LATEST VERSION: 9.2.0 - CHANGELOG
Pivotal GemFire® v9.2

Implementing Authentication

Authentication lends a measure of security to a distributed system by verifying the identity of components as they connect to the system. All components use the same authentication mechanism.

How Authentication Works

When a component initiates a connection to the distributed system, the SecurityManager.authenticate method is invoked. The component provides its credentials in the form of properties as a parameter to the authenticate method. The credential is presumed to be the two properties security-username and security-password. The authenticate method is expected to either return an object representing a principal or throw an AuthenticationFailedException.

A well-designed authenticate method will have a set of known user and password pairs that can be compared to the credential presented or will have a way of obtaining those pairs.

How a Server Sets Its Credential

In order to connect with a locator that does authentication, a server will need to set its credential, composed of the two properties security-username and security-password. There are two ways of accomplishing this:

  • Set the security-username and security-password in the server’s gfsecurity.properties file that will be read upon server start up, as in the example

     security-username=admin
     security-password=xyz1234
    

    The user name and password are stored in the clear, so the gfsecurity.properties file must be protected by restricting access with file system permissions.

  • Implement the getCredentials method of the AuthInitialize interface for the server. This callback’s location is defined in the property security-peer-auth-init, as in the example

     security-peer-auth-init=com.example.security.MyAuthInitialize
    

    The implementation of getCredentials may then acquire values for the properties security-username and security-password in whatever way it wishes. It might look up values in a database or another external resource.

Gateway senders and receivers communicate as a component of their server member. Therefore, the credential of the server become those of the gateway sender or receiver.

How a Cache Client Sets Its Credential

In order to connect with a locator or a server that does authentication, a client will need to set its credential, composed of the two properties security-username and security-password. To accomplish this:

  • Implement the getCredentials method of the AuthInitialize interface for the client. This callback’s location is defined in the property security-client-auth-init, as in the example

     security-client-auth-init=com.example.security.ClientAuthInitialize
    

    The implementation of getCredentials may then acquire values for the properties security-username and security-password in whatever way it wishes. It might look up values in a database or another external resource, or it might prompt for values.

How Other Components Set Their Credentials

gfsh prompts for the user name and password upon invocation of agfsh connect command.

Pulse prompts for the user name and password upon start up.

Due to the stateless nature of the REST API, a web application or other component that speaks to a server or locator via the REST API goes through authentication on each request. The header of the request needs to include attributes that define values for security-username and security-password.

Implement SecurityManager Interface

Complete these items to implement authentication done by either a locator or a server.

  • Decide upon an authentication algorithm. The Authentication Example stores a set of user name and password pairs that represent the identities of components that will connect to the system. This simplistic algorithm returns the user name as a principal if the user name and password passed to the authenticate method are a match for one of the stored pairs.
  • Define the security-manager property. See Enable Security with Property Definitions for details about this property.
  • Implement the authenticate method of the SecurityManager interface.
  • Define any extra resources that the implemented authentication algorithm needs in order to make a decision.