Configuring Keystone

Configuring Keystone

Setting up other OpenStack Services

Creating Service Users

To configure the OpenStack services with service users, we need to create a project for all the services, and then users for each of the services. We then assign those service users an admin role on the service project. This allows them to validate tokens - and to authenticate and authorize other user requests.

Create a project for the services, typically named service (however, the name can be whatever you choose):

$ openstack project create service

Create service users for nova, glance, swift, and neutron (or whatever subset is relevant to your deployment):

$ openstack user create nova --password Sekr3tPass --project service

Repeat this for each service you want to enable.

Create an administrative role for the service accounts, typically named admin (however the name can be whatever you choose). For adding the administrative role to the service accounts, you’ll need to know the name of the role you want to add. If you don’t have it handy, you can look it up quickly with:

$ openstack role list

Once you have it, grant the administrative role to the service users.

$ openstack role add admin --project service --user nova

Defining Services

Keystone also acts as a service catalog to let other OpenStack systems know where relevant API endpoints exist for OpenStack Services. The OpenStack Dashboard, in particular, uses this heavily - and this must be configured for the OpenStack Dashboard to properly function.

The endpoints for these services are defined in a template, an example of which is in the project as the file etc/default_catalog.templates.

Keystone supports two means of defining the services, one is the catalog template, as described above - in which case everything is detailed in that template.

The other is a SQL backend for the catalog service, in which case after Keystone is online, you need to add the services to the catalog:

$ openstack service create compute --name nova \
                                --description "Nova Compute Service"
$ openstack service create ec2 --name ec2 \
                               --description "EC2 Compatibility Layer"
$ openstack service create image --name glance \
                                  --description "Glance Image Service"
$ openstack service create identity --name keystone \
                                    --description "Keystone Identity Service"
$ openstack service create object-store --name swift \
                                 --description "Swift Service"

Identity sources

One of the most impactful decisions you’ll have to make when configuring keystone is deciding how you want keystone to source your identity data. Keystone supports several different choices that will substantially impact how you’ll configure, deploy, and interact with keystone.

You can also mix-and-match various sources of identity (see Domain-specific Drivers below for an example). For example, you can store OpenStack service users and their passwords in SQL, manage customers in LDAP, and authenticate employees via SAML federation.


Feature Status REMOTE_USER LDAP OAuth v1.0a OpenID Connect SAML v2 SQL
Local authentication optional
External authentication optional
Identity management optional
PCI-DSS controls optional
Auditing optional


  • Local authentication

    Status: optional. Authenticate with keystone by providing credentials directly to keystone.


    • OAuth v1.0a: complete
    • SAML v2: missing
    • SQL: complete
    • REMOTE_USER: missing
    • LDAP: complete
    • OpenID Connect: missing

  • External authentication

    Status: optional. Authenticate with keystone by providing credentials to an external system that keystone trusts (as with federation).


    • OAuth v1.0a: missing
    • SAML v2: complete
    • SQL: missing
    • REMOTE_USER: complete
    • LDAP: missing
    • OpenID Connect: complete

  • Identity management

    Status: optional. Create, update, enable/disable, and delete users via Keystone’s HTTP API.


    • OAuth v1.0a: complete
    • SAML v2: missing
    • SQL: complete
    • REMOTE_USER: missing
    • LDAP: partial
    • OpenID Connect: missing

  • PCI-DSS controls

    Status: optional. Configure keystone to enforce PCI-DSS compliant security controls.


    • OAuth v1.0a: missing
    • SAML v2: missing
    • SQL: complete
    • REMOTE_USER: partial
    • LDAP: partial
    • OpenID Connect: missing

  • Auditing

    Status: optional. Audit authentication flows using PyCADF.


