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Role Based Access Control

Note

Role Based Access Control (RBAC) is only available in Brocade Workflow Composer. For information about Brocade Workflow Composer and differences between Stackstorm and Brocade Workflow Composer, please see stackstorm.com/product.

StackStorm implements Role Based Access (abbreviated RBAC) control which allows system administrators and operators to restrict users access and limit the operations they can perform. For instance, you could give your database operator access only to the database related actions.

Go over detailed overview below, or jump straight to an example of usage.

Terminology

This section describes basic concepts with which you need to be familiar to understand and efficiently utilize the RBAC system.

User

A user represents an entity (person/system) which needs to be authenticated and interacts with StackStorm through the API.

User permissions are represented as a union of permission grants which are assigned to all the user roles.

By default when a new StackStorm user is created, this user has no roles assigned to it, meaning it doesn’t have access to perform any API operation which is behind the RBAC wall.

Role

Role contains a set of permissions (permission grants) which apply to the resources. Permission grants are usually grouped together in a role using a specific criteria (e.g. by project, location, team, responsibility, etc.).

Roles are assigned to the users. Each user can have multiple roles assigned to it and each role can be assigned to multiple users.

System roles

System roles are roles which are available by default and can’t be manipulated (modified and / or deleted).

Currently, the following system roles are available:

Role Value Description
Administrator admin All permissions on all the resources
System Administrator system_admin Same as admin, but this role is assigned to the first user in the system and can’t be revoked
Observer observer view permission on all the resources

Permission Grant

Permission grant grants a particular permission (permission type) to a particular resource. For example, you could grant an execute/run permission (action_execute) to an action core.local.

In general, there are five permission types available for each supported resource type:

  • view - Ability to view a specific resource or ability to list all the resources of a specific type.
  • create - Ability to create a new resource.
  • modify - Ability to modify (update) an existing resource.
  • delete - Ability to delete a specific resource.
  • all - Ability to perform all the supported operations on a specific resource. For example, if you grant action_all on a particular action this implies the following permissions: action_view, action_create, action_modify, action_delete and action_execute.

In addition to that, there is also a special execute (action_execute) permission type available for actions. This permission allows users to execute (run) a particular action.

Keep in mind that in StackStorm workflow is just an action so if you want someone to be able to execute a particular workflow, you simply need to grant them action_execute permission on that workflow.

As described in the table below, create, modify, delete and execute permissions also implicitly grant corresponding view permission. This means that, for example, if you grant action_execute permission on a particular action, user will also be able to view and retrieve details for this particular action.

Available permission types

The table below contains a list of all the available permission types.

Pack

Permission name Description
pack_list Ability to list (view all) packs.
pack_view Ability to view a pack.
pack_create Ability to create a new pack.
pack_modify Ability to modify (update) an existing pack.
pack_delete Ability to delete an existing pack.
pack_install Ability to install packs.
pack_uninstall Ability to uninstall packs.
pack_register Ability to register packs and corresponding resources.
pack_config Ability to configure a pack.
pack_search Ability to query registry and search packs.
pack_view_index_health Ability to query health of pack registries.
pack_all Ability to perform all the supported operations on a particular pack.
sensor_type_view Ability to view a sensor
sensor_type_modify Ability to modify (update) an existing sensor. Also implies “sensor_type_view” permission.
sensor_type_all Ability to perform all the supported operations on a particular sensor.
action_view Ability to view an action.
action_create Ability to create a new action. Also implies “action_view” permission.
action_modify Ability to modify (update) an existing action. Also implies “action_view” permission.
action_delete Ability to delete an existing action. Also implies “action_view” permission.
action_execute Ability to execute (run) an action. Also implies “action_view” permission.
action_all Ability to perform all the supported operations on a particular action.
action_alias_view Ability to view an action alias.
action_alias_create Ability to create a new action alias. Also implies “action_alias_view” permission.
action_alias_modify Ability to modify (update) an existing action alias. Also implies “action_alias_view” permission.
action_alias_delete Ability to delete an existing action alias. Also imples “action_alias_view” permission.
action_alias_all Ability to perform all the supported operations on a particular action alias.
rule_view Ability to view a rule.
rule_create Ability to create a new rule. Also implies “rule_view” permission
rule_modify Ability to modify (update) an existing rule. Also implies “rule_view” permission.
rule_delete Ability to delete an existing rule. Also implies “rule_view” permission.
rule_all Ability to perform all the supported operations on a particular rule.

