menu to start the setup, select the SAML option for editing the configuration.

Configure the SAML settings


⚠️ The Zentral URLs for the SAML integration are only available after the realm has been saved. In order to be able to save the realm, we need the metadata from the Azure AD Enterprise App. This is a chicken-egg kind of problem. That's why we suggest to first use temporary dummy values for some of the fields in AzureAD initially and update them later.

  1. set dummy values for the Identifier (Entity ID) and Reply URL (Assertion Consumer Service URL) required fields. Note that the URL must include https:// even for dummy values.
  2. Keep the default settings for the Attributes & Claims section.

Attribute Statements

Use the attribute mappings provided below when configuring the Zentral realm with Azure AD for SSO.

Zentral realm - Attribute Claim name AzureAD Value
Username claim name user.userprincipalname
Email claim emailaddress user.mail
First name claim givenname user.givenname
Last name claim surname user.surname

The default SAML claim mappings (see above) in Azure AD may not align with your organization's needs and could require adjustments.

Download the AzureAD Enterprise App metadata

Download the Federation Metadata XML file from the SAML Certificates section.

Create the Zentral realm

In Zentral, go to Setup > Realms, click on Create realm and select SAML realm.

Fill up the form:

  • Pick a name for the Realm config
  • Select Enabled for login if you want to use this realm as login realm
  • Pick a login session expiry (can be left empty, see help text)
  • Use the default claim mappings from the Azure AD SAML settings (see section above) for the claims
  • Leave Full name claim empty
  • Upload the metadata file you just saved (see previous section)
  • If you want to allow logins initiated by the IDP, tick the box

Update the AzureAD application

We now have all the values required to finish configuring the AzureAD application. In the Azure AD Enterprise app, update the SAML settings in the Basic SAML Configuration tab:

AzureAD application Zentral realm
Identifier (Entity ID) Entity ID
Reply URL (Assertion Consumer Service URL) Assertion Consumer Service URL

You can check if everything is working using the 🕶 button in the Zentral realm detail page. It will trigger an authentication with the IdP and display the claims Zentral receives with their mappings.

Optional: Group mappings

You can map some Azure AD claim/value pairs to Zentral groups, see details here This allows you to manage the group memberships from Azure AD.

In the Zentral realm detail page, click on the Create button under Group mapping. Pick a claim, a value, and a group.

When users log in and their claim matches, they will be added to the group. If the claim does not match, they will be removed from the group.

The mappings can be tested with the 🕶 button.