Citrix Netscaler 11 SAML Integration


This article explains how to integrate a Citrix Netscaler with Sentry via SAML. It assumes knowledge of how to configure the Netscaler and that a Virtual Server has been already created.

Create SAML Keys on CMI

Keys are used within SAML to create a trust relationship between Sentry (acting as an IDP) and a SAML-compliant service provider. It is important that you create your own keys for this integration and keep the private key secure.

Generating Keys

From the CMI Main Menu select the Appliance Option, then select Sentry Menu option.

You will see the keys that are currently being used by Sentry (if any).


Select Option 1 to Generate New Keys

Give the key a name eg SentryProductionKey Select the key type, RSA or DSA (RSA is recommended for wider compatibility).

Some integrations require keys of a specific type so refer to the appropriate integration guides.

You then need to enter the information required to generate the key. These parameters are:

  • Country Name e.g. US. This should be the standard 2-letter ISO country code.
  • State or Province e.g. Washington.
  • Locality: e.g. Seattle.
  • Organisation: Your Company or Organisation Name.
  • Organisation Unit: Relevant unit, e.g. Information Technology.
  • Common Name: The full server hostname, e.g.
  • Email Address: contact email address for the certificate.

Once you have entered all the details the new keys and certificate will be created.

You will be asked if you want to start using the new key immediately. If you say NO you can select the key at a later date.


Changing the key being used will impact any existing SAML-based integrations. The existing service providers will need to be updated with the new keys.

Selecting a Key

Select the Select New Key option will list all the keys that have been created on the appliance. You can select the key you wish to use.


You need to restart tomcat for the changes to take effect.

Setup SAML SSO on Citrix Netscaler

To configure SAML SSO settings on your Citrix Netscaler account you have to access your Admin console. You should see an Admin console with an option “Authentication > Dashboard” similar to the one below:


On the Authentication Servers screen you have to click on the Add button. You will be shown a create authentication server screen with a Choose Server Type options where you have to click on “SAML”.


You will have to enter a name for the Authentication SAML Server and fill in the details for your AuthControl Sentry such as:

“IDP Certificate Name” - Click on + and a screen like the one displayed below should be displayed. Browse to the RSA PEM files created earlier to upload the certificate and select PEM as a Certificate Format:


After you have entered all the certificate details click “Install”

Set the Redirect and Single Logout below, where <FQDN_OF_SENTRY_SERVER> is the public DNS entry of your Swivel AuthControl Sentry server, e.g. or if you do not have a redirect from port 443 to 8443 in place, you may need to include a port number e.g.

  • “Redirect URL” - https://<FQDN_OF_SENTRY_SERVER>/sentry/saml20endpoint
  • “Single Logout URL” - https://<FQDN_OF_SENTRY_SERVER>/sentry/singlelogout
  • “Issuer Name” - E.g. “” (The value set in here will be used to configure the Citrix Netscaler application on AuthControl Sentry)
  • “Signature Algorithm” - RSA-SHA256
  • “Digest Method” - SHA1

After you have entered all the details as above click “Create”

Now the SAML authentication server has been created. To configure the Virtual Server used to log in to use SAML authentication, select Netscaler Gateway > Virtual Servers and click Edit.

You should see a screen like the one below:


To add the SAML authentication server click + on the Authentication section. Select Policy as SAML and type Primary. Click the Continue button.


The below screen will be displayed. Click + to add Add Binding:


Click + add to add a new Policy Binding:


Set a name for the SAML policy, select the SAML server configured before and add the Expression ns_true


After those parameters have been set click the Create button. Then the policy bind screen will be displayed again with the new policy selected.


Click Bind. The below screen will be displayed.


Click the Close button. The virtual server will have now the SAML authentication set. Click the back button and save the current configuration.

Configure Check Password with Repository on the Swivel Core

In order to check the user’s Active Directory password, ensure that the “local” Agent defined under Server -> Agents has got the Check Password with repository checkbox enabled. When an authentication occurs in AuthControl Sentry, the Active Directory password will then be passed to Active Directory for verification.



If you just want to test Swivel Core authentication without checking Active Directory passwords, you can leave this setting off for the time being. When prompted for a password during login on the AuthControl Sentry Login screen, simply leave the password field blank.

Setup AuthControl Sentry Application definition


You must have setup a Citrix Netscaler SAML SSO prior to defining this Application entry within AuthControl Sentry. This is so that you are able to populate the Endpoint URL field.

Login to the AuthControl Sentry Administration Console. Click Applications in the left hand menu. To add a new Application definition for Netscaler, click the Add Provider button.

  • “Name:” Citrix Netscaler(Type an Arbitrary name for this Application)
  • “Image:” CitrixNetscaler.png(selected by default)
  • “Points:” 100 (the number of the points the user needs to score from their Authentication Method in order to successfully authenticate to this Application)
  • “Portal URL:” (this Portal URL is your companies Citrix Netscaler URL which you can usually access on: )
  • “Endpoint URL:” N/A
  • “Entity ID:” (This is the Issuer Name configured on Citrix Netscaler SAML server)

Setup AuthControl Sentry Authentication definition

As an example here we will be using Turing authentication as the Primary method required for Citrix Netscaler SAML authentication.

Login to the AuthControl Sentry Administration Console. Click Authentication Methods in the left hand menu. Click the Edit button against the Turing option in the list of Authentication Methods. Give this Authentication Method 100 points. This will mean that when a login attempt is made to the Netscaler Application, this Authentication Method will be offered during login.

Testing authentication to Netscaler via Swivel AuthControl Sentry

This should be the final step after all previous elements have been configured.

In a web browser, visit the the URL that you setup on AuthControl Sentry as Endpoint URL e.g.

Alternatively you can visit your AuthControl Sentry Page with your public DNS entry of your Swivel AuthControl Sentry server, e.g. https://mycompanysentrydomain/sentry/startPage

On a Start Page you will be able to see a new Netscaler Icon on which you can click and proceed with authentication (as you would by going straight to the Citrix Netscaler page)


When you visit this URL you will notice that the domain should redirect to the identity provider login URL that you have setup, once you have submitted your username. You should be presented with the page of the Authentication Method which can score enough points to match the points required by the Citrix Nestcaler Application definition.


After we enter the username we are prompted with another authentication method (in this example we use turing)


After we enter our authentication credentials we successfully will see the web app that we have tried to access.


There are various logging components available for this particular integration which can aid in diagnosis at different points during authentication.

  • The Swivel Core has a Log Viewer menu item which can reveal information concerning user status e.g. is the user locked, has a session been started for the image request;
  • The Swivel AuthControl Sentry has a View Log menu item which provides details about the SAML assertion and response received from Citrix Netscaler and can be useful for comparison with the Netscaler Citrix SAML Assertion Validator output;

It is crucial when troubleshooting, to pinpoint where the authentication is failing. For example, you may find that the Swivel Core logs show a successful authentication (which would indicate that the user has entered their Password and OTC correctly), but the AuthControl Sentry logging shows that there is a problem with the SAML assertion.

Two common issues which can be diagnosed with the validator are:

  • Certificate or decryption issues;
    • Can AuthControl Sentry find the Certificate locally, is it the correct one?
    • Has the correct Certificate been uploaded to Citrix Netscaler?
    • Does the Repository -> Attribute name being used actually map to a Repository attribute? Has a User Sync occurred in the Swivel Core since modifying this?