Sensor Type

Permission name Description
sensor_type_list Ability to list (view all) sensors.
sensor_type_view Ability to view a sensor
sensor_type_modify Ability to modify (update) an existing sensor. Also implies “sensor_type_view” permission.
sensor_type_all Ability to perform all the supported operations on a particular sensor.

Action

Permission name Description
action_list Ability to list (view all) actions.
action_view Ability to view an action.
action_create Ability to create a new action. Also implies “action_view” permission.
action_modify Ability to modify (update) an existing action. Also implies “action_view” permission.
action_delete Ability to delete an existing action. Also implies “action_view” permission.
action_execute Ability to execute (run) an action. Also implies “action_view” permission.
action_all Ability to perform all the supported operations on a particular action.

Action Alias

Permission name Description
action_alias_list Ability to list (view all) action aliases.
action_alias_view Ability to view an action alias.
action_alias_create Ability to create a new action alias. Also implies “action_alias_view” permission.
action_alias_modify Ability to modify (update) an existing action alias. Also implies “action_alias_view” permission.
action_alias_match Ability to use action alias match API endpoint.
action_alias_help Ability to use action alias help API endpoint.
action_alias_delete Ability to delete an existing action alias. Also imples “action_alias_view” permission.
action_alias_all Ability to perform all the supported operations on a particular action alias.

Api Key

Permission name Description
api_key_list Ability to list (view all) API keys.
api_key_view Ability to view API Keys.
api_key_create Ability to create a new API Key.
api_key_modify Ability to modify (update) an existing API key. Also implies “api_key_view” permission.
api_key_delete Ability to delete an existing API Keys.
api_key_all Ability to perform all the supported operations on an API Key.

Key Value Pair

Permission name Description
key_value_pair_view Ability to view Key-Value Pairs.
key_value_pair_set Ability to set a Key-Value Pair.
key_value_pair_delete Ability to delete an existing Key-Value Pair.

Rule

Permission name Description
rule_list Ability to list (view all) rules.
rule_view Ability to view a rule.
rule_create Ability to create a new rule. Also implies “rule_view” permission
rule_modify Ability to modify (update) an existing rule. Also implies “rule_view” permission.
rule_delete Ability to delete an existing rule. Also implies “rule_view” permission.
rule_all Ability to perform all the supported operations on a particular rule.

Runner Type

Permission name Description
runner_type_list Ability to list (view all) runners.
runner_type_view Ability to view a runner.
runner_type_modify Ability to modify (update) an existing runner. Also implies “runner_type_view” permission.
runner_type_all Ability to perform all the supported operations on a particular runner.

Execution

Permission name Description
execution_list Ability to list (view all) executions.
execution_view Ability to view an execution.
execution_rerun Ability to create a new action.
execution_stop Ability to stop (cancel) a running execution.
execution_all Ability to perform all the supported operations on a particular execution.

Webhook

Permission name Description
webhook_create Ability to create a new webhook.
webhook_send Ability to send / POST data to an existing webhook.
webhook_delete Ability to delete an existing webhook.
webhook_all Ability to perform all the supported operations on a particular webhook.

This list can also be retrieved using the RBAC meta API (GET /v1.0/rbac/permission_types).

User permissions

User permissions (also called effective user permission set) are represented as a union of all the permission grants which are assigned to the user roles.

For example, if user has the following two roles assigned to it:

---
    name: "role_five"
    description: "Role which grants execute permission to my_action_1"
    permission_grants:
        -
            resource_uid: "action:dummy_pack_1:my_action_1"
            permission_types:
               - "action_execute"
---
    name: "role_six"
    description: "Role which grants execute permission to my_action_2"
    permission_grants:
        -
            resource_uid: "action:dummy_pack_1:my_action_2"
            permission_types:
               - "action_execute"

The effective user permission set which is used during RBAC checks is:

  • action_execute on action:dummy_pack_1:my_action_1
  • action_execute on action:dummy_pack_1:my_action_2

RBAC system uses a whitelist approach which means there is no possibility of a conflicting and contradictory permission grants in different roles (e.g. one role would grant a particular permission and other role would revoke it).

