Bootstrapping Identity

After keystone is deployed and configured, it must be pre-populated with some initial data before it can be used. This process is known as bootstrapping and it typically involves creating the system’s first user, project, domain, service, and endpoint, among other things. The goal of bootstrapping is to put enough information into the system such that it can function solely through the API using normal authentication flows. After the first user is created, which must be an administrator, you can use that account to interact with keystone via the API.

Keystone provides two separate ways to bootstrap a deployment. The first is with the keystone-manage bootstrap command. This is the preferred and recommended way to bootstrap new installations. The second, and original way of bootstrapping involves configuring a secret and deploying special middleware in front of the identity service. The secret is known as the ADMIN_TOKEN. Any requests made to the identity API with the ADMIN_TOKEN will completely bypass authentication allowing access to the entire API.

Using the CLI

The process requires access to an environment with keystone binaries installed, typically on the service host.

The keystone-manage bootstrap command will create a user, project and role, and will assign the newly created role to the newly created user on the newly created project. By default, the names of these new resources will be called admin.

The defaults may be overridden by calling --bootstrap-username, --bootstrap-project-name and --bootstrap-role-name. Each of these have an environment variable equivalent: OS_BOOTSTRAP_USERNAME, OS_BOOTSTRAP_PROJECT_NAME and OS_BOOTSTRAP_ROLE_NAME.

A user password must also be supplied. This can be passed in as either --bootstrap-password, or set as an environment variable using OS_BOOTSTRAP_PASSWORD.

Optionally, if specified by --bootstrap-public-url, --bootstrap-admin-url and/or --bootstrap-internal-url or the equivalent environment variables, the command will create an identity service with the specified endpoint information. You may also configure the --bootstrap-region-id and --bootstrap-service-name for the endpoints to your deployment’s requirements.


We strongly recommend that you configure the identity service and its endpoints while bootstrapping keystone.

Minimally, keystone can be bootstrapped with:

$ keystone-manage bootstrap --bootstrap-password s3cr3t

Verbosely, keystone can be bootstrapped with:

$ keystone-manage bootstrap \
    --bootstrap-password s3cr3t \
    --bootstrap-username admin \
    --bootstrap-project-name admin \
    --bootstrap-role-name admin \
    --bootstrap-service-name keystone \
    --bootstrap-region-id RegionOne \
    --bootstrap-admin-url http://localhost:5000 \
    --bootstrap-public-url http://localhost:5000 \
    --bootstrap-internal-url http://localhost:5000

This will create an admin user with the admin role on the admin project and the system. This allows the user to generate project-scoped and system-scoped tokens which ensures they have full RBAC authorization. The user will have the password specified in the command. Note that both the user and the project will be created in the default domain. By not creating an endpoint in the catalog users will need to provide endpoint overrides to perform additional identity operations.

This command will also create member and reader roles. The admin role implies the member role and member role implies the reader role. By default, these three roles are immutable, meaning they are created with the immutable resource option and cannot be modified or deleted unless the option is removed. To disable this behavior, add the --no-immutable-roles flag.

By creating an admin user and an identity endpoint you may authenticate to keystone and perform identity operations like creating additional services and endpoints using the admin user. This will preclude the need to ever use or configure the admin_token (described below). It is also, by design, more secure.

To test a proper configuration, a user can use OpenStackClient CLI:

$ openstack project list --os-username admin --os-project-name admin \
    --os-user-domain-id default --os-project-domain-id default \
    --os-identity-api-version 3 --os-auth-url http://localhost:5000 \
    --os-password s3cr3t

Using a shared secret


We strongly recommended that you configure the identity service with the keystone-manage bootstrap command and not the ADMIN_TOKEN. The ADMIN_TOKEN can leave your deployment vulnerable by exposing administrator functionality through the API based solely on a single secret. You shouldn’t have to use ADMIN_TOKEN at all, unless you have some special case bootstrapping requirements.

Before you can use the identity API, you need to configure keystone with a shared secret. Requests made with this secret will bypass authentication and grant administrative access to the identity API. The following configuration snippet shows the shared secret as being ADMIN:

admin_token = ADMIN

You can use the shared secret, or admin_token, to make API request to keystone that bootstrap the rest of the deployment. You must create a project, user, and role in order to use normal user authentication through the API.

The admin_token does not represent a user or explicit authorization of any kind. After bootstrapping, failure to remove this functionality exposes an additional attack vector and security risk.