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From Rohit Yadav <>
Subject [DISCUSS] [PROPOSAL] SAML2 plugin for SSO/SLO in CloudStack
Date Wed, 16 Jul 2014 10:33:41 GMT
Hi guys,

There has been a lot of interest [4] around auth related problems in
CloudStach such as -- SSO/SLO (single sign on / log out), 2-factor
authentication, role based network/IP/CIDR checking etc.

A lot of challenge in implementing them in CloudStack is because of two
divergent authentication mechanisms (one that is
username/password/cookie based, other which is api/secret keys or
hmac/signature based).

This thread tries to kickstart a project in that direction which will in
short term try to implement a SAML2 plugin and in long term have a much
better authentication framework.

Let me start by briefly explaining what SAML2 [1] is -- it's an XML
based authentication and authorization protocol widely used to implement
single sign on service. Having a SAML plugin in ACS will give users and
organization a new mode of authentication who already have such an
infrastructure in place.

A SAML based SSO infrastructure consists of three entities - user-agent
(UA), service provider (SP) and identity provider (IdP). The UA is the
user/browser, the SP is the application that the UA is accessing (i.e.
Apache CloudStack UI) and the IdP is the identity service and does
authentication and authorization, management of users among other
things. IdP could be backed by LDAP, AD etc. For the scope of this
feature, we only need to implement SAML SP plugin in CloudStack and use
any free SAML 2.0 compliant IdP server [5] for testing.

For this I researched and explored ways of implementing that and have a
first draft which needs to be discussed and iterated in the ACS dev

After comparing many opensource SAML 2.0  implementations, their
security and stability, we'll use OpenSAML [2] which is the most stable
and widely used Java implementation. Since within CloudStack, we've been
using Spring (for DI etc.) I explored and found Spring security SAML
extension [3] which fits perfectly and it too uses OpenSAML.

I also have a working proof-of-concept general implementation using the
above based on which I've put together a design document draft on this
feature for your review:

There are some complex stories/cases around security and user management
in CloudStack, some of which are listed under 'open ended questions' in
the draft above most of which I'm not sure how to address.

After first round of discussion, I'll go ahead with a basic
implementation of this feature. The second phase will address broader
use cases.

Comments, questions, suggestions?


[4] John Burwell's talk on SSO in CloudStack:

Rohit Yadav
Software Architect, ShapeBlue
M. +91 88 262 30892 |
Blog: | Twitter: @_bhaisaab

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