Resource

In the context of RBAC, resource refers to the resource to which the permission grant applies to. Currently permission grants can be applied to the following resource types:

  • packs
  • sensors
  • actions
  • action aliases
  • rules
  • executions
  • webhooks

Resource is identified by and you refer to it in the permission grants using uid. UID is a identifier which is unique for each resource in the StackStorm installation. UIDs follow this format: <resource type>:<resourc specific identifier value> (e.g. pack:libcloud, action:libcloud:list_vms, etc.).

You can retrieve UID of a particular resource by listing all the resources of a particular type or by retrieving details of a single resource using either an API or CLI.

For example:

st2 action list
+-------------------------+-------------------------+-----------+-------------------------+-------------------------+
| uid                     | ref                     | pack      | name                    | description             |
+-------------------------+-------------------------+-----------+-------------------------+-------------------------+
| action:core:remote      | core.remote             | core      | remote                  | Action to execute       |
|                         |                         |           |                         | arbitrary linux command |
|                         |                         |           |                         | remotely.               |
+-------------------------+-------------------------+-----------+-------------------------+-------------------------+

How it Works

User permissions are checked when a user performs an operation using the API. If user has the necessary permissions* the API operation proceeds normally, otherwise access denied error is returned and the error is logged in the audit log.

Permission inheritance

Pack resources

Pack resources inherit all the permission from a pack. This means that if you grant action_execute permission to a pack, user will be able to execute all the actions inside that pack. Similarly, if you grant rule_create permission to a pack, user will be able to create new rules in that pack.

Executions

Executions inherit permissions from the action they belong and from the action’s parent pack. This means that if you grant action_view permission on a particular action, the user will be able to view all the executions which belong to that action. Similarly, if you grant action_view to a parent pack of the action execution belongs to, user will be able to view all the executions which belong to the action with that parent pack.

On top of that, granting action_execute on a particular pack or action also grants execution_rerun and execution_stop to all the executions which belong to that action.

Rule enforcements

Rule enforcements (models that represent when a rule actually evaluated resulted in an action) inherit permissions from the rule they belong and from the rule’s parent pack. This means, if a user has a rule_view permission on a particular rule, then they also have permissions to view the rule enforcement model for the rule. Similarly, if you grant rule_view to a parent pack of the rule, user will be able to see all enforcements of rules belonging to that pack. Note that rule enforcements are operational models. You cannot create/modify/delete them via API. So permissions other than view and list do not make sense.

Permissions and executions which are not triggered via the API

Normally when an execution is triggered via the API (POST to /actionexecutions/), authenticated StackStorm user which triggered the execution is the effective user for the RBAC purposes, but there are some exceptions which are described below.

Rules - Effective user for the executions which are triggered by the rule right now is a system user (stanley).

ChatOps - Effective user for the executions which are triggered via ChatOps (POST to /aliasexecutions/) using hubot is a StackStorm user which is configured in hubot (ST2_AUTH_USERNAME - by default that is chatops_bot).

By default, stanley and chatops_bot user have admin role assignment to them, which means they have all the permissions.

Defining Roles and Assignments

To follow infrastructure as code approach, roles and user role assignments are defined in YAML files which are stored on a filesystem in the following directory: /opt/stackstorm/rbac/.

Those definitions being simple YAML files means you can (and should) version control and manage them in the same way you version control and manage other source code and infrastructure artifacts.

Both, roles and user role assignments are loaded in lexicographical order based on the filename. For example, if you have two role definitions in the files named role_b.yaml and role_a.yaml, role_a.yaml will be loaded before role_b.yaml.

Defining roles and permission grants

Roles and permission grants are defined in YAML files which are located on a filesystem in the following directory: /opt/stackstorm/rbac/roles/. Each file defines role information and associated permission grants for a single role which means that if you want to define n roles you will need n files.

Example role definition (/opt/stackstorm/rbac/roles/role_sample.yaml) is shown below:

