Keystone tokens

Keystone tokens

Tokens are used to authenticate and authorize your interactions with the various OpenStack APIs. Tokens come in many flavors, representing various authorization scopes and sources of identity. There are also several different “token providers”, each with their own user experience, performance, and deployment characteristics.

Authorization scopes

Tokens can express your authorization in different scopes. You likely have different sets of roles, in different projects, and in different domains. While tokens always express your identity, they may only ever express one set of roles in one authorization scope at a time.

Each level of authorization scope is useful for certain types of operations in certain OpenStack services, and are not interchangeable.

Unscoped tokens

An unscoped token contains neither a service catalog, any roles, a project scope, nor a domain scope. Their primary use case is simply to prove your identity to keystone at a later time (usually to generate scoped tokens), without repeatedly presenting your original credentials.

The following conditions must be met to receive an unscoped token:

  • You must not specify an authorization scope in your authentication request (for example, on the command line with arguments such as --os-project-name or --os-domain-id),
  • Your identity must not have a “default project” associated with it that you also have role assignments, and thus authorization, upon.

Project-scoped tokens

Project-scoped tokens are the bread and butter of OpenStack. They express your authorization to operate in a specific tenancy of the cloud and are useful to authenticate yourself when working with most other services.

They contain a service catalog, a set of roles, and details of the project upon which you have authorization.

Domain-scoped tokens

Domain-scoped tokens also have limited use cases in OpenStack. They express your authorization to operate a domain-level, above that of the user and projects contained therein (typically as a domain-level administrator). Depending on Keystone’s configuration, they are useful for working with a single domain in Keystone.

They contain a limited service catalog (only those services which do not explicitly require per-project endpoints), a set of roles, and details of the project upon which you have authorization.

They can also be used to work with domain-level concerns in other services, such as to configure domain-wide quotas that apply to all users or projects in a specific domain.

Token providers

The token type issued by keystone is configurable through the /etc/keystone/keystone.conf file. Currently, there are two supported token types, UUID and fernet.

UUID tokens

UUID was the first token type supported and is currently the default token provider. UUID tokens are 32 bytes in length and must be persisted in a back end. Clients must pass their UUID token to the Identity service in order to validate it.

As mentioned above, UUID tokens must be persisted. By default, keystone persists UUID tokens using a SQL backend. An unfortunate side-effect is that the size of the database will grow over time regardless of the token’s expiration time. Expired UUID tokens can be pruned from the backend using keystone’s command line utility:

$ keystone-manage token_flush

We recommend invoking this command periodically using cron.

Note

It is not required to run this command at all if using Fernet tokens. Fernet tokens are not persisted and do not contribute to database bloat.

Fernet tokens

The fernet token format was introduced in the OpenStack Kilo release. Unlike the other token types mentioned in this document, fernet tokens do not need to be persisted in a back end. AES256 encryption is used to protect the information stored in the token and integrity is verified with a SHA256 HMAC signature. Only the Identity service should have access to the keys used to encrypt and decrypt fernet tokens. Like UUID tokens, fernet tokens must be passed back to the Identity service in order to validate them. For more information on the fernet token type, see the Fernet - Frequently Asked Questions.

Summary

Feature Status Fernet tokens UUID tokens
Create unscoped token mandatory
Create project-scoped token mandatory
Create domain-scoped token optional
Create trust-scoped token optional
Create a token given an OAuth access token optional
Create a token with a bind attribute optional
Revoke a token optional
Online validation mandatory
Offline validation optional
Non-persistent optional

Details

  • Create unscoped token

    Status: mandatory. All token providers must be capable of issuing tokens without an explicit scope of authorization.

    CLI commands:

    • openstack --os-username=<username> --os-user-domain-name=<domain> --os-password=<password> token issue

    drivers:

    • Fernet tokens: complete
    • UUID tokens: complete

  • Create project-scoped token

    Status: mandatory. All token providers must be capable of issuing project-scoped tokens.

    CLI commands:

    • openstack --os-username=<username> --os-user-domain-name=<domain> --os-password=<password> --os-project-name=<project> --os-project-domain-name=<domain> token issue

    drivers:

    • Fernet tokens: complete
    • UUID tokens: complete

  • Create domain-scoped token

    Status: optional. Domain-scoped tokens are not required for all use cases, and for some use cases, projects can be used instead.

    CLI commands:

    • openstack --os-username=<username> --os-user-domain-name=<domain> --os-password=<password> --os-domain-name=<domain> token issue

    drivers:

    • Fernet tokens: complete
    • UUID tokens: complete

  • Create trust-scoped token

    Status: optional. Tokens scoped to a trust convey only the user impersonation and project-based authorization attributes included in the delegation.

    CLI commands:

    • openstack --os-username=<username> --os-user-domain-name=<domain> --os-password=<password> --os-trust-id=<trust> token issue

    drivers:

    • Fernet tokens: complete
    • UUID tokens: complete

  • Create a token given an OAuth access token

    Status: optional. OAuth access tokens can be exchanged for keystone tokens.

    drivers:

    • Fernet tokens: complete
    • UUID tokens: complete

  • Create a token with a bind attribute

    Status: optional. Tokens can express a binding to an additional authentication method, such as kerberos or x509.

    drivers:

    • Fernet tokens: missing
    • UUID tokens: complete

  • Revoke a token

    Status: optional. Tokens may be individually revoked, such as when a user logs out of Horizon. Under certain circumstances, it’s acceptable for more than just a single token may be revoked as a result of this operation (such as when the revoked token was previously used to create additional tokens).

    CLI commands:

    • openstack token revoke

    drivers:

    • Fernet tokens: complete
    • UUID tokens: complete

  • Online validation

    Status: mandatory. Keystone must be able to validate the tokens that it issues when presented with a token that it previously issued.

    drivers:

    • Fernet tokens: complete
    • UUID tokens: complete

  • Offline validation

    Status: optional. Services using Keystone for authentication may want to validate tokens themselves, rather than calling back to keystone, in order to improve performance and scalability.

    drivers:

    • Fernet tokens: missing
    • UUID tokens: missing

  • Non-persistent

    Status: optional. If a token format does not require persistence (such as to a SQL backend), then there is no scalability limit to the number of tokens that keystone can issue at once, and there is no need to perform clean up operations such as `keystone-manage token_flush`.

    drivers:

    • Fernet tokens: complete
    • UUID tokens: missing

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