Create the First Federation Server in a Federation Server Farm


Applies To: Windows Server 2012

After you install the Federation Service role service and configure the required certificates on a computer, you are ready to configure the computer to become a federation server. You can use the following procedure to set up the computer to become the first federation server in a new federation server farm using the AD FS Federation Server Configuration Wizard.

The act of creating the first federation server in a farm also creates a new Federation Service and makes this computer the primary federation server. This means that this computer will be configured with a read/write copy of the AD FS configuration database. All other federation servers in this farm must replicate any changes that are made on the primary federation server to their read-only copies of the AD FS configuration database that they store locally. For more information about this replication process, see The Role of the AD FS Configuration Database.


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. For more information, see Where to Place a Federation Server.

Membership in Domain Admins, or a delegated domain account that has been granted write access to the Program Data container in Active Directory, is the minimum required to complete this procedure.

To create the first federation server in a federation server farm

  1. There are two ways to start the AD FS Federation Server Configuration Wizard. To start the wizard, do one of the following:

    • After the Federation Service role service installation is complete, open the AD FS Management snap-in and click the AD FS Federation Server Configuration Wizard link on the Overview page or in the Actions pane.

    • Any time after the setup wizard is complete, open Windows Explorer, navigate to the C:\Windows\ADFS folder, and then double-click FsConfigWizard.exe.

  2. On the Welcome page, verify that Create a new Federation Service is selected, and then click Next.

  3. On the Select Stand-Alone or Farm Deployment page, click New federation server farm, and then click Next.

  4. On the Specify the Federation Service Name page, verify that the SSL certificate that is showing is correct. If this is not the correct certificate, select the appropriate certificate from the SSL certificate list.

    This certificate is generated from the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) settings for the Default Web Site. If the Default Web Site has only one SSL certificate configured, that certificate is presented and automatically selected for use. If multiple SSL certificates are configured for the Default Web Site, all those certificates are listed here and you must select from among them. If there are no SSL settings configured for the Default Web Site, the list is generated from the certificates that are available in the personal certificates store on the local computer.


    The wizard will not allow you to override the certificate if an SSL certificate is configured for IIS. This ensures that any intended prior IIS configuration for SSL certificates is preserved. To work around this restriction, you can remove the certificate or reconfigure it manually with the IIS Management Console.

  5. If the AD FS database that you selected already exists, the Existing AD FS Configuration Database Detected page appears. If that page appears, click Delete database, and then click Next.


    Select this option only when you are sure that the data in this AD FS database is not important or that it is not used in a production federation server farm.

  6. On the Specify a Service Account page, click Browse. In the Browse dialog box, locate the domain account that will be used as the service account in this new federation server farm, and then click OK. Type the password for this account, confirm it, and then click Next.


    See Manually Configure a Service Account for a Federation Server Farm for more information about specifying a service account for a federation server farm. Each federation server in the federation server farm must specify the same service account for the farm to be operational. For example, if the service account that was created was contoso\ADFS2SVC, each computer that you configure for the federation server role and that will participate in the same farm must specify contoso\ADFS2SVC at this step in the Federation Server Configuration Wizard for the farm to be operational.

  7. On the Ready to Apply Settings page, review the details. If the settings appear to be correct, click Next to begin configuring AD FS with these settings.

  8. On the Configuration Results page, review the results. When all the configuration steps are finished, click Close to exit the wizard.

    Security Note

    For secure deployment purposes, artifact resolution and reply detection are disabled when you use the AD FS Federation Server Configuration Wizard to configure a federation server farm. This wizard automatically configures the Windows Internal Database for storing service configuration data. You might, however, mistakenly undo this change by enabling the Artifact Resolution endpoint using either the Endpoints node in the AD FS Management snap-in or the Enable-ADFSEndpoint cmdlet in Windows PowerShell. Be careful to not reconfigure the default setting so that this endpoint remains disabled when you use a federation server farm and the Windows Internal Database together.

Additional references

Checklist: Setting Up a Federation Server