    • OAuth v1.0a: missing
    • SAML v2: complete
    • SQL: complete
    • REMOTE_USER: missing
    • LDAP: complete
    • OpenID Connect: complete

Domain-specific Drivers

Keystone supports the option (disabled by default) to specify identity driver configurations on a domain by domain basis, allowing, for example, a specific domain to have its own LDAP or SQL server. This is configured by specifying the following options:

domain_specific_drivers_enabled = True
domain_config_dir = /etc/keystone/domains

Setting domain_specific_drivers_enabled to True will enable this feature, causing keystone to look in the domain_config_dir for config files of the form:


Options given in the domain specific configuration file will override those in the primary configuration file for the specified domain only. Domains without a specific configuration file will continue to use the options from the primary configuration file.

Keystone also supports the ability to store the domain-specific configuration options in the keystone SQL database, managed via the Identity API, as opposed to using domain-specific configuration files.

This capability (which is disabled by default) is enabled by specifying the following options in the main keystone configuration file:

domain_specific_drivers_enabled = true
domain_configurations_from_database = true

Once enabled, any existing domain-specific configuration files in the configuration directory will be ignored and only those domain-specific configuration options specified via the Identity API will be used.

Unlike the file-based method of specifying domain-specific configurations, options specified via the Identity API will become active without needing to restart the keystone server. For performance reasons, the current state of configuration options for a domain are cached in the keystone server, and in multi-process and multi-threaded keystone configurations, the new configuration options may not become active until the cache has timed out. The cache settings for domain config options can be adjusted in the general keystone configuration file (option cache_time in the domain_config group).


It is important to notice that when using either of these methods of specifying domain-specific configuration options, the main keystone configuration file is still maintained. Only those options that relate to the Identity driver for users and groups (i.e. specifying whether the driver for this domain is SQL or LDAP, and, if LDAP, the options that define that connection) are supported in a domain-specific manner. Further, when using the configuration options via the Identity API, the driver option must be set to an LDAP driver (attempting to set it to an SQL driver will generate an error when it is subsequently used).

For existing installations that already use file-based domain-specific configurations who wish to migrate to the SQL-based approach, the keystone-manage command can be used to upload all configuration files to the SQL database:

$ keystone-manage domain_config_upload --all

Once uploaded, these domain-configuration options will be visible via the Identity API as well as applied to the domain-specific drivers. It is also possible to upload individual domain-specific configuration files by specifying the domain name:

$ keystone-manage domain_config_upload --domain-name DOMAINA


It is important to notice that by enabling either of the domain-specific configuration methods, the operations of listing all users and listing all groups are not supported, those calls will need either a domain filter to be specified or usage of a domain scoped token.


Keystone does not support moving the contents of a domain (i.e. “its” users and groups) from one backend to another, nor group membership across backend boundaries.


When using the file-based domain-specific configuration method, to delete a domain that uses a domain specific backend, it’s necessary to first disable it, remove its specific configuration file (i.e. its corresponding keystone.<domain_name>.conf) and then restart the Identity server. When managing configuration options via the Identity API, the domain can simply be disabled and deleted via the Identity API; since any domain-specific configuration options will automatically be removed.


Although keystone supports multiple LDAP backends via the above domain-specific configuration methods, it currently only supports one SQL backend. This could be either the default driver or a single domain-specific backend, perhaps for storing service users in a predominantly LDAP installation.


Keystone has deprecated the keystone-manage domain_config_upload option. The keystone team recommends setting domain config options via the API instead.

Due to the need for user and group IDs to be unique across an OpenStack installation and for keystone to be able to deduce which domain and backend to use from just a user or group ID, it dynamically builds a persistent identity mapping table from a public ID to the actual domain, local ID (within that backend) and entity type. The public ID is automatically generated by keystone when it first encounters the entity. If the local ID of the entity is from a backend that does not guarantee to generate UUIDs, a hash algorithm will generate a public ID for that entity, which is what will be exposed by keystone.

The use of a hash will ensure that if the public ID needs to be regenerated then the same public ID will be created. This is useful if you are running multiple keystones and want to ensure the same ID would be generated whichever server you hit.

