Authentication

Ambassador can authenticate incoming requests before routing them to a backing service. In this tutorial, we'll configure Ambassador to use an external third party authentication service. Note that if you're using the Ambassador Edge Stack, the External filter is a more powerful way to manage authentication.

Before You Get Started

This tutorial assumes you have already followed the Ambassador Edge Stack Installation guide. If you haven't done that already, you should do that now.

Once complete, you'll have a Kubernetes cluster running Ambassador Edge Stack. Let's walk through adding authentication to this setup.

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:

---
apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
metadata:
name: example-auth
spec:
type: ClusterIP
selector:
app: example-auth
ports:
- port: 3000
name: http-example-auth
targetPort: http-api
---
apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
metadata:
name: example-auth
spec:
replicas: 1
strategy:
type: RollingUpdate
selector:
matchLabels:
app: example-auth
template:
metadata:
labels:
app: example-auth
spec:
containers:
- name: example-auth
image: datawire/ambassador-auth-service:2.0.0
imagePullPolicy: Always
ports:
- name: http-api
containerPort: 3000
resources:
limits:
cpu: "0.1"
memory: 100Mi

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 about it.

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

kubectl apply -f https://www.getambassador.io/yaml/demo/demo-auth.yaml

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

$ kubectl get pods
NAME READY STATUS RESTARTS AGE
example-auth-6c5855b98d-24clp 1/1 Running 0 4m

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 map the example-auth service with the following:

---
apiVersion: getambassador.io/v2
kind: AuthService
metadata:
name: authentication
spec:
auth_service: "example-auth:3000"
path_prefix: "/extauth"
allowed_request_headers:
- "x-qotm-session"
allowed_authorization_headers:
- "x-qotm-session"

This configuration tells Ambassador Edge Stack about the auth service, 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.

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 auth service's framework redirects any request with non-conformant slashing. This would arise if the above example had path_prefix: "/extauth/", the auth service 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.

You can apply this file from getambassador.io with

kubectl apply -f https://www.getambassador.io/yaml/demo/demo-auth-enable.yaml

or, again, apply it from a local file if you prefer.

Note that the cluster does not yet contain any Ambassador Edge Stack AuthService definition.

3. Test Authentication

If we curl to a protected URL:

$ curl -Lv $AMBASSADORURL/backend/get-quote/

We get a 401 since we haven't authenticated.

* TCP_NODELAY set
* Connected to 54.165.128.189 (54.165.128.189) port 32281 (#0)
> GET /backend/get-quote/ HTTP/1.1
> Host: 54.165.128.189:32281
> User-Agent: curl/7.63.0
> Accept: */*
>
< HTTP/1.1 401 Unauthorized
< www-authenticate: Basic realm="Ambassador Realm"
< content-length: 0
< date: Thu, 23 May 2019 15:24:55 GMT
< server: envoy
<
* Connection #0 to host 54.165.128.189 left intact

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

$ curl -Lv -u username:password $AMBASSADORURL/backend/get-quote/
* TCP_NODELAY set
* Connected to 54.165.128.189 (54.165.128.189) port 32281 (#0)
* Server auth using Basic with user 'username'
> GET /backend/get-quote/ HTTP/1.1
> Host: 54.165.128.189:32281
> Authorization: Basic dXNlcm5hbWU6cGFzc3dvcmQ=
> User-Agent: curl/7.63.0
> Accept: */*
>
< HTTP/1.1 200 OK
< content-type: application/json
< date: Thu, 23 May 2019 15:25:06 GMT
< content-length: 172
< x-envoy-upstream-service-time: 0
< server: envoy
<
{
"server": "humble-blueberry-o2v493st",
"quote": "Nihilism gambles with lives, happiness, and even destiny itself!",
"time": "2019-05-23T15:25:06.544417902Z"
* Connection #0 to host 54.165.128.189 left intact
}

Legacy v0 API

If using Ambassador v0.40.2 or earlier, use the deprecated v0 AuthService API

---
apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
metadata:
name: example-auth
mappings:
getambassador.io/config: |
---
apiVersion: getambassador.io/v2
kind: AuthService
name: authentication
auth_service: "example-auth:3000"
path_prefix: "/extauth"
allowed_headers:
- "x-qotm-session"
spec:
type: ClusterIP
selector:
app: example-auth
ports:
- port: 3000
name: http-example-auth
targetPort: http-api

More

For more details about configuring authentication, see the External filter documentation.

Questions?

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