Product Documentation

Delegated Administration

Jun 17, 2013
The Delegated Administration model offers the flexibility to match how your organization wants to delegate administration activities, using role and object-based control. Delegated Administration accommodates deployments of all sizes, and allows you to configure more permission granularity as your deployment grows in complexity. Delegated Administration uses three concepts: administrators, roles, and scopes.
  • Administrators — An administrator represents an individual person or a group of people identified by their Active Directory account. Each administrator is associated with one or more role and scope pairs.
  • Roles — A role represents a job function, and has defined permissions associated with it. For example, the Delivery Group Administrator role has permissions such as 'Create Delivery Group' and 'Remove Desktop from Delivery Group.' An administrator can have multiple roles for a Site, so a person could be a Delivery Group Administrator and a Machine Catalog Administrator. Roles can be built-in or custom.
    The built-in roles are:
    Role Permissions
    Full Administrator Can perform all tasks and operations. A Full Administrator is always combined with the All scope.
    Read Only Administrator Can see all objects in specified scopes as well as global information, but cannot change anything. For example, a Read Only Administrator with Scope=London can see all global objects (such as Configuration Logging) and any London-scoped objects (for example, London Delivery Groups). However, that administrator cannot see objects in the New York scope (assuming that the London and New York scopes do not overlap).
    Help Desk Administrator Can view Delivery Groups, and manage the sessions and machines associated with those groups. Can see the Machine Catalog and host information for the Delivery Groups being monitored, and can also perform session management and machine power management operations for the machines in those Delivery Groups.
    Machine Catalog Administrator Can create and manage Machine Catalogs and provision the machines into them. Can build Machine Catalogs from the virtualization infrastructure, Provisioning Services, and physical machines. This role can manage base images and install software, but cannot assign applications or desktops to users.
    Delivery Group Administrator Can deliver applications, desktops, and machines; can also manage the associated sessions. Can also manage application and desktop configurations such as policies and power management settings.
    Host Administrator Can manage host connections and their associated resource settings. Cannot deliver machines, applications, or desktops to users.

    In certain XenDesktop editions, you can create custom roles to match the requirements of your organization, and delegate permissions with more detail. You can use custom roles to allocate permissions at the granularity of an action or task in a console.

  • Scopes — A scope represents a collection of objects. Scopes are used to group objects in a way that is relevant to your organization (for example, the set of Delivery Groups used by the Sales team). Objects can be in more than one scope; you can think of objects being labeled with one or more scopes. There is one built-in scope: 'All,' which contains all objects. The Full Administrator role is always paired with the All scope.


Company XYZ decided to manage applications and desktops based on their department (Accounts, Sales, and Warehouse) and their desktop operating system (Windows 7 or Windows 8). The administrator created five scopes, then labeled each Delivery Group with two scopes: one for the department where they are used and one for the operating system they use.

The following administrators were created:
Administrator Roles Scopes


Full Administrator

All (the Full Administrator role always has the All scope)


Read Only Administrator



Read Only Administrator

Help Desk Administrator




Help Desk Administrator



Delivery Group Administrator and Machine Catalog Administrator


  • Fred is a Full Administrator and can view, edit, and delete all objects in the system.
  • Rob can view all objects in the Site but cannot edit or delete them.
  • Heidi can view all objects and can perform help desk tasks on Delivery Groups in the Sales scope. This allows her to manage the sessions and machines associated with those groups; she cannot make changes to the Delivery Group, such as adding or removing machines.
  • Anyone who is a member of the WarehouseAdmins Active Directory security group can view and perform help desk tasks on machines in the Warehouse scope.
  • Peter is a Windows 7 specialist and can manage all Windows 7 Machine Catalogs and can deliver Windows 7 applications, desktops, and machines, regardless of which department scope they are in. The administrator considered making Peter a Full Administrator for the Win7 scope; however, she decided against this, because a Full Administrator also has full rights over all objects that are not scoped, such as 'Site' and 'Administrator.'

How to use Delegated Administration

Generally, the number of administrators and the granularity of their permissions depends on the size and complexity of the deployment.
  • In small or proof-of-concept deployments, one or a few administrators do everything; there is no delegation. In this case, create each administrator with the built-in Full Administrator role, which has the All scope.
  • In larger deployments with more machines, applications, and desktops, more delegation is needed. Several administrators might have more specific functional responsibilities (roles). For example, two are Full Administrators, and others are Help Desk Administrators. Additionally, an administrator might manage only certain groups of objects (scopes), such as machine catalogs. In this case, create new scopes, plus administrators with one of the built-in roles and the appropriate scopes.
  • Even larger deployments might require more (or more specific) scopes, plus different administrators with unconventional roles. In this case, edit or create additional scopes, create custom roles, and create each administrator with a built-in or custom role, plus existing and new scopes.

For flexibility and ease of configuration, you can create new scopes when you create an administrator. You can also specify scopes when creating or editing Machine Catalogs or Hosts.