Make Cinder Consistent and Secure RBAC Ready

Revise Cinder’s policy definitions to support the community-wide Consistent and Secure RBAC effort.

Problem description

Cinder policies currently rely only on roles and don’t recognize scope, which was introduced into Keystone in Queens. As a result, implementing something like an administrator who can only perform nondestructive actions in Cinder is very complicated and error-prone. (See, for example, Policy configuration HowTo in the Cinder documentation.)

Using token scope and other Keystone Queens-era improvements such as role inheritance, it is possible to define policy rules that recognize a set of useful “personas”. If all OpenStack services define policy rules to support this (which is the “consistent” part), operators will not have to rewrite policies in an attempt to create such personas themselves, but can instead use tested default policies (which is the “secure” part).

Use Cases

Some examples:

  • An operator wants to have an administrator who can perform only nondestructive actions.

  • An operator wants to have different levels of end user in each project (for example, a “project administrator” who can do more in the project than just a “project member”).

Proposed change

Make changes to the cinder default policies so that the default configuration recognizes the keystone ‘reader’ role and treats it appropriately. This will entail rewriting all policies that don’t govern “Admin API” calls.

For Xena, we’ll implement three personas using project-scope only. What this means is that any cinder user must have a role on a project in order to pass policy checks. This is basically what we have now, except that we’ll distinguish the ‘member’ role on a project as distinct from a ‘reader’ role on a project.


What exactly “personas” are and what they can do relative to the Block Storage API are described in the Policy Personas and Permissions document.

Additionally, we’ll address the following issues:

  • New tests will need to be added, because previously we only needed to distinguish between a “cinder administrator” and an “end user”, whereas now we’ll have to make distinctions between a larger number of “personas” who can make API calls.

  • We currently have some unrestricted policies (that is, the check string is ""). Their checkstrings will be rewritten to something more specific and appropriate.

  • We currently have some single policies that govern create, read, update, and delete operations on cinder resources. These will need to be split up into finer-grained policies so that a user with only a ‘reader’ role can read a resource without modifying it.

See the “Implementation Strategy” outlined in the Policy Personas and Permissions for more details.


Do nothing. This is not really an option, however, because in order to keep backward compatibility with legacy policy configuration, it’s not possible for some projects to use scoping and others to ignore it. So if we don’t upgrade our policy definitions, we will block all OpenStack clouds from being able to use Consistent and Secure Policies.

Data model impact


REST API impact

The ability to make various Block Storage API calls is already governed by policies.

Security impact

Overall this should improve security by presenting operators a suitable set of “personas” that will function consistently across project that they can use out of the box instead of implementing their own.

Active/Active HA impact


Notifications impact


Other end user impact


Performance Impact

None, we already have to make calls out to keystone to validate tokens and retrieve user privileges.

Other deployer impact


Developer impact

None, other than doing the implementation work.



Primary assignee:

lbragstad rosmaita

Other contributors:

tosky enriquetaso abishop eharney geguileo whoami-rajat jobernar

Work Items


None, the required changes in Keystone and oslo.policy merged long ago.


  • We’ll need a flexible testing framework because we are going from 2 personas in Wallaby to 3 personas in Xena to 5 personas in Yoga, and we will need to be sure that the deprecated policy checkstrings continue to work appropriately until they are removed. Thus some kind of ddt-based approach where we have some base tests and run all the different kinds of users through them makes a lot of sense.

  • As a stretch goal, because of the complexity of the policy configuration, it would be good to have testing in the cinder-tempest-plugin so that each persona can be tested against a real Keystone instance. This would also allow using tempest for testing the consistency of the Secure and Consistent RBAC across openstack projects.

Documentation Impact

The primary documentation for Cinder will be:

We expect that there will be more general documentation for operators in the Keystone docs given the OpenStack-wide nature of this effort.


Summary of the general status of the effort at the time of the Xena PTG, including links to more information:

What the personas are and how they are intended to work in Cinder are described in