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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert


Azure AD (Active Directory) has become an increasingly popular choice as a SAML SSO identity provider with SAP applications.
Azure AD makes it a relatively simple task to set up SAML SSO with the likes of [SAP HANA], [SAP Analytics Cloud] etc. by providing easy to follow step by step guides.

Good to know:

Azure AD is offered either as a free trial or may be available as part of your other MSFT products/service subscription(s).

SAP HANA, express edition [database and application services] is available as a ready-to-deploy docker image under the SAP free plan license terms.
Please note a [docker hub account] may be required to get access to the image.

First things first.


Prepare the SAP HANA database.

If you opted for the SAP HANA express docker image please follow the deployment [instructions].

Then, you may eventually run the image with the following docker run command:
docker run -d --restart=always -p 8090:8090 -p 4390:4390 -p 39013:39013 -p 39015:39015 -p 39041-39045:39041-39045 -p 1128-1129:1128-1129 -p 59013-59014:59013-59014 -p 39030-39033:39030-39033 -p 51000-51100:51000-51100 -p 53075:53075 -h hxehost -v /home/<linux user>/data:/hana/mounts --ulimit nofile=1048576:1048576 --sysctl kernel.shmmax=1073741824 --sysctl net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range='60000 65535' --sysctl kernel.shmmni=524288 --sysctl kernel.shmall=8388608 --name myhanaxsa store/saplabs/hanaexpressxsa: --agree-to-sap-license --passwords-url<githubRepo>/myjson/master/db.json

docker exec -it myhanaxsa bash
hxeadm@hxehost:/usr/sap/HXE/HDB90> HDB version
HDB version info:
branch: fa/hana2sp04
machine config: linuxx86_64
git hash: af3aabc5a5cdb94ecbc7c07d0997d0bd4ae0046b
git merge time: 2019-12-06 14:35:12
weekstone: 0000.00.0
cloud edition: 0000.00.00
compile date: 2019-12-06 15:29:38
compile host: ld5144
compile type: rel

Quo vadis?

When configuring the SAML SSO it is important to bear in my mind SAP HANA is the application or service provider (SP) and Azure AD is the Identity Provider (IdP).

In order to set up the trust between the SP and the IDP we need to exchange their respective metadata descriptors.

In a nutshell, the SAP HANA service provider metadata will be used to create an application within the IDP, and vice versa the Azure AD IDP's metadata will be uploaded into SAP HANA.

XSC Admin Tool

For the sake of simplicity I shall demonstrate the SAML SSO setup using the SAP HANA XS classic administration GUI:


where `FQDN` stands for a fully qualified domain name of your SAP HANA database host and `xx` is the SAP HANA host instance number.


1. You may want to edit or change the service provider name and organisation attributes.

This is what I chose to do. Or you can go head with the default settings.



2. Copy and save the service provider metadata into a file with the .xml extension, for instance samlSP.xml.
You will need to upload this file when configuring the SAP HANA Azure AD enterprise application.



3. Now it is time to configure the Azure AD SAP HANA Application.

Azure portal access

You may have several Azure accounts. Pick the account that gives you access to Azure AD.

From the [main portal] menu select Azure Active Directory resource.



Azure AD landing page should open.



Choose to create an Enterprise application to establish trust between Azure AD and SAP HANA.

Azure AD makes is really simple with its *enterprise application gallery* as depicted below:

select the SAP applications gallery and make your application integration choice:

a. Create your SAP HANA application.

Please give it a distinguished name so you can easily refer to it afterwards. You may notice that the Create button is somehow at the very bottom of the page and may be initially difficult to spot.


b. Configure (steps 1-4 from the below screenshot) the SAP HANA application you have just created:

* Please follow the configuration [guide].
* Most likely you will be uploading the SAP HANA service provider metadata. However, you may also choose to configure all the values from (step 1) manually.



c. The most tricky part in the entire process is the claim management (step 2).

Indeed, Azure AD offers a variety of ways of mapping an external user into an identity claim.

For the sake of clarity, I have rather chosen to use the same claim management option as described in the [SAP HANA integration tutorial]

Please have a good understanding of the claim management options you may choose. Otherwise you may spend lots of time trying to troubleshoot not-so-obvious errors.



d. Download the Federated AzureAD SAML IDP metadata (step 3) and add the new SAML IDP metadata into SAP HANA



it is important to verify the SAML IDP certificate has been added to the SAML trust store



e. Configure a database user mapping (step 4)

I mapped an existing SAP HANA tenant database user to the Azure AD external identity (using SAP HANA Studio)

You may notice I used the SAP HANA SYSTEM user to perform this activity [on HXE - the tenant db].




Testing SAML SSO


In order to test whether the SAML SSO is working one would typically configure the SAP HANA HTTPS InA service



and would call the GetServerInfo verb:

as to retrieve the SAP HANA EPM-MDS server side configuration...

{"ServerInfo":{"BuildTime":"2019-12-06 15:29:38","Client":"000000000000000000","ServerType":"SAP HANA","SystemId":"HXE","UserLanguageCode":"EN","Version":""},"Services":[{"Capabilities":[{"Capability":"ResultSetState","MaxVersion":104,"MinVersion":100},{"Capability":"DynamicResultsetFacets","MaxVersion":104,"MinVersion":100},{"Capability":"InaSearchModel","MaxVersion":104,"MinVersion":100}],"CapabilitiesDev":[],"Service":"Search"},{"Capabilities":[],"CapabilitiesDev":[],"Service":"Suggestions"},{"Capabilities":[{"Capability":"CellsValueFormated","MaxVersion":104,"MinVersion":100},


On a side note: if the SAML token is no longer valid and has to be renewed you would be prompted with the IDP login screen first

That's all folks:)


best wishes

Piotr Tesny