---
    name: "sample"
    description: "Role which contains many different permission grants and serves for demonstration purposes"
    enabled: false
    permission_grants:
        -
            # Here we grant "pack_all" to "dummy_pack_1" pack which means user can perform all the
            # operations on this pack.
            resource_uid: "pack:dummy_pack_1"
            permission_types:
               - "pack_all"
        -
            # Here we grant "action_view" and "rule_view" to "dummy_pack_1" pack which means user
            # can view (list) all the actions and rules inside this pack.
            resource_uid: "pack:dummy_pack_1"
            permission_types:
               - "action_view"
               - "rule_view"
        -
            # Here we grant "rule_create" to "dummy_pack_1" pack which means user can create new
            # rules inside this pack.
            # Note: To be able to create a rule user also needs to have an "action_execute" permission
            # on the action used inside the rule. In case the rule trigger type is a webhook, user also
            # needs to have "webhook_create" permission on the corresponding webhook.
            resource_uid: "pack:dummy_pack_1"
            permission_types:
               - "rule_create"
        -
            # Here we grant "webhook_create" which allows user to create a webhook with a name of
            # "my_sample_webhook".
            # Keep in mind that webhooks have no parent resource so the permission grant is
            # directly on the webhook you want to allow a user to create.
            resource_uid: "webhook:my_sample_webhook"
            permission_types:
               - "webhook_create"
        -
            # Here we grant "action_execute" to "dummy_pack_2" which means user can execute (run)
            # all the actions inside this pack. Execute permission also grants "execution_re_run"
            # and "execution_stop" which means user can also re-run and stop (cancel) all the
            # executions which are triggered for the actions which belong to this pack.
            resource_uid: "pack:dummy_pack_2"
            permission_types:
               - "action_execute"
        -
            # Here we grant "action_all" to action "my_action_1" inside "dummy_pack_2" which means
            # user can perform all the operations (view, modify, execute and delete) on the
            # specified action.
            resource_uid: "action:dummy_pack_2:my_action_1"
            permission_types:
               - "action_all"
        -
            # Here we grant "action_execute" to action "my_action_2" inside "dummy_pack_2" allowing
            # user to execute (run) this particular action.
            resource_uid: "action:dummy_pack_2:my_action_2"
            permission_types:
               - "action_execute"
        -
            # Here we grant "rule_view" and "rule_modify" to rule "my_rule_1" inside "dummy_pack_2" allowing
            # user to view and modify (but not delete) this particular rule.
            resource_uid: "rule:dummy_pack_2:my_rule_1"
            permission_types:
               - "rule_view"
               - "rule_modify"
        -
            # Here we grant "webhook_send" to a webhook named "st2" (that's a generic webhook which exists
            # by default in every installation) allowing user to POST triggers to this particular webhook.
            # Keep in mind that the user needs to have "webhook_create" permissions on a particular webhook
            # if you want to allow user to create / register a new webhook via rule.
            resource_uid: "webhook:st2"
            permission_types:
               - "webhook_send"
        -
            # Here we grant "action_list" and "rule_list" allowing user to view / list all the actions and
            # rules
            permission_types:
               - "action_list"
               - "rule_list"

The example above contains a variety of permission grants with the corresponding explanation (comments).

Defining user role assignments

User role assignments are defined in YAML files which are located on a filesystem in the following directory: /opt/stackstorm/rbac/assignments/. Each file defines assignments for a single user which means that if you want to define assignments for n users, you will need n files.

Example role definition (/opt/stackstorm/rbac/assignments/user4.yaml) is shown below:

---
    username: "user4"
    roles:
        - "role_one"
        - "observer"

In the example above we assign user with the username user4 two roles - role_one (a custom role which needs to be defined as described above) and observer (system role).

Applying RBAC Definitions

As described above, RBAC definitions are defined in YAML files located in the /opt/stackstorm/rbac/ directory. For those definitions to take an effect, you need to apply them using st2-apply-rbac-definitions script.

Usually you will want to run this script every time you want the RBAC definitions you have written to take an effect.

For example:

st2-apply-rbac-definitions

2015-08-12 22:30:18,439 - INFO - Synchronizing roles...
2015-08-12 22:30:18,441 - DEBUG - New roles: set([])
2015-08-12 22:30:18,442 - DEBUG - Updated roles: set(['role_two', 'role_one', 'role_three'])
2015-08-12 22:30:18,442 - DEBUG - Removed roles: set([])
2015-08-12 22:30:18,443 - DEBUG - Deleting 3 stale roles
2015-08-12 22:30:18,444 - DEBUG - Deleted 3 stale roles
2015-08-12 22:30:18,446 - DEBUG - Deleting 5 stale permission grants
2015-08-12 22:30:18,447 - DEBUG - Deleted 5 stale permission grants
2015-08-12 22:30:18,448 - DEBUG - Creating 3 new roles
2015-08-12 22:30:18,454 - DEBUG - Created 3 new roles
2015-08-12 22:30:18,458 - INFO - Synchronizing users role assignments...
2015-08-12 22:30:18,460 - DEBUG - New assignments for user "user1": set([])
2015-08-12 22:30:18,461 - DEBUG - Updated assignments for user "user1": set(['role_two', 'role_one'])
2015-08-12 22:30:18,461 - DEBUG - Removed assignments for user "user1": set([])
2015-08-12 22:30:18,462 - DEBUG - Removed 2 assignments for user "user1"
2015-08-12 22:30:18,464 - DEBUG - Created 2 new assignments for user "user1"

