Federated Service Providers in Keystone

bp k2k-service-providers

This specification describes main steps required for reworking Keystone2Keystone federation shipped in Juno release to improve user experience and avoid breaking Keystone’s architecture.

Problem Description

Keystone2Keystone federation delivered in Juno is currently marked as experimental and happens to miss few important points. Remote services are marked as regions in the Service Catalog, however they cannot be accessed with a token issued by local Identity Service. Apart from that not all required URLs are specified, forcing client to know them apriori. Therefore there is a need for re-architecting few aspects:

  • regions should not be used for indicating remote service a client can burst into.

  • a client should be able to fetch all required information needed for bursting into remote clouds (for instance authURL as well as urls specific for a SAML2 authentication workflow.)

Proposed Change

Keystone should be enhanced with new set of objects called Service Provider (/v3/OS-FEDERATION/service_providers/) where a trusted Service Providers are being configured. Information stored within such object should include information like:

  • authURL - an url where client can get his token once he has authenticated via SAML2 federated protocol. Example: https://keystone.example.com:5000/v3/OS-FEDERATION/identity_providers/<idp>/protocols/<protocol>/auth.

  • a specific url - usually a dedicated url where assertions are being sent. Example: https://keystone.example.com:5000/Shibboleth.sso/POST.

Each Service Provider should be identified by a user specified system unique name, like already existing within Keystone ecosystem Identity Providers. Identity API should be enhanced with 5 new Service Provider operations:

  • Create

  • Delete

  • Get

  • List

  • Update

Apart from that, Service Catalog should be extended with a new entry - service_providers. Users willing to burst into remote clouds would query that entry in the Service Catalog. Optionally, proper filtering of the Service Providers on a per user basis could be added (e.g. userA can burst into cloud1 and cloud2 whereas userB can burst into cloud2 and cloud3. Those constraints should be reflected in the Service Catalog proposed for each of the users).

As Keystone2Keystone federation was marked as experimental in the Juno release, a script/procedure for migrating service providers configured as regions to a first class service provider objects will not be provided.


  • Keep using regions as remote endpoint where users can burst into, however this would presume users know apriori at least authURL of the remote services as well federated protocol to be used.

  • Accept SAML2 Service Provider Metadata file as an input required for creating Service Provider objects. This means the user would upload Service Provider Metadata as a request body while creating and updating information about Service Providers. From the deployer/admin perspective it is a significant easement, especially when lots of Service Providers are going to be configured (100s or more) - admin simply needs to upload auto-generated Metadata file, instead of making up URL-safe id for each Service Provider. This would however change the way how Service Provider objects would be identified. This could be UUID hexadecimal values generated by Keystone instead of user specified id values.For a better Service Provider management HTTP GET call should be enhanced with filters where URL-safe entityID would be specified, for instance GET /v3/OS-FEDERATION/service_providers?entityID=http%3A//sp.example.com/Shibboleth.sso/ADFS

Security Impact

Describe any potential security impact on the system. Some of the items to consider include:

  • Does this change touch sensitive data such as tokens, keys, or user data?

It changes a Service Catalog but changes the structure in an additive fashion, to not break existing consumers, not the set of data exposed.

  • Does this change alter the API in a way that may impact security, such as a new way to access sensitive information or a new way to login?


  • Does this change involve cryptography or hashing?


  • Does this change require the use of sudo or any elevated privileges?


  • Does this change involve using or parsing user-provided data? This could be directly at the API level or indirectly such as changes to a cache layer.


  • Can this change enable a resource exhaustion attack, such as allowing a single API interaction to consume significant server resources? Some examples of this include launching subprocesses for each connection, or entity expansion attacks in XML.


Notifications Impact

Please specify any changes to notifications. Be that an extra notification, changes to an existing notification, or removing a notification.


Other End User Impact

python-keystoneclient would need to be enhanced with operations for managing Service Provider objects, correctly interpret new structure of the Service Catalog , list all the remote clouds/services a user can burst into and reuse existing federated authentication plugins for the authentication process.

Performance Impact

No performance impact.

Other Deployer Impact

No additional config options, new features would be enabled only after the federation extension is enabled.

Developer Impact




Primary assignee:

  • Marek Denis <marek-denis>

  • Rodrigo Duarte <rodrigods>

Other contributors:


Work Items

  • Deprecate url attribute in v3 regions

  • Add Service Provider objects along with relevant APIs

  • Add service_providers object to the Service Catalog

  • Document implemented changes



Documentation Impact

All the changes must be documented: * New set of APIs * New structure of the Service Catalog


Etherpad site: https://etherpad.openstack.org/p/keystone2keystone