What is vCenter Single SignOn?

  • It is very similar to an Active Directory Domain Architecture
  • It is an authentication broker
  • It configures a vsphere.local domain (in vSphere 5.1 the local domain was called as “system-domain”)

The Single Sign-on (SSO) Architecture part of vCenter in vSphere 5.5 has following features:

  1. It uses a Kerberos type (token based) authentication mechanism
  2. It uses a Secure Token Protocol for Authentication
  3. You can create one-way trust relationships with existing Windows Active Directory Domains or OpenLDAP domains
  4. You can have multiple such trust relationships defined. Being able to define multiple trust relationships is very useful in a cloud enabled era.

One of the important things that you should remember is (and hopefully that would remove a lot a confusion) this vCenter Single Sign-on infrastructure is only used for authenticating users/groups to vSphere Infrastructure and applications that integrate with vCenter. It does not provide authentication services for desktops or other desktop/user applications. Or to say more correctly it is not a replacement for Active Directory Domain. In fact it works as a complementary solution to authenticate Active Directory users/groups to vSphere infrastructure.

In Single Sign-on infrastructure the default Single Sign-on administrator user is administrator@vsphere.local. This user is an administrator on both the vsphere.local Single Sign-on domain and the vCenter Server inventory.

  • On  a Windows based vCenter Server System, you set the password for this user  (administrator@vsphere.local) during the installation of Single Sign-on.
  • On a vCenter Server Appliance (Linux based virtual appliance) the administrator@vsphere.local get created and defined during the initialization/configuration of the appliance.
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