While keystone will dynamically maintain the identity mapping, including removing entries when entities are deleted via the keystone, for those entities in backends that are managed outside of keystone (e.g. a read-only LDAP), keystone will not know if entities have been deleted and hence will continue to carry stale identity mappings in its table. While benign, keystone provides an ability for operators to purge the mapping table of such stale entries using the keystone-manage command, for example:

$ keystone-manage mapping_purge --domain-name DOMAINA --local-id

A typical usage would be for an operator to obtain a list of those entries in an external backend that had been deleted out-of-band to keystone, and then call keystone-manage to purge those entries by specifying the domain and local-id. The type of the entity (i.e. user or group) may also be specified if this is needed to uniquely identify the mapping.

Since public IDs can be regenerated with the correct generator implementation, if the details of those entries that have been deleted are not available, then it is safe to simply bulk purge identity mappings periodically, for example:

$ keystone-manage mapping_purge --domain-name DOMAINA

will purge all the mappings for DOMAINA. The entire mapping table can be purged with the following command:

$ keystone-manage mapping_purge --all

Generating public IDs in the first run may take a while, and most probably first API requests to fetch user list will fail by timeout. To prevent this, mapping_populate command should be executed. It should be executed right after LDAP has been configured or after mapping_purge.

$ keystone-manage mapping_populate --domain DOMAINA

Public ID Generators

Keystone supports a customizable public ID generator and it is specified in the [identity_mapping] section of the configuration file. Keystone provides a sha256 generator as default, which produces regenerable public IDs. The generator algorithm for public IDs is a balance between key size (i.e. the length of the public ID), the probability of collision and, in some circumstances, the security of the public ID. The maximum length of public ID supported by keystone is 64 characters, and the default generator (sha256) uses this full capability. Since the public ID is what is exposed externally by keystone and potentially stored in external systems, some installations may wish to make use of other generator algorithms that have a different trade-off of attributes. A different generator can be installed by configuring the following property:


Changing the generator may cause all existing public IDs to be become invalid, so typically the generator selection should be considered immutable for a given installation.

Service Catalog

Keystone provides two configuration options for managing a service catalog.

SQL-based Service Catalog (sql.Catalog)

A dynamic database-backed driver fully supporting persistent configuration.

keystone.conf example:

driver = sql


A template_file does not need to be defined for the sql based catalog.

To build your service catalog using this driver, see the built-in help:

$ openstack --help
$ openstack service create --help
$ openstack endpoint create --help

File-based Service Catalog (templated.Catalog)

The templated catalog is an in-memory backend initialized from a read-only template_file. Choose this option only if you know that your service catalog will not change very much over time.


Attempting to change your service catalog against this driver will result in HTTP 501 Not Implemented errors. This is the expected behavior. If you want to use these commands, you must instead use the SQL-based Service Catalog driver.

keystone.conf example:

driver = templated
template_file = /opt/stack/keystone/etc/default_catalog.templates

The value of template_file is expected to be an absolute path to your service catalog configuration. An example template_file is included in keystone, however you should create your own to reflect your deployment.

Endpoint Filtering

Endpoint Filtering enables creation of ad-hoc catalogs for each project-scoped token request.

Configure the endpoint filter catalog driver in the [catalog] section. For example:

driver = catalog_sql

In the [endpoint_filter] section, set return_all_endpoints_if_no_filter to False to return an empty catalog if no associations are made. For example:

return_all_endpoints_if_no_filter = False

See API Specification for Endpoint Filtering for the details of API definition.

Endpoint Policy

The Endpoint Policy feature provides associations between service endpoints and policies that are already stored in the Identity server and referenced by a policy ID.

Configure the endpoint policy backend driver in the [endpoint_policy] section. For example:

driver = sql

See API Specification for Endpoint Policy for the details of API definition.


A secure deployment should have keystone running in a web server (such as Apache httpd), or behind an SSL terminator.

OAuth1 1.0a

The OAuth 1.0a feature provides the ability for Identity users to delegate roles to third party consumers via the OAuth 1.0a specification.

