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3. Use external User Management

  • Status: accepted
  • Deciders: @butonic, @micbar, @dragotin, @hodyroff, @pmaier1
  • Date: 2020-12-09

Technical Story: Skip account-service by talking to CS3 user-api

Context and Problem Statement

To attach metadata like shares to users ownCloud relies on persistent, non-reassignable, unique identifiers for users (and files). Email and username can change when a user changes his name. But even the OIDC sub+iss combination may change when the IdP changes. While there is an account porting protocol that describes how a relying party (RP) such as ownCloud should behave, it still requires the RP to maintain its own user identifiers.

Decision Drivers

  • oCIS should be a single binary that can run out of the box without external dependencies like an LDAP server.
  • Time: we want to build a release candidate asap.
  • oCIS should be able to be easily integrated with standard user management components

Considered Options

  • Accounts service wraps LDAP
  • GLAuth wraps accounts service

Decision Outcome

Chosen option: “Move accounts functionality to GLAuth and name it accounts”, by moving the existing accounts service file based persistence to GLAuth and use it as a drop in replacement for an LDAP server. The reverse index and web UI existing in the accounts service will move as well in order to make GLAuth a standalone, small scale user management with write capabilities.

Product summary

  • GLAuth is a drop in user management for small scale deployments that do not rely on an actual LDAP server.
  • oCIS admins can either use the web UI to manage users in GLAuth or use existing tools in their IDM.
  • We hide the complexity by embedding an OpenID Provider, an LDAP server and a user management web UI.

Resulting deployment options

  • Use internal user management
    • Recommended for small scale use cases and simple deployments
    • Users, groups and roles are stored and managed within GLAuth
  • Use external user management
    • Recommended for mid and large scale use cases
    • Users, groups and roles are stored and managed within an external LDAP / AD / IDM
    • Separate oCIS and LDAP admin: oCIS admin relies on the LDAP admin to manage users
  • User permissions for roles are always managed in oCIS (settings service) because they are specific to oCIS

Resulting technical implications

  • Make the file based reverse index a standalone library
  • Contribute to GLAuth
    • Add ms graph based rest API to manage users, groups and roles (the LDAP lib is currently readonly)
    • Add web UI to glauth that uses the ms graph based rest API to manage users
    • Add a backend that uses the file based reverse index, currently living in the oCIS accounts service
    • Move fallback mechanism from ocis/glauth service to upstream GLAuth to support multiple LDAP servers
      • Make it a chain to support more than two LDAP servers
      • Document the implications for merging result sets when searching for recipients
      • At least one writeable backend is needed to support creating guest accounts
  • Make all services currently using the accounts service talk to the CS3 userprovider
  • To support multiple LDAP servers we need to move the fallback mechanism in ocis/glauth service to upstream GLAuth
  • The current CS3 API for user management should be enriched with pagination, field mask and a query language as needed
  • properly register an auxiliary LDAP schema that adds an ownCloudUUID attribute to users and groups

Positive Consequences

  • The accounts service (which is our drop in LDAP solution) can be dropped. The CS3 userprovider service becomes the only service dealing with users.
  • No sync

Negative Consequences

  • If users want to store users in their IDM and at the same time guests in a separate user management we need to implement GLAuth backends that support more than one LDAP server.

Pros and Cons of the Options

GLAuth wraps accounts service

Currently, the accounts service is the source of truth and we use it to implement user management.

  • Good, because it solves the problem of storing and looking up an owncloud UUID for a user (and group)
  • Good, because we can manage users out of the box
  • Good, because we can persist accounts in a CS3 storage provider
  • Bad, because it maintains a separate user repository: it needs to either learn or sync users.

Move accounts functionality to GLAuth and name it accounts

We should use an existing LDAP server and make GLAuth a drop in replacement for it.

  • Good, because we can use an existing user repository (an LDAP server), no need to sync or learn users.
  • Good, because admins can rely on existing user management tools.
  • Good, because we would have a clear separation of concerns:
    • users reside in whatever repository, typically an LDAP server
      • could be an existing LDAP server or AD
      • could be our embeddable drop in glauth server
    • we use a service to wrap the LDAP server with other APIs:
      • ms graph API - ODATA based restful API,
      • SCIM - designed to manage user identities, supported by some IDPs,
      • the current accounts API (which is a protobuf spec following the ms graph API)
    • our account management UI can use the ms graph based API service which can have different backends
      • an existing LDAP server
      • our drop in glauth server (which might serve the ms graph based API itself)
      • the CS3 API + a future guest provisioning API + a future CS3 user provisioning API (or generic space provisioning)
    • all oCIS services can use the service registry to look up the accounts service that provides an internal API
      • could be the CS3 user provider (and API)
      • could be the internal protobuf accounts API
    • introduce a new guest provisioning API to CS3 which properly captures our requirement to have them in the user repository
      • guests need to be made available to the firewall
      • storages like EOS that integrate with the os for acl based file permissions need a numeric user and group id
  • Good, because we can use the CS3 user provider with the existing LDAP / rest driver.
  • Bad, because oCIS admins may not have the rights to manage role assignments. (But this is handled at a different department.)
  • Bad, because oCIS admins may not have the rights to disable users if an external LDAP is used instead of the drop in GLAuth.