Joining a Samba DC to an Existing Active Directory

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Running one domain controller (DC) is sufficient for a working Active Directory (AD) forest. However, for redundancy and load balancing reasons, you should add further DCs to your AD forest. Joining an additional Samba DC to an existing AD differs from provisioning the first DC in a forest. If you set up a new AD forest, see Setting up Samba as an Active Directory Domain Controller.

Preparing the Installation

For details, see Preparing the Installation in the Setting up Samba as an Active Directory Domain Controller documentation.

Installing Samba

For details, see Installing Samba.

Preparing the Host for Joining the Domain

Local DNS server

By default, the first Domain Controller (DC) in a forest runs a DNS server for Active Directory (AD)-based zones. For redundancy reasons it is recommended to run multiple DCs acting as a DNS server in a network. If you consider providing a DNS service on the new DC:

  • For the BIND9_DLZ back end, see BIND9_DLZ DNS Back End. Finish this task before you start the Samba DC service.
  • For the internal DNS no further actions are required.

Configuring DNS

For details, see Linux and Unix DNS Configuration.


Set the following settings in your Kerberos client configuration file /etc/krb5.conf:

    dns_lookup_realm = false
    dns_lookup_kdc = true
    default_realm = SAMDOM.EXAMPLE.COM

To verify the settings use the kinit command to request a Kerberos ticket for the domain administrator:

# kinit administrator
Password for administrator@SAMDOM.EXAMPLE.COM:

To list Kerberos tickets:

# klist
Ticket cache: FILE:/tmp/krb5cc_0
Default principal: administrator@SAMDOM.EXAMPLE.COM

Valid starting       Expires              Service principal
24.09.2015 19:56:55  25.09.2015 05:56:55  krbtgt/SAMDOM.EXAMPLE.COM@SAMDOM.EXAMPLE.COM
	renew until 25.09.2015 19:56:53

Configuring Time Synchronisation

Kerberos requires a synchronised time on all domain members. For further details and how to set up the ntpd service, see Time Synchronisation.

Joining the Active Directory as a Domain Controller

To join the domain as a domain controller (DC) that additionally acts as a DNS server using the Samba internal DNS:

There are three authentication methods you can use, Username & Password or two kerberos methods (the kerberos methods depend on running kinit as an admin user).

Username & Password:

# samba-tool domain join DC -U"SAMDOM\administrator"


# samba-tool domain join DC -k yes


# samba-tool domain join DC --use-krb5-ccache=/tmp/krb5cc_0

Using any of the above, should result in output similar to this:

