How to Add AD User to Roles in vCenter Server Step by Step

Active Directory simplifies the tasks for administrators. Do you know how to add AD user to Roles in vCenter Server? This article will show you the detailed steps of how to add AD authentication and vCenter create local user.


By Crystal / Updated on November 4, 2022

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What is Active Directory (AD)

VMware vCenter Server and VMware ESXi are the 2 core components of the vSphere suite. As VMware ESXi is the most popular type-1 hypervisor, vCenter Server is a robust centralized management utility.

Although vCenter Server has an internal user database that allows you to add and manage users using the vSphere Web Client. But in larger environments, you may want to connect your virtualized infrastructure to a centrally managed Active Directory.

Active Directory (AD) is a database and set of services that connect users with the network resources they need to get their work done. Administrators have centralized control over computer and user configuration through the AD Group Policy feature. Authenticate once and then seamlessly access any resource in the domain they have access to with Single Sign-On.

Active Directory

Therefore, you may want to add AD user to Roles in vCenter. In this article, I will show you how to add Active Directory Authentication in vCenter Server.

How to add AD authentication in vCenter

1. Access vSphere Web Client and login as Single Sign-On Administrator.

2. Navigate to Home > Administration > Single Sign-On, and click Configuration under Single Sign-On from the left inventory.

vCenter Single Sign-On Configuration

3. Click Identity Sources tab, and then click the green + button to add an identity source.

SSO configuration identity sources

4. In the pop-up window, select Identity Source type.

  • Active Directory (Integrated Windows Authentication): This option works with both the Windows-based vCenter Server and the vCenter Server Appliance. The underlying system has to be a member of the Active Directory domain.
  • Active Directory as an LDAP server: If the underlying system is not part of the Active Directory domain.

Select Identity Source Type

5. Configure identity source, and provide the following credentials.

  • Name: Label for identification.
  • Base DN for users: The Distinguished Name (DN) of the starting point for directory server searches.
  • Base DN for group: The Distinguished Name (DN) of the starting point for directory server searches.
  • Domain name: Your domain name.
  • Domain alias: Your NetBIOS name.
  • Username: A user in the AD Domain with at least browse privileges.
  • Password: A password with a high security level and you can record.
  • Connect to any domain controller in the domain: you want to use DNS to identify domain controllers or configure static primary and secondary URLs. When using static entries, you can either query the local directory (Port 389), or the global catalog (Port 3268).

Configure Identity Source

6. Review the configurations and close the wizard.

7. Back to Identity Sources tab, and your AD should appear in the list. Then you are able to assign vCenter permissions to users and groups from your Active Directory.

8. Select you Active Directory and click the globe with an arrow button to make AD to your default domain.

Make AD default domain

9. To login with AD users, you need to set permissions. Navigate to Administration > Access Control > Global Permissions to add an AD user as global Administrator.

Global permissions

10. Click Add permission and select the Active Directory domain under Domain, choose a user and click Add.

Add permission

11. Click OK to save, and then you should be able to login to the vCenter with your Active Directory account.

The steps how vCenter create local user

VMware vCenter Server is the robust centralized management utility that can be used to manage a large amount of virtual machines, multiple ESXi hosts, and all dependent components from a single centralized location. Except for the steps to add AD user to Roles vCenter, you may also want to know how vCenter create new user. In this part, I will show you the steps how vCenter create local user as an example.

1. Access vSphere web client and log in vCenter Server Appliance.

2. Navigate to Home > Administration, and click Users and Groups under Single Sign-On from the left inventory.

3. Click Users tab, select domain vSphere.local, and click + to Add User.

vCenter Single Sign-On Users tab

4. It will pop up a Add User wizard, enter the values for the mandatory fields.

5. Enter vxadmin as the Username and Password. Confirm the Password.

vCenter Add New User

6. Click Add to start.

VM data protection: batch backup VMs on vCenter Server

vCenter Server is a very convenient official platform for centrally managing ESXi virtual environments and large numbers of VMs on it. A single vCenter Server instance can support a maximum of 1,000 hosts, 10,000 powered-on virtual machines and 15,000 registered virtual machines.

However, vCenter Server does not provide the feature of virtual machine backup. And that makes backup software a commonly accepted choice. Here I introduce you to a VMware backup software AOMEI Cyber Backup, it enables you to backup multiple VMs either managed by vCenter Server, or on a standalone ESXi host.

Agentless Backup: create complete and independent image-level backup for VMware ESXi and Hyper-V VMs.
Multiple VM Backup: batch backup large numbers of VMs managed by vCenter Server, or multiple VMs on a standalone ESXi host.
Multiple Storage Destinations: backup to a local drive, or network destinations like NAS.
Automated Execution: create backup schedules to automate backups daily, weekly, or monthly.
Restore Entire VM: restore instant available VMs from any selected restore points to an original or new location.

AOMEI Cyber Backup supports VMware ESXi 6.0 and later versions. Next, I will show you how to batch backup VMs managed by vCenter Server with AOMEI Cyber Backup in 4 simple steps. You can click the following button to download the software.

Download Free TrialVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

*You can choose to install this VM backup software on either Windows or Linux system.

4 Steps to batch backup VMs on vCenter Server

1. Bind Devices: Access to AOMEI Cyber Backup web client, navigate to Source Device > VMware > + Add VMware Device to Add vCenter or Standalone ESXi host. And then click > Bind Device.

Add VMware ESXi host

2. Create Backup Task: Navigate to Backup Task > + Create New Task, and select VMware ESXi Backup as the Backup Type.

3. Set Task Name, Device, Target, Schedule, and Cleanup as needed.

  • Task Name: you can change the task name or use the default name with an ordinal.
  • Device: batch select large numbers of VMs managed by vCenter Server for centralized backup.

Select virtual machines vCenter

  • Target: select to back up to a local path, or to a network path.
  • Schedule (optional): perform full, differential, or incremental backup, and automate execution according to the frequency you specified.

Backup schedule type

  • Cleanup (optional): automatically delete the old backup copies that exceed the retention period you specified.

backup cleanup

4. Run Backup: Click Start Backup and select Add the schedule and start backup now, or Add the schedule only.

Start Backup

Created backup tasks will be listed and monitored separately, for restoring, progress checking and schedule changing.

When restoring, you can also restore to new location to create a new VM in the same or another datastore/host directly from the backup, saving the trouble of re-configuring the new VM.

Restore to new location


Active Directory (AD) is a directory service that enables administrators to manage permissions and control access to network resources. It simplifies the tasks of administrators and end users while enhancing security for organizations. If you are in larger environments, you may want to connect your virtualized infrastructure to a centrally managed Active Directory. This article showed the detailed steps to add AD user to Roles vCenter, and also the steps of vCenter create new user in case you need.

While vCenter is handy in managing a large number of VMs on VMware ESXi, it does not provide the feature to backup VMware ESXi VMs. Therefore, you may also need a backup software to keep your data safe. You can try the VMware backup software AOMEI Cyber Backup which is capable of attaching vCenter Server.

Crystal · Editor
Crystal is an editor from AOMEI Technology. She mainly writes articles about virtual machine. She is a positive young lady likes to share articles with peolpe. Off work she loves travelling and cooking which is wonderful for life.