I happened to be at a customer site working on an Azure project when I was asked to cast a quick eye over an issue they had been battling with. They had an Azure AD Connect server synchronising user and group objects between their corporate Active Directory and their Azure AD, used for Office 365 services and other Azure-based applications. Their intention was to synchronise some additional attributes from their Active Directory to Azure AD so that they could be used by some of their custom built Azure applications. These additional attributes were a combination of standard Active Directory attributes as well as some custom schema extended attributes.
They were following the guidance from the Microsoft article listed here. As mentioned in the article, ‘Directory extensions allows you to extend the schema in Azure AD with your own attributes from on-premises Active Directory‘. When running the Azure AD Connect installation wizard and trying to find the attributes in the dropdown list, some of their desired attributes were not listed as shown below. An example attribute they wanted to synchronise was postalAddress which was not in the list.
After browsing the dropdown list trying to determine why some of their desired attributes were missing, I noticed multi-valued attributes were missing, such as the description standard Active Directory attribute which I knew was a multi-valued attribute.
I checked the schema in Active Directory and it was clear the postalAddress attribute was multi-valued.
The customer pointed me back to the Microsoft article which clearly stated that the valid attribute candidates included multi-valued strings and binary attributes. With the time I had remaining, I reviewed their Azure AD Connect implementation and tried a few techniques in the synchronisation service such as:
- refreshing the schema of the on-premise Active Directory management agent
- enabled the attribute in the properties of the on-premise Active Directory management agent as by default it was not checked
I next checked the Azure AD Connect release notes (here) and quickly noticed the cause of the issue which had to do with the version of Connect they were using, which was a few releases old. It was from version 184.108.40.206 released in April 2016 which added support for multi-valued attributes to Directory Extensions, while the version running by the customer was 220.127.116.11 from only a couple of months earlier.
After upgrading Azure AD Connect to currently released version, the customer was able to successfully select these multi-valued attributes.
Microsoft are very good at keeping the release notes upto date as new versions of Azure AD Connect are released, currently every 1-2 months. The lessons learned are to check the release notes to view the new features and bug fixes in releases to determine if you need to upgrade the tool.