Default Manager Role

bug #1951622

In Rocky, keystone added a default role hierarchy. This was part of a large initiative to improve RBAC across all OpenStack projects. Through the process of adopting the default roles implemented in Rocky, OpenStack developers and operators have acknowledged the need for another default role that sits in between admin and member.

This specification details the reason why we need another role in the hierarchy, how we can extend keystone-manage bootstrap to implement it cleanly, and how other OpenStack services can effectively use it.

Problem Description

Today, keystone-manage bootstrap provides three default roles, admin, member, and reader. These roles build a basic hierarchy, where admin implies member, and member implies reader. The rationale for this work is detailed in the original specification.

In the process of adopting system-scope and default roles across OpenStack projects, it’s clear we need another role in the hierarchy.

Based on Yoga PTG discussions about how we integrate default roles and system-scope across all OpenStack components, developers and operators decided that reserving the admin role for the highest level of authorization on a given scope is a good idea. This means that operators would never give their end users the admin role on a project. The highest level of authorization they would allow users to have would be the member role on a project.

This is fine for the majority of permissions an end user will need. For example, create and deleting instances, volumes, snapshots, and networks within a project. But, through the process of auditing OpenStack policies, we do see the benefit of exposing some permissions to end users, but not every project-member (e.g., anyone with the member role on a project.)

This is where we started to realize the need for another default role that sits in above member and is designed to be given to end users.

The following are good examples of things a project-manager (e.g., anyone with the manager role on a project) can do:

  • Locking and unlocking an instance

  • Sharing an image with other projects

  • Setting the default volume type for a project

  • Setting the default secret store for a project

Proposed Change

Expand the keystone-manage bootstrap utility to create a new role named manager. Conflicts should be handled gracefully, allowing an existing role with that name to take precedence. Existing roles shouldn’t be deleted and then recreated, so that we don’t break anything relying on the role ID.

Update the role implication so that the admin role implies manager and the manager role implies member. We should also update the role implications so that admin no longer implies member directly, since it’s indirectly implied through the manager role.

OpenStack services looking to expose functionality to the project-manager persona should write check strings as follows:



We could rely on deployment tooling to deploy this role at installation time. However, that still opens the door for inconsistencies across OpenStack installers.

Adding formal support in keystone-manage bootstrap is cleaner, more consistent, and integrates with existing deployment tools without additional action required.

Security Impact

This new role is not used by default across OpenStack policies, so it won’t carry any specific authorization until policies are updated to use it.

The only change operators will notice immediately is that they will have an additional role called manager in their tokens. Granting someone the manager role on a project won’t have any impact initially and those users will be limited to permissions accessible to project-members.

Notifications Impact


Other End User Impact

This work doesn’t require any client code since it’s done using keystone-manager.

Performance Impact

This is a trivial change to add another row to the roles table and putting one more role in the token response. Performance impact is negligible.

Other Deployer Impact

If operators or deployers have a utility that creates a manager role, then they can update that utility to remove that API call and they can rely on the functionality in keystone-manage bootstrap.

Additionally, if they have a use case for an authorization layer in between admin and member that we’re trying to address with manager, they should being those use cases to the upstream policy popup team meetings.

This will help developers understand which policies to consider applying the manager role to. It will also help operators converge their custom policy onto the manager role and reduce the amount of custom overrides they need in their deployment.

Developer Impact

Developers will have another role at their disposal for writing default policies. They should be use to understand the ramifications of the manager role and ensure they’re only using it with privileged end users in mind, at least initially.



Primary assignee:


Work Items

  • Update keystone-manage bootstrap to create a new role called manager

  • Update role implications so manager is in the role hierarchy

  • Add the corresponding manager personas (system-manager, domain-manager, project-manager) to the administrator guide

  • Add the manager role to the developer documentation

  • Add the manager role to any OpenStack-wide documentation describing the secure RBAC personas


This work is required to move forward on a set of community-wide goals to improve authorization in OpenStack.

Documentation Impact

Listed above in the Work Items section.


Referenced inline.