Finding a writeable DC for domain ''
Found DC
Password for [SAMDOM\administrator]:
workgroup is SAMDOM
realm is
Adding CN=DC2,OU=Domain Controllers,DC=samdom,DC=example,DC=com
Adding CN=DC2,CN=Servers,CN=Default-First-Site-Name,CN=Sites,CN=Configuration,DC=samdom,DC=example,DC=com
Adding CN=NTDS Settings,CN=DC2,CN=Servers,CN=Default-First-Site-Name,CN=Sites,CN=Configuration,DC=samdom,DC=example,DC=com
Adding SPNs to CN=DC2,OU=Domain Controllers,DC=samdom,DC=example,DC=com
Setting account password for DC2$
Enabling account
Calling bare provision
Looking up IPv4 addresses
Looking up IPv6 addresses
No IPv6 address will be assigned
Setting up share.ldb
Setting up secrets.ldb
Setting up the registry
Setting up the privileges database
Setting up idmap db
Setting up SAM db
Setting up sam.ldb partitions and settings
Setting up sam.ldb rootDSE
Pre-loading the Samba 4 and AD schema
A Kerberos configuration suitable for Samba 4 has been generated at /usr/local/samba/private/krb5.conf
Provision OK for domain DN DC=samdom,DC=example,DC=com
Starting replication
Schema-DN[CN=Schema,CN=Configuration,DC=samdom,DC=example,DC=com] objects[402/1550] linked_values[0/0]
Schema-DN[CN=Schema,CN=Configuration,DC=samdom,DC=example,DC=com] objects[804/1550] linked_values[0/0]
Schema-DN[CN=Schema,CN=Configuration,DC=samdom,DC=example,DC=com] objects[1206/1550] linked_values[0/0]
Schema-DN[CN=Schema,CN=Configuration,DC=samdom,DC=example,DC=com] objects[1550/1550] linked_values[0/0]
Analyze and apply schema objects
Partition[CN=Configuration,DC=samdom,DC=example,DC=com] objects[402/1618] linked_values[0/0]
Partition[CN=Configuration,DC=samdom,DC=example,DC=com] objects[804/1618] linked_values[0/0]
Partition[CN=Configuration,DC=samdom,DC=example,DC=com] objects[1206/1618] linked_values[0/0]
Partition[CN=Configuration,DC=samdom,DC=example,DC=com] objects[1608/1618] linked_values[0/0]
Partition[CN=Configuration,DC=samdom,DC=example,DC=com] objects[1618/1618] linked_values[42/0]
Replicating critical objects from the base DN of the domain
Partition[DC=samdom,DC=example,DC=com] objects[100/100] linked_values[23/0]
Partition[DC=samdom,DC=example,DC=com] objects[386/286] linked_values[23/0]
Done with always replicated NC (base, config, schema)
Replicating DC=DomainDnsZones,DC=samdom,DC=example,DC=com
Partition[DC=DomainDnsZones,DC=samdom,DC=example,DC=com] objects[44/44] linked_values[0/0]
Replicating DC=ForestDnsZones,DC=samdom,DC=example,DC=com
Partition[DC=ForestDnsZones,DC=samdom,DC=example,DC=com] objects[19/19] linked_values[0/0]
Committing SAM database
Sending DsReplicaUpdateRefs for all the replicated partitions
Setting isSynchronized and dsServiceName
Setting up secrets database
Joined domain SAMDOM (SID S-1-5-21-469703510-2364959079-1506205053) as a DC

See the samba-tool domain join --help command's output for further information.

Other parameters frequently used with the samba-tool domain join command:

  • --dns-backend=NAMESERVER-BACKEND: Use the supplied DNS server backend. Valid options are SAMBA_INTERNAL or BIND9_DLZ, unless you want to use Bind9, there is no need to supply this option.
If you use the internal DNS server, you will not be asked for a forwarder and the one in /etc/resolv.conf will not be obtained automatically. You must supply one with --option="dns forwarder=forwarder_ipaddress".
  • --option="interfaces=lo eth0" --option="bind interfaces only=yes": If your server has multiple network interfaces, use these options to bind Samba to the specified interfaces. This enables the samba-tool command to register the correct LAN IP address in the directory during the join.

Starting the Samba Service

To start the samba Samba Active Directory (AD) domain controller (DC) service manually, enter:

# samba

Samba does not provide System V init scripts, systemd, upstart, or other services configuration files.

  • If you installed Samba using packages, use the script or service configuration file included in the package to start Samba.
  • If you built Samba, see Managing the Samba AD DC Service.

Verifying the DNS Entries

If you join a Samba DC that runs Samba 4.7.0 and later, samba-tool will create the required initial DNS entries automatically. To manually create these records on an earlier version, see Verifying and Creating a DC DNS Record. Once Samba starts, the samba_dnsupdate script should create all the other required DNS entries.

Configuring the BIND9_DLZ DNS Back End

If you selected the BIND9_DLZ DNS back end during the domain join, set up the BIND configuration. For details, see BIND9_DLZ DNS Back End.

Built-in User & Group ID Mappings

Samba in its current state doesn't support SysVol replication via DFS-R (Distributed File System Replication) or the older FRS (File Replication Service) used in Windows Server 2000/2003 for Sysvol replication.

