• You need to join an ESXi host to AD but you do not have Domain Admins.
  • Your AD team ask what rights ESXi requires and you can’t tell them
  • VMware Support give you a stock “You must have Domain Admins” reply to a support call.


  • Delegate the rights as per the following Microsoft KB Article …yes I know it’s for 2003 but AD hasn’t changed that much since then…shhh don’t tell!
  • Also Delegate Read All Properties and Write All Properties
  • Your OU permissions should look like this now (Tenant1Admin is the Account Mr Domain Admin has given you) OU Permissions

The latter was the key to getting ESXi to be able to update random fields in the Computer Object such as OperatingSystemServicePack which VMware/Likewise decided to populate with Likewise Identity 5.3.0! For background info and other reasons you might be stuck, read on……..

The story/diagnosis & how to troubleshoot ESXi/AD/Likewise logs

I have an e-mail from VMware support stating the following

“I’ve discussed this issue with my escalation engineer’s.

To add/join the ESXi host to AD you need to have a Domain Admin privilege.

This email can be considered to be an official document, however if you have any more queries, please reply back to this email."

This is beyond disappointing. It means that they don’t know or care how AD works and are not serious about supporting it as an Identity Provider.

In the environment I’m working in I am not getting Domain Admins any time soon, and rightly so as it’s a sledgehammer to crack a nut!

I started off using this slightly outdated article from Microsoft on how to delegate rights to a user to allow them to join computers to a domain

This lists how to delegate Creation and Deletion of Computer Objects to an OU and 4 permissions required to complete a domain join. This works fine for Windows Hosts and Redhat Linux hosts joining using sssd. But ESXi’s Likewise/Netlogon domain join borks at these permissions and throws either

“Errors in Active Directory operations” (An error so useless, yes frequent it should have it’s own Twitter account!)

There are a vast array of reasons why ESXi might throw this, but presuming you followed Part 1 of this blog topic then the reason you are seeing it is because you don’t have enough permissions in AD………..yet

The next step was to find out what ESXi/Likewise REALLY needs (seeing as Support don’t know or won’t tell). So if you go into a DC in a test lab and either use the domain admin or delegate full control over the OU to your test user then you can:

Enable advanced audit logging

  1. First select Properties of the OU you are trying to add Computers to
  2. Go to the security tab and click Advanced Button/Auditing Tab/Add
  3. In Security Principal at the top click and select the user who is going to be adding (or trying to add) a host to the domain
  4. Change Type=All, Applies to=This Object and All Descendant Objects and tick Full Control in the Permissions section
  5. Now go to the Default Domain Controller Policy in GPMC and edit the policy
  6. Navigate to Computer Configuration/Windows Settings/Security Settings/Advanced Audit Policy Configuration/Audit Policies/DS Access
  7. Change Audit Directory Service Access to Configured for Success/Fail
  8. Change Audit Directory Service Change to Configured for Success/Fail

Now if you clear your test.lab DC’s security logs and try and join your ESXi host then you can see exactly which attributes and actions the ESXi host is trying to do when joining the domain.

Enable Likewise Logging

  1. Follow this VMware KB
  2. Now go and browse /var/log or /scratch/log for netlogond.log,lwiod.log and lsassd.log and happy trawling

Restarting The Likewise/Netlogon Daemons from Powercli

Connect to your vCenter or ESXi host and run

Get-VMHost | Get-VMHostService | ?{"lsassd","lwiod","netlogond" -contains $_.Key} | Restart-VMHostService