OpenSSO Resource Authentication Is Not The Gateway Servlet

In previous versions of OpenSSO, the Gateway Servlet was used to authenticate against an authentication module configured to protect a specific resource. This resource authentication type though was developed using the Policy Service framework and contains limitations. With the iminent release of OpenSSO Express Build 8, resource authentication becomes available as part of the Authentication Service framework - without calling the Gateway Servlet (which will be deprecated in a future release).

Resource authentication is based on the client environment parameters defined in the HTTP header of the request. After receiving a request for access, the Authentication Service passes the resource name and appropriate environment parameters to the Policy Service to determine the authentication type to be used. (Resource authentication is parallel to the other authentication types but, because the authentication process is based on environment variables, resource authentication will ultimately run one of the other configured authentication types rather than having a fixed authentication process itself.) The Policy Service returns an advice message to indicate the appropriate authentication type to call. The user is then prompted for the appropriate credentials for the authentication type and, if successful, continues the process with session validation as documented in the Sun OpenSSO Enterprise 8.0 Technical Overview. The process flow diagram illustrates this.

To use resource authentication, you need to create a policy with a condition that defines the authentication process for the protected resource, and to define a login URL to call the authentication process based on the resource. If there is no policy defined for the protected resource, the user will be prompted from the default authentication process defined for the realm.

In the following formats for the IF/THEN condition, Environment_Name is a URL query parameter or an HTTP header attribute, Authentication_Type is one of the OpenSSO authentication types (module, user, role, service or authlevel), and Authentication_Process is a configured authentication process (either an instantiated authentication module or authentication chain).

  • IF Environment_Name=value THEN Authentication_Type=[realm:]Authentication_Process
    This means if the IF condition is satisfied, the user will attempt authentication using the authentication process defined by THEN.
  • IF Environment_Name=value THEN realm=realm_name
    This means if the IF condition is satisfied, the user will attempt authentication using the authentication process defined for the specified realm.
  • IF Environment_Name=value THEN redirectURL=redirect_URL
    This means if the IF condition is satisfied, the user will be redirected to the URL specified as a value for redirectURL parameter.

More information will be forthcomingwhen Express Build 8 is released. Check the OpenSSO Resource Center for any new documentation.

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