Symptoms of a failed ADFS farm install

Problems

This week I worked through what appears to be a situation where an ADFS farm install was not successful or finished incompletely. This event has not been typical in my experience with ADFS so I am simply putting these observations out there for others to be aware of.  After an ADFS farm install had occurred from the command-line, various things about working with it were not working as expected. I looked into the ADFS configuration using the ADFS 2 mmc and found these symptoms. I was not actually the person who did the initial scripted install so I am not aware of what went wrong.

  1. No certificates at all had been selected for the encrypting, token signing, and token decrypting certificates. I know with the UI assisted configuration of ADFS that you must choose a certificate for encrypting and the other 2 are generated ones. For the scripted farm install, I am wondering if there is validation or not or if this was simply a weird event.
  2. Some of the federation endpoint addresses were not showing as expected. For example, the federation metadata address showed as “/FederationMetadata/FederationMetadata.xml” rather than the normal “/FederationMetadata/2007-06/FederationMetadata.xml”.
  3. All of the enabled endpoints were giving me 503 service unavailable errors rather than the 400 bad request errors in the browser. The 400 bad request errors are actually the expected ones. This was very similar to the following old forums thread: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsserver2008r2management/thread/ef642548-7c1a-427d-972f-df3dd4f2c829/. The 503 error can occur when the ADFS site is running under the wrong app pool identity but changing this did not resolve the problem for me.
  4. When trying to access the federation metadata page from the address given in step 2, I also received a 503 error. I did not see any more informative error messages in the event logs when the 503 error was occuring.

Resolution

To resolve these issues I simply redid a farm installation by script and this time I was handling the installation myself. I do not think this problem was solely user error but might possibly have been some optional parameters or issues with the fsconfig command-line. The documentation on using fsconfig is somewhat poor so I am guessing there could be some things that could go wrong.

If I encounter this problem again or am able to reproduce it I might try creating some scripts to identify the problem. I am wondering if there might also be other indicators of a failed ADFS install, if you know any please let me know.

Thanks!

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