Lars Nielsen's Discoveries

June 15, 2012

Kerberos, Reporting Services and SharePoint across domains

Filed under: Administration,SharePoint,Troubleshooting — Lars Nielsen @ 8:21 pm
Tags: , ,

Here’s another small piece of knowledge to add to the body of info about Kerberos, SharePoint and Reporting Services Integration.  Like so many others, I spent ages recently trying to get Kerberos to work with SharePoint 2010. Through trial and error, I found one point that I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere else, so I thought I’d write it up here. This applies when you are trying to use Constrained Delegation in Kerberos. If you’re wondering what that is, or if you’re starting out down the road of Kerberos Authentication in SharePoint 2010, then here are the resources I found most useful:

It’s worth reading about what Kerberos is and what it does.  This video is a good first introduction.

The best starting point is this Microsoft White Paper – get it and read it very carefully!  It actually has 90% of what you need to know, but in some places I found it ambiguous or confusing. The white paper describes a number of Kerberos tools for debugging, like Kerbtray, although I ended up using just KLIST in a command window most of the time which lists your Kerberos tickets, along with Fiddler to track the requests and responses from the web server. Another great resource are Adam Saxton’s blogs on Kerberos – for example this one.  It walks you through the process with plenty of screen shots.

If (OK, when) you hit problems, you need to enable Kerberos error logging on all the SharePoint servers in the farm. You may as well do it on all the servers so then turn it off on all of them once everything is working OK. Note that you will start to see “errors” that may not be causing you any real problems – especially KDC_ERR_PREAUTH_REQUIRED errors.  Don’t worry if your event logs aren’t completely error-free.

Cross Domain Issues

The main point of this post is to cover the case where you’re working across domains, something that is not really covered in detail in the White Paper above. In this case there’s more work to do.  For example you need to establish trust between the domains even if they are in the same forest.


You also need to bear in mind the Forest Search Order and how this affects which KDC is hit first.  If you find that everything works from one domain, but not from another, start looking for duplicate SPN’s (or even duplicate Constrained Delegation settings – see below) in the different domains.  You need to get rid of any duplicates.  Learn the SETSPN command – it has new options in Windows 2008.  I found that the SETSPN -XF command which searches for duplicates sometimes didn’t work across the forest – it missed some duplicates and reports what look like false positives relating to other services.  I  prefer to use SETSPN -L to search for duplicates explicitly on each of the relevant SharePoint and Reporting Services service accounts.  Remember to use the -S option in SETSPN rather than -A.


One point that is in the White Paper above, but if often missed elsewhere, is if you’re using Kerberos Constrained Delegation.  Constrained Delegation is configured when, in the Delegation tab in Active Directory Users and Computers, you select the option “Trust this user for delegation to specified services only”.  Basic Delegation is set up when select “Trust this user for delegation to any service”.

In that case, you need to set up delegation (using the HTTP service) from the SharePoint Application Pool account to the Reporting Services cluster. That’s in addition to the delegation to the fully qualified and NETBIOS names for the SharePoint web application URL’s. So for example if your SharePoint site is at and your Reporting Services cluster is at then, on the Application Pool identity account, you need to set up delegation for:

  • HTTP/
  • HTTP/intranet
  • HTTP/
  • HTTP/rs

But you only need to set SPN’s on that same account for:

  • HTTP/intranet
  • HTTP/

If you don’t put in delegation to the Reporting Services cluster address, then you’ll find the authentication to SharePoint works OK, and you can see your ticket in KLIST.  But things start to break when you try to use Reporting Services features within SharePoint. For example, when you try to edit the data source in SharePoint, you might see an error:

The request failed with HTTP status 401: Unauthorized.

And when you try to deploy a report from Business Intelligence Developer Studio, you’ll be challenged to authenticate with your username and password again in a Reporting Services Login box.  Then the deployment will fail.

Don’t Mix Basic and Constrained Delegation

This is something I haven’t found documented anywhere so far.  If you use Constrained Delegation on the SharePoint Application Pool identity account, you must also use Constrained Delegation on the Reporting Services service account.  You cannot use Constrained Delegation on the App Pool identity and Basic Delegation on the Reporting Services account.  I’m guessing that the opposite is true – i.e. if you use Basic Delegation on the Reporting Services service account you must also use it on the App Pool identity account.  The White Paper above suggests that this is an issue if you need to switch away from Kerberos later in the authentication chain (protocol transition).  But I found even if everything is pure Kerberos, the same thing still applies.

If you get this wrong then you find that reports will deploy OK from Business Intelligence Developer Studio, but will not run.  If you edit the data source in SharePoint and set it to use Windows Authentication, and then click the Test Connection button, you’ll see an error:


You’ll see similar errors on SQL Server in the SQL log files. This is because the connection between Reporting Services and SQL Server has lost your credentials, because the delegation didn’t pass the credentials that far.

Again according to the White Paper above, you can use Basic Delegation (everywhere) if you want to connect to a data source outside the domain where the Reporting Services service is running.   But if you set Basic Delegation on the Application Identity account then that might limit your ability to connect from that web application to services other than Reporting Services, like Excel Services or authenticated RSS feeds.  Using Constrained Delegation (everywhere) is more flexible, but it will prevent Reporting Services from passing your credentials to data outside its domain (even within the same forest).

[Updated – additional notes below]

SQL Analysis Services as a Data Source

As well as using Reporting  Services to report from SQL Database tables or views, you can use SQL Analysis Services as a data source as well.  If you want to do this, the Kerberos configuration becomes more complicated   But it’s the same principle.  You set MSOLAPSvc.3 SPN’s on the SQL Analysis Services service account (assuming you’re using a dedicated service account) as described in the White Paper above.  If you’re using a named instance of SQL Server for Analysis Services then you also need to set SPN’s on the SQL Browser service account.  Then you set the delegation on the Reporting Services service account to be the SPN’s on the SQL Analysis Services account.  This allows Reporting Services to pass your credentials to Analysis Services.

You also need to ensure that the connection string in the data source (RSDS file in SharePoint) contains SSPI=Kerberos.  Otherwise when you edit the data source in SharePoint and click on the Test Connection button you will see a red error message:

The connection either timed out or was lost

If you don’t put in the right SPN’s for Analysis Services then when you click the Test Connection button you will see a red error message:

Authentication Failed



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