Azure AD Connect Logs: How to Troubleshoot Sync Issues in Entra ID (formerly Azure AD)

Azure AD Connect Logs: How to Troubleshoot Sync Issues in Entra ID (formerly Azure AD)

October 17, 2023

Azure AD Connect is a tool provided by Microsoft to integrate your on-premises directories with Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). It enables you to synchronize users, groups, and policies for a seamless experience with both on and off premises data, applications, and services.

However, when there's a problem with the syncing process, you may need further context to determine what went wrong. That's where Azure AD Connect Logs come in. By maintaining a detailed log of your tenant's activities in Azure AD Connect, these audit logs help you get to the bottom of an issue and maintain detailed track records for compliance purposes.

Let's dive deeper into Azure AD Connect Logs to see how they can help you secure your active directory and comply with local regulations through detailed audit trailing and drift detection.

Understanding the Azure AD Connect Logs

Azure AD Connect logs are records of activities, errors, and other diagnostic information related to the operations of Azure AD Connect. These logs are crucial for monitoring, troubleshooting, and ensuring the smooth functioning of the Azure AD Connect tool.

Why are Azure AD Connect Logs Needed?

Here's a breakdown of the importance of Azure AD Connect logs in troubleshooting and compliance workflows:

  1. Troubleshooting: Logs provide detailed information about synchronization errors, authentication failures, and other issues. By examining the logs, administrators can identify the root cause of problems and take corrective actions.
  2. Monitoring: Regularly checking the logs helps in proactive monitoring of the synchronization process. Any anomalies or unexpected behaviors can be detected early, preventing potential disruptions.
  3. Audit and Compliance: For organizations that need to adhere to regulatory standards, logs can serve as an audit trail. They provide evidence of activities, changes, and operations performed by Azure AD Connect.
  4. Optimization: By analyzing the logs, administrators can gain insights into the performance of synchronization operations and make necessary optimizations.
  5. Security: Logs can help detect any unauthorized or suspicious activities. For instance, if there's an unexpected change or a sudden surge in synchronization errors, it might indicate a potential security issue.

Types of Azure AD Connect Logs

Azure AD Connect maintains a variety of admin logs and audit trails to ensure that you have a comprehensive picture of your on and off-premise active directories and how they sync together. Here's a breakdown of each type:

  1. Synchronization Service Logs: These logs capture information related to the synchronization process between the on-premises Active Directory and Azure AD. They can be accessed using the Synchronization Service Manager tool.
  2. Operational Logs: These logs provide information about the operations of Azure AD Connect, such as synchronization cycles, changes applied, and errors encountered.
  3. Azure AD Connect Health Logs: Azure AD Connect Health is a feature that provides monitoring capabilities. The associated logs offer insights into the health, performance, and activities of Azure AD Connect.
  4. Export and Import Logs: These logs provide details about objects being exported to Azure AD or imported from Azure AD during the synchronization process.
  5. AD FS Logs: If Azure AD Connect is configured with federation using AD FS (Active Directory Federation Services), then AD FS logs will capture information related to authentication requests, token issuance, and other federation-related activities.

How to Interpret Azure AD Connect Logs?

1. Accessing the Logs:

Azure AD Connect logs are primarily stored in two locations:

  • Event Viewer: Under the Applications and Services Logs folder, you'll find logs related to Azure AD Connect. The most commonly accessed logs are under Microsoft > AzureADConnect > Sync.
  • Synchronization Service Manager: This is a GUI tool installed with Azure AD Connect. It provides detailed logs related to synchronization operations. You can access it by navigating to Start > Synchronization Service.

2. Understanding Log Entries:

  • Operational Logs: These logs provide a high-level view of synchronization operations. Look for events with Information level to understand the regular sync activities. Warning and Error level events indicate issues that need attention.
  • Export and Import Logs: These logs provide details about objects being synchronized. They show how many adds, updates, and deletes occurred during each sync cycle.
  • AD FS Logs: If you're using federation, these logs will show authentication requests, token issuance, and other related activities. Look for failed authentication attempts or token issuance failures.

3. Common Log Entries and Their Interpretation:

  • Event ID 611: This indicates a successful synchronization cycle.
  • Event ID 632: This indicates a password sync cycle was initiated.
  • Event ID 656: This indicates a password change was successfully synchronized to Azure AD.
  • Event ID 612: This indicates a connector has started a run profile.
  • Event ID 605: This indicates objects that are ready to export to Azure AD.

4. Troubleshooting with Logs:

  • Filter by Errors and Warnings: In the Event Viewer, filter the logs to show only Error and Warning level events. This will help you quickly identify issues.
  • Detailed Information: Double-click on an event to see detailed information. This can provide insights into why a particular error occurred.
  • Correlation ID: Some errors will provide a correlation ID. This is useful if you need to contact Microsoft support, as they can use this ID to trace the exact sequence of events leading to the error.
  • Object Details: In the Synchronization Service Manager, you can view the details of objects that failed to sync. This can help identify issues like missing attributes or misconfigurations.

5. Azure AD Connect Health:

If you're using Azure AD Connect Health, you can access its logs for more insights. It provides a centralized view of sync operations, errors, and performance metrics. The Azure portal will display alerts and recommendations based on these logs.

6. External Tools:

There are third-party tools and scripts available that can help parse and analyze your Azure AD Connect Log, making it easier to spot patterns, frequent errors, or other anomalies. For example, Simeon Cloud can help you make sense of your Azure AD Connect Logs by parsing the data provided by Microsoft to make it more user-friendly and actionable.

Troubleshooting Azure AD Connect With Simeon Cloud

Simeon Cloud is a no-code platform designed to automate Microsoft 365 configurations. It offers automation tools for managing configurations across Office 365, Intune, and Azure AD. You can view detailed audit trails of your M365 environments in a unified interface, restoring them to a known good state in the event of a problem or deviation.

The detailed audit trails provided by Simeon Cloud include logs related to Azure AD Connect activities. This allows for easier tracking and restoration of configurations by regularly checking your users, groups, and policies for any drift from your baseline configuration. Because of the way Simeon is set up, you can view possible deviations at a glance without having to spend hours scouring your audit logs for issues.

Want to learn more about how Simeon can help interpret your Azure AD sync logs? Sign up for a demo today!