To enable OAuth1:

  1. Add the oauth1 driver to the [oauth1] section in keystone.conf. For example:
driver = sql
  1. Add the oauth1 authentication method to the [auth] section in keystone.conf:
methods = external,password,token,oauth1
  1. If deploying under Apache httpd with mod_wsgi, set the WSGIPassAuthorization to allow the OAuth Authorization headers to pass through mod_wsgi. For example, add the following to the keystone virtual host file:
WSGIPassAuthorization On

See API Specification for OAuth 1.0a for the details of API definition.

Token Binding

Token binding refers to the practice of embedding information from external authentication providers (like a company’s Kerberos server) inside the token such that a client may enforce that the token only be used in conjunction with that specified authentication. This is an additional security mechanism as it means that if a token is stolen it will not be usable without also providing the external authentication.

To activate token binding you must specify the types of authentication that token binding should be used for in keystone.conf e.g.:

bind = kerberos

Currently only kerberos is supported.

To enforce checking of token binding the enforce_token_bind parameter should be set to one of the following modes:

  • disabled disable token bind checking
  • permissive enable bind checking, if a token is bound to a mechanism that is unknown to the server then ignore it. This is the default.
  • strict enable bind checking, if a token is bound to a mechanism that is unknown to the server then this token should be rejected.
  • required enable bind checking and require that at least 1 bind mechanism is used for tokens.
  • named enable bind checking and require that the specified authentication mechanism is used. e.g.:
enforce_token_bind = kerberos

Do not set enforce_token_bind = named as there is not an authentication mechanism called named.

Limiting list return size

Keystone provides a method of setting a limit to the number of entities returned in a collection, which is useful to prevent overly long response times for list queries that have not specified a sufficiently narrow filter. This limit can be set globally by setting list_limit in the default section of keystone.conf, with no limit set by default. Individual driver sections may override this global value with a specific limit, for example:

list_limit = 100

If a response to list_{entity} call has been truncated, then the response status code will still be 200 (OK), but the truncated attribute in the collection will be set to true.

Health Check middleware

This health check middleware allows an operator to configure the endpoint URL that will provide information to a load balancer if the given API endpoint at the node should be available or not.

To enable the health check middleware, it must occur in the beginning of the application pipeline.

The health check middleware should be placed in your keystone-paste.ini in a section titled [filter:healthcheck]. It should look like this:

use = egg:oslo.middleware#healthcheck

Desired keystone application pipelines have been defined with this filter, looking like so:

pipeline = healthcheck cors sizelimit osprofiler url_normalize public_version_service

It’s important that the healthcheck go to the front of the pipeline for the most efficient checks.

For more information and configuration options for the middleware see oslo.middleware.

API protection with Role Based Access Control (RBAC)

Like most OpenStack projects, keystone supports the protection of its APIs by defining policy rules based on an RBAC approach. These are stored in a JSON policy file, the name and location of which is set in the main keystone configuration file.

Each keystone v3 API has a line in the policy file which dictates what level of protection is applied to it, where each line is of the form:

<api name>: <rule statement> or <match statement>


<rule statement> can contain <rule statement> or <match statement>

<match statement> is a set of identifiers that must match between the token provided by the caller of the API and the parameters or target entities of the API call in question. For example:

"identity:create_user": "role:admin and domain_id:%(user.domain_id)s"

Indicates that to create a user you must have the admin role in your token and in addition the domain_id in your token (which implies this must be a domain scoped token) must match the domain_id in the user object you are trying to create. In other words, you must have the admin role on the domain in which you are creating the user, and the token you are using must be scoped to that domain.

Each component of a match statement is of the form:

<attribute from token>:<constant> or <attribute related to API call>

The following attributes are available

  • Attributes from token: user_id, the domain_id or project_id depending on the scope, and the list of roles you have within that scope

  • Attributes related to API call: Any parameters that are passed into the API call are available, along with any filters specified in the query string. Attributes of objects passed can be referenced using an object.attribute syntax (e.g. user.domain_id). The target objects of an API are also available using a target.object.attribute syntax. For instance:

    "identity:delete_user": "role:admin and domain_id:%(target.user.domain_id)s"

    would ensure that the user object that is being deleted is in the same domain as the token provided.

