SAML Authentication with Azure AD as IdP and Citrix as SP

Since Citrix XenApp / XenDesktop 7.9 the Federated Authentication Service (FAS) is available. Via Citrix FAS it is possible to authenticate a user via SAML and thus connect Citrix as a service provider to existing identity providers, such as Azure-AD.

Sequence of SAML authentication

  1. The user browse the FQDN (e.g. of the Citrix Gateway vServer (Service Provider) to start his VA / VD resources
  2. The Citrix Gateway vServer directs the unauthenticated user directly to the Identity Provider (Azure-AD) to authenticate itself (saml: authnRequest)
  3. The Identity Provider points to its SingleSignOnService URL (e.g. and the user must authenticate
  4. The user enters his AD credentials and these are checked by the Identity Provider against the user database
  5. Upon successful verification in the user database, the IdP is informed
  6. The IdP issues a token (SAML assertion) and sends it to the Citrix Gateway (saml: response)
  7. Citrix Gateway checks the token (assertion signature) and extracts the UPN from the assertion token. This allows access via SSO to the VA / VD farm via FAS (The SP does not have access to the user’s credentials)
SAML Auth Azure AD & Citrix Gateway with FAS
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