Sovereign Cloud Stack

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Progress: OpenStack API access with OpenID Connect in Sovereign Cloud Stack

Arvid Requate 19. Oktober 2023

As reported in a previous blog article about the plans regarding OpenID Connect federation that came up from the SCS hackathon in Cologne, the IAM part of the SCS project decided to work on adding support for the OAuth 2.0 Device Authorization Grant to OpenStack Keystone.

Now we can report on progress on that topic: In March our proposal for a new auth plugin v3oidcdeviceauthz got accepted by the upstream OpenStack team and based on feedback we finished an additional iteration of improvement in May.

During the SCS Hackathon in Nuremberg we worked on security of the authorization flow between Keystone (or rather mod_auth_openidc) and Keycloak as IdP and decided that we would like to use the “Authorization Code Flow with PKCE]( rather than the deprecated Implicit Grant flow, which was used by default in the upstream kolla-ansible templates. But after putting that in place in the testbed repo we found that this caused a regression when using the “OAuth 2.0 Device Authorization Grant” flow in openstack CLI.

After some research on the net it became apparent that the PKCE extension to the regular Authorization Code Grant flow is generally compatible with the Device Autheorization Grant, yet very few vendors have implemented the combination. While we could have worked around the issue by using different OIDC client configurations for openstack CLI and Keystone, we decided to give it try and add the PKCE functionality to the v3oidcdeviceauthz auth plugin in Keystone. Delayed somewhat by reviewer vacations the patch got accepted mid-August.

This feels like some path nicely finished and also helped us to improve the working relationship with the upstream OpenStack Keystone team. While we still work on some challenges with regards to mapping customer realms to the OpenStack domain concept, we started documenting our current concept of identity federation in SCS. This path is part of a larger journey and shows how we work starting on PoCs in the OSISM testbed and then continue to work on upstreaming upcoming improvements towards OpenStack. This time it was code, but we also proposed improvements to upstream documentationm where we feel like we wasted time by barking up the wrong tree. The SCS project is a great opportinity to openly exchange experience with OpenStack and other components and to extract best practice recommendations for the users of SCS. When it comes down to access control, it’s vitally important not to blindly follow upstream howtos, but to test what implications the proposed configuration has and if it is still best practice today before implementing it as part of the project.

One example of this kind is the case of Horizon logout: During an SCS presentation we discovered that hitting logout in OpenStack Horizon fooled you to believe that you where actually logged out. But with federated login we found that you would be logged in again immediately without entering your password as the Keycloak session did not get terminated and so the OpenID Connect token was still valid. After some experimentation and research we found that this problem was well know to OpenStack developers to such an extent that there was a blog article explaining how to address that. In the weekly SIG IAM meeting we discussed this and a colleague from Wavestack explained that they found an even better solution. This has been merged into the testbed some weeks ago and we will continue with making that fix part of the bigger move to ship our configuration for identity federation as part of the OSISM Cookiecutter repository to make it easily available to productive deployments of SCS.

Editorial note/Changelog 2023-10-27: While most of this was written before Sep 5 and thus originally had a planned publication date of Sep 5, it was only ultimately approved and published on Oct 19. We have now changed the publication date to reflect that and no longer claim Sep 5.

Über den Autor

Arvid Requate
SCS IAM Team Lead @ Univention GmbH
Arvid is an open source developer working on topics of identity and access management for Univention and currently for the Sovereign Cloud Stack in particular. Theoretical physicist by education he converted from administration of a Unix based University faculty to helping develop, debug and maintain an enterprise Linux distribution for identity management that builds bridges between the open and the closed source world thanks to open standards. Now helping to get aspects of IAM addressed and integrated into the Sovereign Cloud Stack.