Every target object (except token) has an id and a name available as target.<object>.id and target.<object>.name. Other attributes are retrieved from the database and vary between object types. Moreover, some database fields are filtered out (e.g. user passwords).

List of object attributes:

  • role:
    • target.role.domain_id
  • user:
    • target.user.default_project_id
    • target.user.description
    • target.user.domain_id
    • target.user.enabled
    • target.user.password_expires_at
  • group:
  • domain:
    • target.domain.description
    • target.domain.enabled
  • project:
    • target.project.description
    • target.project.domain_id
    • target.project.enabled
    • target.project.is_domain
    • target.project.parent_id
  • token
    • target.token.user_id

The default policy.json file supplied provides a somewhat basic example of API protection, and does not assume any particular use of domains. For multi-domain configuration installations where, for example, a cloud provider wishes to allow administration of the contents of a domain to be delegated, it is recommended that the supplied policy.v3cloudsample.json is used as a basis for creating a suitable production policy file. This example policy file also shows the use of an admin_domain to allow a cloud provider to enable cloud administrators to have wider access across the APIs.

A clean installation would need to perhaps start with the standard policy file, to allow creation of the admin_domain with the first users within it. The domain_id of the admin domain would then be obtained and could be pasted into a modified version of policy.v3cloudsample.json which could then be enabled as the main policy file.

Preparing your deployment

Step 1: Configure keystone.conf

Ensure that your keystone.conf is configured to use a SQL driver:

driver = sql

You may also want to configure your [database] settings to better reflect your environment:

connection = sqlite:///keystone.db
idle_timeout = 200


It is important that the database that you specify be different from the one containing your existing install.

Step 2: Sync your new, empty database

You should now be ready to initialize your new database without error, using:

$ keystone-manage db_sync

To test this, you should now be able to start keystone:

$ uwsgi --http --wsgi-file $(which keystone-wsgi-admin)

And use the OpenStack Client to list your projects (which should successfully return an empty list from your new database):

$ openstack --os-token ADMIN --os-url project list


We’re providing the default OS_TOKEN and OS_URL values from keystone.conf to connect to the keystone service. If you changed those values, or deployed keystone to a different endpoint, you will need to change the provided command accordingly.

Supported clients

There are two supported clients, python-keystoneclient project provides python bindings and python-openstackclient provides a command line interface.

Authenticating with a Password via CLI

To authenticate with keystone using a password and python-openstackclient, set the following flags, note that the following user referenced below should be granted the admin role.

  • --os-username OS_USERNAME: Name of your user
  • --os-password OS_PASSWORD: Password for your user
  • --os-project-name OS_PROJECT_NAME: Name of your project
  • --os-auth-url OS_AUTH_URL: URL of the keystone authentication server

You can also set these variables in your environment so that they do not need to be passed as arguments each time:

$ export OS_USERNAME=my_username
$ export OS_PASSWORD=my_password
$ export OS_PROJECT_NAME=my_project
$ export OS_AUTH_URL=http://localhost:35357/v3

For example, the commands user list, token issue and project create can be invoked as follows:

# Using password authentication, with environment variables
$ export OS_USERNAME=admin
$ export OS_PASSWORD=secret
$ export OS_PROJECT_NAME=admin
$ export OS_AUTH_URL=http://localhost:35357/v3
$ openstack user list
$ openstack project create demo
$ openstack token issue

# Using password authentication, with flags
$ openstack --os-username=admin --os-password=secret --os-project-name=admin --os-auth-url=http://localhost:35357/v3 user list
$ openstack --os-username=admin --os-password=secret --os-project-name=admin --os-auth-url=http://localhost:35357/v3 project create demo
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