Nova provides remote console with password authentication

The feature aims at providing a safer remote console with password authentication. End users can set console password for their instances. Any user trying to access the password-encrypted console of instance will get a locked window from web console prompting for password input, and this provides almost the same experience as using VNC clients (e.g vncviewer) to access vnc servers that require password authentication.

Problem description

There is only a token authentication against nova novncproxy, with the token parameter appended to the request access_url. While this is convenient, anyone who (e.g. A cloud administrator with too much curiosity about tenants’ business) gets the access_url info will have access to operating the instance by the web console directly, which is not safe.

Now an implementation for remote console with password authentication will prevent malicious users from using the instance when failing to pass password authentication, even if they had got the access_url.

Use Cases

The end user can set a remote console password to avoid the console access url stolen by other user. And end user can reset console password when he forgets.

Proposed change

  • A new microversion will be provided in the nova API (nova get-*-console subcommand) and OSC will need to provide a specific version for reseting remote console password.

  • The nova API will be extended to support console password when creating a remote console. There are two create console APIs. The first was only for the old nova-consoles services (XenAPI-only) and was removed in Ussuri release [1]. The second, which is we will changes to support console password, is still valid [2]. And the server actions for the other console [3], the console output server action still need to be protected, and the deprecated action also need to be blocked when the instance has a password set.

  • Changes will be proposed to nova-compute and virt driver to handle Reset Remote Console Password request. And this’s only implement for libvirt driver. For other virt drivers, NotImplement will raise.

  • Changes will be proposed to nova-novncproxy: auth schemes(e.g:rfb.VNC) will be added. For the fact that project noVNC has already provided native support for password authentication(RFB version negotiation, handshakes and password authentication), so rfb.VNC can escape from these jobs.


New booting parameter console_password will be added to launch instances. And the password will be used to assemble graphics tag in libvirt XML. In this way, password-encrypted remote console will be implemented. The shortcoming of this implement is that no API provided to reset console password after instance is booted.

Data model impact


REST API impact

New microversion will be added to provide extra password parameter for the Create Remote Console API.

URL: /servers/{server_id}/remote-consoles

  • Request method: POST(update password for remote console) Add password param to the request body

  • Update the Create-Remote-Console API:

       "remote_console": {
           "protocol": "vnc",
           "type": "novnc",
           "password": "newpass"

    The password is in common password format (not more than 8 characters, see vnc security). The password parameter is optional:

    • If password is present, console password will be updated while getting new access_url.

    • Only vnc and spice console protocols/types support reseting password. If both password and (protocol, type) are provided, and protocol/type not in support list HttpBadRequest 400 will be returned.

    • And for unsupported virt driver, HttpBadRequest 400 will be returned.

Security impact

Surely it will make web console safer. And note that console password will only be securely kept by libvirtd and won’t be displayed in the result of virsh dumpxml <Instance UUID> or definition XMLs managed by libvirt /qemu in local filesystem except. Briefly speaking, no potential security risks will be introduced.

If we hard reboot the instance, it will be recreate XML when is booting, and the old console will be disconnect. If you want to open the instance’s console again, you can reset the password and open a new console.

Notifications impact


Other end user impact

It does have impacts on end users:

  • Web GUI benefiting this feature allow end users to set/reset console passwords for their instances.

  • When end users access password-encryted console of instances via Web GUI, input for console password will be prompted from web console.

  • New get-*-console CLIs may look like this(using nova command):

    $ nova get-vnc-console --vnc-password='newpasswd' <VM UUID> ...
    $ nova get-spice-console --vnc-password='newpasswd' <VM UUID> ...

Performance Impact


Other deployer impact

New option vnc is added to auth_schemes list in vnc segment in nova.conf. This allows nova-novncproxy to detect and load rfb.VNC auth scheme.

auth_schemes = none,vnc,vencrypt

Developer impact


Upgrade impact

We should bump service object version and rpc version for the ‘get_*_console’ rpc call. Then only when the cluster fully upgrade to Wallaby release, the call can be success. otherwise return HttpBadRequest 400 for the request.



Primary assignee:


Other contributors:


Feature Liaison

Feature liaison:


Work Items

  • python-novaclient(and openstackclient as well): new --password option will be added to get-*-console commands and some codes processing this value shall be added.

  • nova-api: some codes to judge whether to call legacy get-*-console API or to call remote compute service to reset remote console password.

  • nova-compute: some codes to handle the request to reset console password: reassemble graphics tag with password and update it to libvirt XML.

  • nova-novncproxy: some codes to implement rfb auth schemes, security type negotiation (in current version, novncproxy tells tenant_sock to use hardcoded vnc.AuthType.NONE when serving as mediator between client and vnc server, though noVNC client provides native support for vnc.AuthType.VNC with password security handshake handle) and security handshake (no-ops, leave noVNC/websockify to do the stuff).




Add related unit test

Documentation Impact

  • Operation Guide needs some updates, in #User-Facing Operations# section.The nova get-*-console (or equivalent with openstack CLI) provides --vnc-password option to user to reset console console password.

  • API Guides needs no updates. However, some texts should be posted to notify developers about how to benefit from this feature.

  • Configuration Reference & Deployment Guides need some updates. A change in nova.conf to enable rfb.VNC auth scheme is added (nova -novncproxy cares).




Release Name