ACS 5.1 integration with Active Directory [Part 1]

If sometime you need to test a configuration regarding ACS integration with Microsoft Active Directory, or if you think that this is something that you want to try, then continue reading:

Part 1 – Active Directory installation

Part 2 – ACS 5.1 integration with AD

Part 3 – Some basic testing to prove that everything is working

I really hope that I’ll have sufficient time to complete this tutorial in the next weeks. As you probably saw already, in last months there were just some articles posted here due to the fact I’m very busy (daily business, CCIE learning, some new projects…). Anyway, let’s proceed….

My scenario is based on 2 virtual machines (VirtualBox) and 2 switches (C3560) for testing. I’ll add a topology design in Part 2 of this tutorial. One of the virtual machines is hosting the ACS system and the other one a Windows server (2003 / 2008) with Active Directory.

Let’s start with Active Directory installation. You need a Windows 2003 or 2008 system installed on one virtual machine, or if you afford physical hardware then you can use one. Windows 2003 / 2008 can be a trial from Microsoft website, as you can use that trial up to 240 days. Much more than the ACS trial (90 days). I have a 2003 distribution and I really recommend it because you need less resources than with Win 2008. Be aware that latest version of 2008, called R2 support only 64 bit processor. If you have an older machine, just stick with Win 2003 or some early version of 2008 than R2 release.

After you have a fresh machine with Windows 2003 / 2008 installation, please follow the next steps:

1. Click Start, click Run, type dcpromo.exe, and then click OK. You should see something like this:

2. Click Next and you can start the Active Directory installation

3. Choose Domain controller for a new domain. I assume, that you will not try this in a productive AD environment, as it can break things. Just resume to your virtual machines or close test environment and everything will be fine

4. Pick Domain in a new forest.

5. This domain can be whatever you want. Really! Just remember what you type in there. I have there testdomain.local

6. The NetBIOS field will be automatically completed. If for some reason it is empty, add there whatever you have in from of your . (dot) in the FQDN. I have here TESTDOMAIN

7. The location where AD will be install on your hard drive. It is automatically completed and for this test I think is the best to let it default

8.Again, a default location that you better not touch

9. If you really want to test something, you can choose a different option below, but again for this test is the best to let AD Wizard to install the DNS server also. The best thing here is that if you let the Wizard install it then you don’t have to worry that you are missing some entries there, as everything will be in place.

10. I’m using in the example below a Windows 2003 distribution. If you have a 2008 one, then the next screen might look different. Just keep in mind to choose the highest possible option. Anyway you will not need backward compatibility with older systems.

11. Choose a password and remember it

12. You have a summary there. Check it to see that everything is as you want.

13. Let it work for some minutes and you’re done.

You’re done setting up the Active Directory. Come back for Part 2 where we will connect ACS 5.1 to AD and for Part 3  where we will add some users on AD and do a little testing.

Published by


Calin is a network engineer, with more than 20 years of experience in designing, installing, troubleshooting, and maintaining large enterprise WAN and LAN networks.

2 thoughts on “ACS 5.1 integration with Active Directory [Part 1]”

Any opinion on this post? Please let me know:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.