Configure authentication using SAML

How to configure authentication using SAML in Cloudera Manager..

Cloudera Manager supports the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), an XML-based open standard data format for exchanging authentication and authorization data between parties, in particular, between an identity provider (IDP) and a service provider (SP). The SAML specification defines three roles: the principal (typically a user), the IDP, and the SP. In the use case addressed by SAML, the principal (user agent) requests a service from the service provider. The service provider requests and obtains an identity assertion from the IDP. On the basis of this assertion, the SP can make an access control decision—in other words it can decide whether to perform some service for the connected principal.

The primary SAML use case is called web browser single sign-on (SSO). A user wielding a user agent (usually a web browser) requests a web resource protected by a SAML SP. The SP, wanting to know the identity of the requesting user, issues an authentication request to a SAML IDP through the user agent. In the context of this terminology, Cloudera Manager operates as a SP. This topic discusses the Cloudera Manager part of the configuration process; it assumes that you are familiar with SAML and SAML configuration in a general sense, and that you have a functioning IDP already deployed.

Prepare Files

You will need to prepare the following files and information, and provide these to Cloudera Manager:
  • A Java keystore containing a private key for Cloudera Manager to use to sign/encrypt SAML messages. For guidance on creating Java keystores, see Understanding Keystores and Truststores.
  • The SAML metadata XML file from your IDP. This file must contain the public certificates needed to verify the sign/encrypt key used by your IDP per the SAML Metadata Interoperability Profile. For example, if you are using the Shibboleth IdP, the metadata file is available at: https://<IdPHOST>:8080/idp/shibboleth.
  • The entity ID that should be used to identify the Cloudera Manager instance
  • How the user ID is passed in the SAML authentication response:
    • As an attribute. If so, what identifier is used.
    • As the NameID.
  • The method by which the Cloudera Manager role will be established:
    • From an attribute in the authentication response:
      • What identifier will be used for the attribute
      • What values will be passed to indicate each role
    • From an external script that will be called for each use:
      • The script takes user ID as $1
      • The script sets an exit code to reflect successful authentication. Valid values for the exit codes are between 0 and 127. These values are used in Cloudera Manager to map authenticated users to user roles within Cloudera Manager.

Configure Cloudera Manager

  1. Log in to Cloudera Manager Admin Console.
  2. Select Administration > Settings.
  3. Select External Authentication for the Category filter to display the settings.
  4. Set the External Authentication Type property to SAML (the Authentication Backend Order property is ignored for SAML).
  5. Set the Path to SAML IDP Metadata File property to point to the IDP metadata file.
  6. Set the Path to SAML Keystore File property to point to the Java keystore prepared earlier.
  7. In the SAML Keystore Password property, set the keystore password.
  8. In the Alias of SAML Sign/Encrypt Private Key property, set the alias used to identify the private key for Cloudera Manager to use.
  9. In the SAML Sign/Encrypt Private Key Password property, set the private key password.
  10. Set the SAML Entity ID property if:
    • There is more than one Cloudera Manager instance being used with the same IDP (each instance needs a different entity ID).
    • Entity IDs are assigned by organizational policy.
  11. In the Source of User ID in SAML Response property, set whether the user ID will be obtained from an attribute or the NameID.
    If an attribute will be used, set the attribute name in the SAML attribute identifier for user ID property. The default value is the normal OID used for user IDs and so may not need to be changed.
  12. In the SAML Role assignment mechanism property, set whether the role assignment will be done from an attribute or an external script.
    • If an attribute will be used:
      • In the SAML attribute identifier for user role property, set the attribute name if necessary. The default value is the normal OID used for OrganizationalUnits and so may not need to be changed.
    • If an external script will be used, set the path to that script in the Path to SAML Role Assignment Script property. Make sure that the script is executable (an executable binary is fine - it does not need to be a shell script).
  13. Save the changes. Cloudera Manager will run a set of validations that ensure it can find the metadata XML and the keystore, and that the passwords are correct. If you see a validation error, correct the problem before proceeding.
  14. Restart the Cloudera Manager Server.

After you configure authentication for Cloudera Manager, configure authorization for the authenticated users. This is done by mapping the authenticated users to Cloudera Manager user roles. For more information, see Cloudera Manager User Roles.

Configuring the IDP

After the Cloudera Manager Server is restarted, it will attempt to redirect to the IDP login page instead of showing the normal CM page. This may or may not succeed, depending on how the IDP is configured. In either case, the IDP will need to be configured to recognize CM before authentication will actually succeed. The details of this process are specific to each IDP implementation - refer to your IDP documentation for details. If you are using the Shibboleth IdP, information on configuring the IdP to communicate with a Service Provider is available here.

  1. Download the Cloudera Manager’s SAML metadata XML file from http://hostname:7180/saml/metadata.
  2. Inspect the metadata file and ensure that any URLs contained in the file can be resolved by users’ web browsers. The IDP will redirect web browsers to these URLs at various points in the process. If the browser cannot resolve them, authentication will fail. If the URLs are incorrect, you can manually fix the XML file or set the Entity Base URL in the CM configuration to the right value, and then re-download the file.
  3. Provide this metadata file to your IDP using whatever mechanism your IDP provides.
  4. Ensure that the IDP has access to whatever public certificates are necessary to validate the private key that was provided to Cloudera Manager earlier.
  5. Ensure that the IDP is configured to provide the User ID and Role using the attribute names that Cloudera Manager was configured to expect, if relevant.
  6. Ensure the changes to the IDP configuration have taken effect (a restart may be necessary).

Verifying Authentication and Authorization

  1. Return to the Cloudera Manager Admin Console and refresh the login page.
  2. Attempt to log in with credentials for a user that is entitled. The authentication should complete and you should see the Home > Status tab.
  3. If authentication fails, you will see an IDP provided error message. Cloudera Manager is not involved in this part of the process, and you must ensure the IDP is working correctly to complete the authentication.
  4. If authentication succeeds but the user is not authorized to use Cloudera Manager, they will be taken to an error page by Cloudera Manager that explains the situation. If an user who should be authorized sees this error, then you will need to verify their role configuration, and ensure that it is being properly communicated to Cloudera Manager, whether by attribute or external script. The Cloudera Manager log will provide details on failures to establish a user’s role. If any errors occur during role mapping, Cloudera Manager will assume the user is unauthorized.