We Currently advise administrators to use one of the following workarounds:

To use a Sysvol Replication workaround, all domain controllers (DC) must use the same ID mappings for built-in users and groups.

By default, a Samba DC stores the user & group IDs in 'xidNumber' attributes in 'idmap.ldb'. Because of the way 'idmap.ldb' works, you cannot guarantee that each DC will use the same ID for a given user or group. To ensure that you do use the same IDs, you must:

  • Create a hot-backup of the /usr/local/samba/private/idmap.ldb file on the existing DC:
# tdbbackup -s .bak /usr/local/samba/private/idmap.ldb
This creates a backup file /usr/local/samba/private/idmap.ldb.bak.
  • Move the backup file to the /usr/local/samba/private/ folder on the new joined DC and remove the .bak suffix to replace the existing file.
  • Run net cache flush on the new DC.
  • You will now need to sync Sysvol to the new DC.
  • Reset the Sysvol folder's file system access control lists (ACL) on the new DC:
# samba-tool ntacl sysvolreset

Verifying Directory Replication

After the domain controller (DC) has been started, the knowledge consistency checker (KCC) on the Samba DC creates replication agreements to other DCs in the Active Directory (AD) forest. It can take up to 15 minutes until the KCC creates the auto-generated replication connections.

For details about how to verify that the directory replication works correctly, see Verifying the Directory Replication Statuses.

Starting BIND

Before you start the BIND daemon, verify that the DNS directory partitions have been successfully replicated:

# samba-tool drs showrepl
	Default-First-Site-Name\DC1 via RPC
		DSA object GUID: 4a6bd92a-6612-4b15-aa8c-9ec371e8994f
		Last attempt @ Thu Sep 24 20:08:45 2015 CEST was successful
		0 consecutive failure(s).
		Last success @ Thu Sep 24 20:08:45 2015 CEST
	Default-First-Site-Name\DC1 via RPC
		DSA object GUID: 4a6bd92a-6612-4b15-aa8c-9ec371e8994f
		Last attempt @ Thu Sep 24 20:08:45 2015 CEST was successful
		0 consecutive failure(s).
		Last success @ Thu Sep 24 20:08:45 2015 CEST

If the replication works correctly, start the BIND service. See your distribution's documentation for information how to start a service.

Testing your Samba AD DC

Verifying the File Server

For details, see Verifying the File Server in the Setting up Samba as an Active Directory Domain Controller documentation.

Testing the Local DNS Server

Skip this step if you selected --dns-backend=NONE during the join.

Query the local DNS server to resolve the domain name

# host -t A localhost
Using domain server:
Name: localhost
Aliases: has address has address

The local DNS resolves the domain name to the IP addresses of all domain controllers (DC).

In case you receive no or a different result, review this documentation and check:

  • the system log files,
  • the Samba log files,
  • the BIND log files, if the BIND9_DLZ is used.

Verifying Kerberos

For details, see Verifying Kerberos in the Setting up Samba as an Active Directory Domain Controller documentation.

DNS Configuration on Domain Controllers

The DNS configuration on domain controllers (DC) is important, because if it is unable to locate other DCs the replication will fail.

Set the local IP of the DC as the primary name server. For example:

On the new joined DC, use the local IP as primary nameserver entry:


Configuring Winbindd on a Samba AD DC

Optional. For details, see Configuring Winbindd on a Samba AD DC.

Using the Domain Controller as a File Server

For details, see Using the Domain Controller as a File Server.

Sysvol Replication

Samba currently does not automatically replicate Sysvol, you must use some other form of replication. For community supported workarounds, see Sysvol Replication.

Testing the Directory Replication

To test that the directory replication works correctly, add for example a user on an existing DC and verify that it shows up automatically on the newly joined DC.

Optionally use the ldapcmp utility to compare two directories. For details, see samba-tool ldapcmp.


For further details, see Samba AD DC Troubleshooting.