Use service token for long running tasks

Make use of new Keystone feature where if service token is sent along with the user token, then it will ignore the expiration of user token. It prevents issues with user tokens expiring during long running operations, such as live-migration.

Problem description

Some operations in Nova could take a long time to complete. During this time user token associated with this request could expire. When Nova tries to communicate with Cinder, Glance or Neutron using the same user token, Keystone fails to validate the request due to expired token. Refer to Bug 1571722.

Use Cases

Most failure cases are observed during live migration case, but are not limited to that:

  • User kicks off block live migration. Depending upon the volume size it could take long time to move this volume to new instance and user token will expire. When Nova calls Cinder to update the information of this volume by passing a user token, the request will be failed by Keystone due to expired token.

  • User kicks off live migration. Sometimes libvirt could take a while to move that VM to new host depending upon the size and network bandwidth. User token can expire and any subsequent call to Neutron to update port binding will be failed by Keystone.

  • User start snapshot operation in Nova. User token expires during this operation. Nova call Glance to update final bits and that request is failed by Keystone due to expired user token.

Note: Periodic tasks and the user of admin tokens will not be discussed in the this spec. That will be in a follow on spec.

Proposed change

Keystone/auth_token middleware now support that if a expired token is submitted to it along with an “X-Service-Token” with a service role, it will validate that token and ignore the expiration on the user token. Nova needs to use this functionality to avoid failures in long running operations like live migration.

Keystone details can be found here:

  • Pass service token to Cinder.

  • Pass service token to Neutron, but only for non-admin cases.

  • Pass service token to Glance

Note: Defer passing service tokens to other services until required.

OpenStack services only communicate with each other over the public REST APIs. While making service to service requests, Keystone auth_token middleware provides a way to add both the user and service token to the requests using a service token wrapper.

Addition of service token for service to service communication is configurable. There will be a new configuration group called “service_user” that is registered using register_auth_conf_options from keystoneauth1.

A configuration option send_service_user_token which defaults to False can be used to validate request with service token for interservice communication.

Service to service communication will now include a service token which is validated separately by keystoneauth1. At this time, keystone does not support mutiple token validation. So, this will be another validation request which will result in additional API calls to keystone. Rally benchmark tests will be ran with and without the “service_user” config options set to compare the results for long running tasks like snapshot or live migration.


  • One alternative is to set longer expiration on user tokens so they don’t expire for long running operations. But most of the times, short-lived tokens are preferred as keystone provides bearer tokens which are security wise very weak. Short expiration period limits the time an attacker can misuse a stolen token.

  • Or we can have same implementation as proposed above with a separate service token for each service. This will not expose access to all service if one of the token gets compromised.

  • In future, service token request validation can be made cacheable within neutron, cinder or glance clients to reduce extra API calls to keystone.

Data model impact


REST API impact


Security impact

Service token will be passed along with user token when communicating with Cinder and Neutron in case of live migration.

Notifications impact


Other end user impact


Performance Impact

  • There will be extra API calls to keystone to generate the service token for every request we send to external services.

  • The external services keystone auth middlewere also now needs to validate both user and service tokens, creating yet more keystone load.

Other deployer impact

  • Keystone middleware upgrading required on the services we sent the tokens to if we want to make use of service token validation.

  • The deployer needs to know about the new configuration values added. It should be documented in the upgrade section.

Developer impact

Cross service communication using service tokens should be understood by all services. Need to document use of service tokens in developer docs so others know whats going on.



Primary assignee:

Sarafraj Singh (raj_singh)

Other contributors:

Pushkar Umaranikar (pumaranikar) OSIC team

Work Items

  • Pass service token to Cinder (Implemented in Ocata).

  • Pass service token to Neutron, but only for non-admin cases (Implemented in Ocata).

  • Pass service token to Glance.

  • Depends on the DevStack change to create service users and config updates.

  • Enable service token in gate-tempest-dsvm-neutron-placement-full-ubuntu-xenial-nv job.



  • Existing functional tests will cover this new flow.

  • Test service to service communication with and without service token validation.

Documentation Impact

  • Updating developer doc

  • updating admin guide to configure and use service user group.


Keystone spec:



Release Name