Keystone Policy Support

Keystone and oslo.policy have support for restricting access based on information about the user authenticating, allowing partial access to be granted as configured by operators. This spec lays out how this support will be implemented in ironic.

Problem description

Ironic has traditionally operated on an “all-or-nothing” access system, only restricting access to passwords. This model is significantly limited when multiple people and groups with different trust levels want to interact with ironic. For example, a hardware technician may need access to set or unset maintenance on the node, but should not have access to provision nodes.

Proposed change

  • Ensure proper metadata, such as role, is derived from the auth_token when authenticating by properly implementing KeystoneMiddleware.auth_token support.

  • Define policy rules for each RESTful action on each API endpoint, scoped to the ‘baremetal’ namespace.

  • Configure each API endpoint to verify a user is permitted by policy to access it.

  • Implement specific restrictions for sensitive information, including configdrives and passwords. Default to hide all sensitive information.

  • Define sane default policies in code 0 , with shipped roles including an admin role with full access and an observer role with read-only access to non-secret information. Names for these roles will be determined during implementation. A sample policy.json 1 shall be generatable using oslopolicy-sample-generator.

  • Maintain compatibility with all roles in the previously-shipped policy.json configuration file.


A deployer could implement ironic behind a reverse proxy and use another authentication method to allow or disallow access based on path and HTTP method. This is onerous, does not follow the pattern set by other OpenStack services, and does not provide the granularity that properly implementing policy support would.

Data model impact


State Machine Impact

Users may be restricted by policy from moving nodes within the state machine. However, there are no direct state machine modifications.

REST API impact

A properly restricted user may receive a 403 error if they are unable to use the method/endpoint combination requested. However, the REST API will not be returning 403 in any case it could not today, for instance, an unauthorized user may receive 403 today. This simply increases the granularity available for configuring this authorization.

The 403 response body shall indicate which resource access was denied to.

Client (CLI) impact

A CLI client user will need to have a properly authorized user to perform any requested actions.

RPC API impact


Driver API impact

Drivers can now enforce policy within any driver_vendor_passthru methods as desired.

Nova driver impact

Existing deployments can continue to use a full-admin user as required prior to this feature. Once upgraded, a deployer could use a less-privileged user for nova-ironic interactions.

Ramdisk impact


Security impact

This change’s primary impact is around improving the security of the system. Deployers of ironic will no longer need to provide an admin credential to manipulate only a small part of ironic’s API.

Other end user impact


Scalability impact


Performance Impact

Policy support is a minimal increase in overhead. Additionally, most policies will be implemented early in the API layer, to prevent ironic from doing excessive work before a user is deemed unauthorized.

Other deployer impact

Deployers will now be able to configure policies, in the policy.json DSL 1 , to meet their specific needs.

Developer impact

Whenever a developer implements a new API method, they will be required to add a new policy rule to represent that API endpoint or method, define the default rule, enforce the policy appropriately, and update default policy as necessary.



Primary assignee:


Other contributors:


Work Items

  • Update devstack to configure users properly.

  • Change configuration of nova in devstack to use new baremetal_driver role.

  • Document how to utilize policy, including how to create users in keystone and assign them to the baremetal project.

  • Document any differences in how this impacts users of Keystone API v2 vs v3.




  • Grenade testing to ensure we do not break existing deployments.

  • Unit testing to ensure policies are being properly enforced.

Upgrades and Backwards Compatibility

Existing deployers are required to use an admin user for all uses of ironic, these users will continue to have full access to the ironic API, allowing for backwards compatibility.

On upgrade, an operator must define new keystone roles and assign these to users in order to take advantage of the new policy support. The names for these roles will be determined during implementation.

The operator may choose to customize the policy settings for their deployment.

Documentation Impact

  • Default policies will need to be documented.

  • Install guide will need to be updated with instructions on how to create users with proper roles and project membership.

  • Documentation must be written instructing users how to utilize the new policy functionality on upgrade.



Oslo Policy in Code


Policy JSON syntax