Using RBAC Example

Possible scenarios :

  1. A user owns a pack i.e is able to view, create, delete, modify and where applicable execute various resources like actions, rules, sensors.
  2. A user can create rules, execute actions and view a handful of actions.
  3. A user capable of viewing actions in a pack but cannot execute any action.

This example provides a walk-through of scenario 1 i.e configuring a user as a pack owner. The steps to be followed are by an Administrator of StackStorm on a box that is running StackStorm.

User creation

All user and password management is kept outside of StackStorm. Read the authentication docs to see how to configure to configure StackStorm with various identity providers.

For sake of this example let us assume that the identity provider is managed by the OS on which StackStorm runs.

To create a user and set-up a password on most linux systems -

$ useradd rbacu1
$ passwd rbacu1

Once this user is created StackStorm will allow access to this user. (Optional) To validate try -

$ st2 auth rbacu1 -p <RBACU1_PASSWORD>
$ export ST2_AUTH_TOKEN=<USER_SCOPED_AUTH_TOKEN>
$ st2 action list

Role creation

A newly created user has no assigned permissions. Each permission must be explicitly assigned to a user. To assign permission grants StackStorm requires creation of a role and then associating this role with a user. In this case we are trying to create a pack owner role.

Lets first make sure there is a pack x we can use to experiment.

$ cd /opt/stackstorm/packs/
$ mkdir x
$ mkdir x/actions x/rules x/sensors
$ touch pack.yaml
$ touch /opt/stackstorm/configs/x.yaml
$ touch requirements.txt
$ cp core/icon.png x/icon.png

Now we setup a role. Create file /opt/stackstorm/rbac/roles/x_pack_owner.yaml with the following content -

---
name: "x_pack_owner"
description: "Owner of pack x"
enabled: true
permission_grants:
    -
        resource_uid: "pack:x"
        permission_types:
           - "pack_all"
           - "sensor_type_all"
           - "rule_all"
           - "action_all"

A pack owner role would require the user to be able to view, create, modify and delete all contents of a pack. Again, lets pick pack x as the target of ownership.

See available permission types for a full list of permission types.

Role assignment

Creation of a role is followed by assignment of a role to the user. Create file /opt/stackstorm/rbac/assignments/rbacu1.yaml with the following content -

---
username: "rbacu1"
description: "rbacu1 assignments"
enabled: true
roles:
    - "x_pack_owner"

Applying RBAC

As a StackStorm administrator and on a box with StackStrom installed run -

st2-apply-rbac-definitions

This command will sync up the StackStorm RBAC state with file system state. Only after running this command does StackStorm know of the latest changes to RBAC permission grants.

Validation

Lets take what we have achieved for a spin using the StackStorm CLI.

  1. Setup Authentication token.
$ st2 auth rbacu1 -p <RBACU1_PASSWORD>
$ export ST2_AUTH_TOKEN=<USER_SCOPED_AUTH_TOKEN>
$ st2 action list
  1. Validate rule visibility and creation.
$ cd /opt/stackstorm/packs/x
$ cp /usr/share/doc/st2/examples/rules/sample_rule_with_timer.yaml rules/
$ sed -i 's/pack: "examples"/pack: "x"/g' rules/sample_rule_with_timer.yaml
$ st2 rule create rules/sample_rule_with_timer.yaml
$ st2 rule get x.sample_rule_with_timer.yaml
$ st2 rule delete x.sample_rule_with_timer.yaml

# Expect Failure
$ st2 rule get <EXISTING_RULE_REF>
  1. Validation action visibility, creation and execute.
$ cd /opt/stackstorm/packs/x
$ cp /usr/share/doc/st2/examples/actions/local.yaml actions/
$ echo "pack: x" >> actions/local.yaml
$ st2 action create actions/local.yaml
$ st2 action get x.local-notify
$ st2 run x.local-notify hostname
$ st2 action delete x.local-notify

# Expect failure
$ st2 action get core.local
$ st2 run core.local hostname