SharePoint 2013: User Profile Synchronization: Direct Active Directory Import

As we all know, many changes have been made in SharePoint Server Application Services. The Search Service Application and also the User Profile Synchronization Service has been improved in the new version of SharePoint 2013

The classic User Profile Synchronization Service Application (SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013) still and always uses the FIM to get any data from Active Directory to fill our profiles.

But now, in SharePoint 2013, there is something called “Direct Active Directory Import”

The main novelty lies in the synchronization of properties of users in the corporate directory (Active Directory only) with the ability to import it directly.

Is it that concrete? The direct import can synchronize the SharePoint user profiles with Active Directory without using Forefront Identity Manager (FIM), as was the case in SharePoint 2010.

To explain it as simply as possible: “Direct Import from Active Directory which is designed to import the AD profile as quickly as possible.”

Yes, it is beneficial without using the FIM ! What Administrator has never had a problem with this service application? Problems with “Starting” User Profile Service Applications? .. It’s all over now

But there are also some limitations:

  • Mapping to system SharePoint properties is not supported.
  • Mapping two different AD attributes to the same SharePoint property is not supported

How does it work? The direct import works without starting the Synchronization Service in SharePoint (which is used for communication with the FIM configuration)! Actually, the Direct Import services are based on User Profiles.

Configure the type of import, configure the connection to the directory and then run the Syncronization … And that’s all.

According to this article, the following script snippet can be used to enable AD Import mode in SharePoint Server 2013: Only the OU setting is removed when you run the Remove-SPProfileSyncConnection cmdlet in SharePoint Server 2013

1 $UPSA=Get-SPServiceApplication -Name “<User Profile Service Application Name>”
2 $UPSA.NoILMUsed=$true


3 $UPSA.Update()

The User Profile Replication engine is an optional component of SharePoint Server 2010 and is part of the SharePoint Administration Toolkit. It replicates User Profiles and social data between User Profile service applications.

The User Profile Replication Engine ( UPRE ) which was a separate download tool comes as an out-of-the-box feature in SharePoint Server 2013.

It comes in very handy when you have a Development, Q&A and Production environment. Instead of building it all again from scratch, you can replicate all, or some, user profiles.

For more information please read and refere to:

About Krishana Kumar

Krishana Kumar is SharePoint Architect/Trainer having Architecture experience with high volumes at Enterprise level and global scale - creation of highly scalable solutions with global user base and geographically distributed architectural components. Good knowledge of SharePoint best practices and governance models. I hold Two Master degree in Computer Science with over 11 years of experience working on Microsoft Technologies specially SharePoint, Project, .NET and other Information Worker Technologies. Having good exposer in Client side scripting Angular.js, backbone and Node. I am currently responsible for SharePoint Infrastructure set up and leading teams in various medium and large scale projects, architecting, designing & installing SharePoint farms, developing custom components,, and providing advanced SharePoint administration and development training to teams and customers. I regularly speaks in various SharePoint User Groups and other Events. I have MCSA Windows Azure, MCSA Office 365, MCSE & MCSD SharePoint 2013, Microsoft Certified Developer (MCD) and holds MCPD, MCTIP and MCTS for SharePoint 2010, MCTS MOSS 2007 & WSS 3.0, MCPD, MCITP (EPM 2010 & 2007) and MCSD .NET.
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