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From David Jencks <>
Subject Re: Question about Security (Credentials) for database connections(connector)
Date Wed, 10 Aug 2011 16:05:55 GMT
Hi Viola,

I haven't looked at the details in some time.... check anything I might say :-).
On Aug 10, 2011, at 1:47 AM, viola lu wrote:

> Hi, David:
>   1. If container-managed security is implemented, but how to configure it for connector?

I think at one time there was a unit test that had most of the setup in it.

>   2. Now one customer doesn't want to use same db id but different user credentials as
below, container-managed security can meet this requirement?
>   "Configure a geronimo Instance running in a windows domain with a db2 datasource, which
connects to the iseries using kerberos.
> In order for this to work with any kind of success, we believe we need to configure some
kind of connection reauthentication.  If geronimo
> does not invoke connection reauthentication, then any connection pool would quickly fill
up with connections per individual user.
> Ultimately this would negate any benefit of connection pooling. connection reauthentication
would allow geronimo to assert the
> current callers identity onto the running connection."
> "Our ultimate goal here is to configure End To End single signon from a 
> windows browser, through geronimo, and onto the System i.  Whereby    
> the clients identity is preserved throughout."
>  3. Based on the above requirement, datasource connects to iseries using kerberos, currently
tranql-ra/ra.xml, set authentication-mechanism as basicpassword, if datasource uses kerberos,
should we change authentication mechanism to Kerbv5 as below? 
> <authentication-mechanism>
>                 <description>Uses JDBC user/password authentication based on properties
supplied to connect</description>
>                 <authentication-mechanism-type>BasicPassword</authentication-mechanism-type>
>                 <credential-interface></credential-interface>
>             </authentication-mechanism>
> And <reauthentication-support>false</reauthentication-support> should change
to true support connection reauthentication. And in our geronimo-connector should handle this
connection reauthentication ? Also database pool in console should support these configuration?
> 4.From,
it provides a datastorehelper interface to end-users for db connection reauthentication function,
for example, db2
> end-user can implement its doConnectionPerTransation method by using db2 api: resetDB2Connection,
same way can be used in geronimo? I am not sure connection-reauthentication is necessary or
good way if different users filled up connection pool.

There are 2 additional issues here:

1. using kerberos rather than user-password.  I think there's some support in the j2ca spec
for this (GSSUP? GSS???), but not in the jdbc spec or tranql.  I think this would require
understanding how this is supposed to work with a test system and modifying the tranql wrapper
so it could deal with these credentials and send them to the db2 driver in the (non-jdbc-spec)
expected way.

2. implementing reauthentication.  Again, the j2ca spec talks about this but the jdbc spec
does not.  So we'd need to find out how db2 implements this and wrap that in an adapter between
the j2ca reauthentication and the db2 driver, inside the tranql wrapper.

In addition, we may need more/better kerberos login modules in geronimo, and possibly a "mapping"
login module to get from the original identity to the db identity.

As the customer says, without reauthentication the connections will pile up and the pool will
get full of unused connections.

I've thought about implementing this in the past, but without a working system to test and
an actual user it seemed impractical.  With a system to try it out on it might not be too

I am not sure we should expend the effort to make this configurable in the admin console until
we have more than one user who wants to use this feature :-)

david jencks

> On Wed, Aug 10, 2011 at 1:15 PM, David Jencks <> wrote:
> Hi Viola,
> The docs are correct and we implement everything it says we do.  However except in unusual
circumstances it doesn't make a lot of sense to use container managed security.  I think perhaps
you are getting confused by the name.  In any of these scenarios, the ManagedConnectionFactory
has to be consulted about the credentials, and presumably it will consult the actual resource
manager (e.g. database server).  The "container managed" is about where the credentials come
> Usually with a database you want all the connections as the same user.  In this case
you might as well configure the user and password as mcf properties and be done with it. 
This is sort of "unmanaged non-application" security.
> Application managed security means (for jdbc) that the application will call ds.getConnection(user,pw).
> Container managed security means that the container will take the users identity (and
possibly credentials) and somehow derive the credentials needed by the mcf/database from it.
 For instance you could use the users name and pw to log into the db, or you could use some
role they are in to derive the user name/pw (e.g. each role gets a different database user),
or you could come up with some other scheme.  However, usually people don't want to do this,
they just want everyone to have the same db id, so it doesn't make a lot of sense to set up
a mapping that maps everyone to the same credentials.
> Is this clearer?
> I implemented the inbound security stuff so we should consider updating the docs for
3.0.  Perhaps the excerpt below can be made clearer so people other than me can understand
it :-\
> thanks
> david jencks
> On Aug 9, 2011, at 9:47 PM, viola lu wrote:
>> Hi, Dev:
>>  From geronimo 2.1 doc:
>> Security (Credentials)
>> In the J2CA 1.5 spec security considerations are confined to providing the credentials
for outbound connections. There is no provision for credential inflow for inbound messaging.
This hole is being addressed in the next spec revision.
>> There are three possible sources for credentials for outbound connections:
>> ManagedConnectionFactory configuration. Most ManagedConnectionFactory implementations
include user and password config-properties. In the absence of other credentials these are
used to authenticate to the resource manager. The values of these properties are generally
difficult to conceal securely as they are in some geronimo configuration files on disk and
need to be accessible to geronimo in order to create connections. However, this is by far
the most frequently used option. This will result in all work in your e.g. database being
done by the same user, which basically represents the identity of the geronimo server.
>> Application managed security. Many connection factories such as DataSource provide
a way to request connections with a particular security context, such as dataSource.getConnection(user,
password). This requires your app to have detailed knowledge of the credentials needed which
is rarely appropriate.
>> Container managed security. With this scheme you deploy a LoginModule specific to
the connector you are using that installs suitable credentials into the Subject on login.
When a connection is requested these credentials are extracted from the Subject and used in
obtaining the connection. A wide variety of schemes can be used here including
>> Fixed credentials. Every subject gets the same credentials. This has the same effect
as the default credentials scheme except that the credentials may be stored in an external
more secure location more easily.
>> User credentials. The credentials are the user and password of the user themselves.
In this case the work will be done in the resource manager (database) as the user themselves.
Unless the connector supports reauthentication (changing the user on an existing connection)
this will prevent effective connection pooling.
>> Mapped credentials. The credentials for the resource manager are determined from
the user identity. For instance the resource manager user could depend on the user being a
member of a particular enterprise role or group. In this case without reauthentication support
connection pooling should be set up so each resource manager user gets a separate pool.
>> Seems there is Container Managed Security function in security part of connector,
i  checked the code, currently, we all use ManagedConnectionFactory to do security authentication.
not container-managed security. So the feature of user credetials of container managed security.
And if we plan to implement this function, any suggestion of tech details of geronimo-connector
module change?
>> Appreciate your help!
>> -- 
>> viola
>> Apache Geronimo
> -- 
> viola
> Apache Geronimo

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