VMware ESXi 5.5 Active Directory authentication – step by step

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Have you ever wondered if it is possible to skip creation of local user on each ESXi host and use only one account to rule them all?

If yes then I have good news for you - you can use Active Directory together with VMware ESXi. I will show you how you can do it in few steps.


In order to successfully authenticate Active Directory in ESXi hosts you must have:

  • Correct DNS servers configured on ESXi hosts
  • Your Active Directory account should have rights to add Computer objects in Active Directory

ESXi configuration

  1. Login to ESXi using root account.
  2. Navigate to **Configuration \ Authentication Services

    ESXi Active Directory Authentication 1

  3. Click Properties and change Local Authentication to Active Directory.

    ESXi Active Directory Authentication 2

  4. Enter domain name, click Join Domain and give User name and password for valid user account which can join computers to Active Directory.

    ESXi Active Directory Authentication 3

  5. You are done! Your ESXi server is added to Active Directory domain.

    ESXi Active Directory Authentication 4

  6. Now you need to assign user or group to specific role in ESXi. In order to do this navigate to Home \ Inventory \ Permissions and click Add Permission.

    ESXi Active Directory Authentication 5

Select appropriate role (Administrator, Read-Only, No access) and provide user or group name.