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Taikun OCP Guide

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Keystone tokens

Tokens are used to authenticate and authorize your interactions with
OpenStack APIs. Tokens come in many scopes, representing various
authorization and sources of identity.

Authorization scopes

Tokens are used to relay information about your role assignments.
It’s not uncommon for a user to have multiple role assignments,
sometimes spanning projects, domains, or the entire system. These are
referred to as authorization scopes, where a token has a single scope of
operation (e.g., a project, domain, or the system). For example, a token
scoped to a project can’t be reused to do something else in a different

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

Unscoped tokens

An unscoped token does not contain a service catalog, roles, or
authorization scope (e.g., project, domain, or system attributes within
the token). 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

  • 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

Projects are containers for resources, like volumes or instances.
Project-scoped tokens express your authorization to operate in a
specific tenancy of the cloud and are useful for things like spinning up
compute resources or carving off block storage. They contain a service
catalog, a set of roles, and information about the project.

Most end-users need role assignments on projects to consume resources
in a deployment.

Domain-scoped tokens

Domains are namespaces for projects, users, and groups. A
domain-scoped token expresses your authorization to operate on the
contents of a domain or the domain itself.

While some OpenStack services are still adopting the domain concept,
domains are fully supported in keystone. This means users with
authorization on a domain have the ability to manage things within the
domain. For example, a domain administrator can create new users and
projects within that domain.

Domain-scoped tokens contain a service catalog, roles, and
information about the domain.

People who need to manage users and projects typically need
domain-level access.

System-scoped tokens

Some OpenStack APIs fit nicely within the concept of projects (e.g.,
creating an instance) or domains (e.g., creating a new user), but there
are also APIs that affect the entire deployment system (e.g. modifying
endpoints, service management, or listing information about
hypervisors). These operations are typically reserved for operators and
require system-scoped tokens, which represents the role assignments a
user has to operate on the deployment as a whole. The term
system refers to the deployment system, which is a collection
of hardware (e.g., compute nodes) and services (e.g., nova, cinder,
neutron, barbican, keystone) that provide

System-scoped tokens contain a service catalog, roles, and
information about the system. System role assignments and
system-scoped tokens are typically reserved for operators and cloud

Token providers

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

Fernet tokens

The fernet token format was introduced in the OpenStack Kilo release
and now is the default token provider in Keystone. 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-token-faq.

A deployment might consider using the fernet provider as opposed to
JWS tokens if they are concerned about public expose of the payload used
to build tokens.

JWS tokens

The JSON Web Signature (JWS) token format is a type of JSON Web Token
(JWT) and it was implemented in the Stein release. JWS tokens are
signed, meaning the information used to build the token ID is not opaque
to users and can it can be decoded by anyone. JWS tokens are ephemeral,
or non-persistent, which means they won’t bloat the database or require
replication across nodes. Since the JWS token provider uses asymmetric
keys, the tokens are signed with private keys and validated with public
keys. The JWS token provider implementation only supports the
ES256 JSON Web Algorithm (JWA), which is an Elliptic Curve
Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) using the P-256 curve and a SHA-256
hash algorithm.

A deployment might consider using JWS tokens as opposed to fernet
tokens if there are security concerns about sharing symmetric encryption
keys across hosts. Note that a major difference between the two
providers is that JWS tokens are not opaque and can be decoded by anyone
with the token ID. Fernet tokens are opaque in that the token ID is
ciphertext. Despite the JWS token payload being readable by anyone,
keystone reserves the right to make backwards incompatible changes to
the token payload itself, which is not an API contract. We only
recommend validating the token against keystone’s authentication API to
inspect its associated metadata. We strongly discourage relying on
decoded payloads for information about tokens.

More information about JWTs can be found in the specification.