Resolved – Request is not a valid SAML 2.0 protocol message – when embedding Power BI Reports with federated authentication

Phew! Finally, we were able to resolve the error “Request is not a valid SAML 2.0” when embedding Power BI Reports with federated authentication. It took us some time but thanks to the wonderful Microsoft support team who worked with us in debugging and isolating the issues.

Our scenario: Enterprise customer with Power BI Premium capacity planning to embed Power BI reports in an internal application using “App Owns Data” approach. There are scenarios why would you embed for enterprises (also called as organizational embedding), and scenarios why would you use “App Owns Data” approach over “User owns Data” approach. More about this in another blog post.

Ok, then why this error? How to solve it?

Why this error:

When you authenticate using master account the request goes to a federated server (in this case customer’s Identity Provider (IdP)), the IdP validates the credentials, sends back SAML assertion and TokenType, the Azure AD .NET libraries check the TokenType and assigns granttype. This granttype and SAML assertion is sent to Azure AD for confirmation.

In our particular case, the PingFederate Identity server was using a TokenType which Azure AD .NET SDK assumed to be of 2.0 and hence tagged granttype as “2.0” (urn:ietf:params:oauth:grant-type:saml2-bearer). But the assertion was not 2.0, it was actually 1.1.

Hence the error – Request is not a valid SAML 2.0 protocol message.

How to solve this error?

There are two ways to solve this error:

  1. Create a cloud account on customer’s tenant which would not be federated (simple solution), example: abc@tenantname.onmicrosoft.com
  2. Create SAML requests manually, fire to your IdP, modify the TokenType in the code and send this request to Azure AD. You will have to bypass using Azure AD libraries and construct your own requests. (complex solution)

We went ahead with solution 1, used this cloud account as our master account and were able to successfully embed the reports in enterprise internal applications.

You will not face this issue if your IdP is ADFS.

Hope this helps,

Until then,

Ranbeer Makin

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