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Basic authentication

Ambassador Edge Stack can authenticate incoming requests before routing them to a backing service. In this tutorial, we'll configure Ambassador Edge Stack to use an external third party authentication service. We're assuming also that you are running the quote application in your cluster as described in the Ambassador Edge Stack tutorial.

1. Deploy the authentication service

Ambassador Edge Stack delegates the actual authentication logic to a third party authentication service. We've written a simple authentication service that:

  • listens for requests on port 3000;
  • expects all URLs to begin with /extauth/;
  • performs HTTP Basic Auth for all URLs starting with /backend/get-quote/ (other URLs are always permitted);
  • accepts only user username, password password; and
  • makes sure that the x-qotm-session header is present, generating a new one if needed.

Ambassador Edge Stack routes all requests through the authentication service: it relies on the auth service to distinguish between requests that need authentication and those that do not. If Ambassador Edge Stack cannot contact the auth service, it will return a 503 for the request; as such, it is very important to have the auth service running before configuring Ambassador Edge Stack to use it.

Here's the YAML we'll start with:

Note that the cluster does not yet contain any Ambassador Edge Stack AuthService definition. This is intentional: we want the service running before we tell Ambassador Edge Stack about it.

The YAML above is published at, so if you like, you can just do

to spin everything up. (Of course, you can also use a local file, if you prefer.)

Wait for the pod to be running before continuing. The output of kubectl get pods should look something like

Note that the READY field says 1/1 which means the pod is up and running.

2. Configure Ambassador Edge Stack authentication

Once the auth service is running, we need to tell Ambassador Edge Stack about it. The easiest way to do that is to first map the example-auth service with the following Filter:

This configuration tells Ambassador Edge Stack about the Filter, notably that it needs the /extauth prefix, and that it's OK for it to pass back the x-qotm-session header. Note that path_prefix and allowed_headers are optional.

Next you must apply the Filter to your desired hosts and paths using a FilterPolicy. The following would enable your Filter on requests to all hosts and paths (just remember that our authentication service is only configured to perform authentication on requests to /backend/get-quote/, see the auth service's repo for more information).

You can also apply the Filter only to specific hosts and/or paths, allowing you to only require authentication on certain routes. The following FilterPolicy would only run your Filter to requests to the /backend/get-quote/ path:

If the auth service uses a framework like Gorilla Toolkit which enforces strict slashes as HTTP path separators, it is possible to end up with an infinite redirect where the filter's framework redirects any request with non-conformant slashing. This would arise if the above example had path_prefix: "/extauth/", the filter would see a request for /extauth//backend/get-quote/ which would then be redirected to /extauth/backend/get-quote/ rather than actually be handled by the authentication handler. For this reason, remember that the full path of the incoming request including the leading slash, will be appended to path_prefix regardless of non-conformant slashing.

3. Test authentication

If we curl to a protected URL:

We get a 401 since we haven't authenticated.

If we authenticate to the service, we will get a quote successfully:

What's next?