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April 22nd 2008 Internet2 Spring member meeting Caleb Racey Newcastle University UK Studies in Advanced Access Management.

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Presentation on theme: "April 22nd 2008 Internet2 Spring member meeting Caleb Racey Newcastle University UK Studies in Advanced Access Management."— Presentation transcript:

1 April 22nd 2008 Internet2 Spring member meeting Caleb Racey Newcastle University UK Studies in Advanced Access Management

2 Context: Who Am I Team Leader Middleware team, Newcastle University 8 years experience of Systems Admin for Web 5 years working on SSO issues 4 years with shibboleth 1 year with grouper

3 Context: Newcastle university UK University 4,700 staff 17,000 students Research Intensive Medical School Centralised IT service

4 Context: identity experiences No central directory No central identity source Identity management is adhoc Deployment by advocacy rather than policy Large mature shibboleth deployment 10% of entities registered in UK federation Shib used more internally than externally

5 Context: What is grouper System for managing group information Collaborative effort from internet2 API for managing groups –Supports “group math” –Uses subject API UI + webservice + shell interfaces onto API

6 Newcastle’s grouper deployment GFIVO: JISC funded 2 year project Agenda What problem are we trying to solve What we hope to gain Why we want grouper What we are doing Lessons learned 1/4

7 What problem are we trying to solve Access control to systems Targeted Information flow: the right information to the right people. Mess of group information in apps most have their own group management same groups replicated many times (differently) –duplication of effort –valuable business information inaccessible –User confusion Growing federated nature of identity and applications Shib has exposed our weak ID management

8 What do we hope to gain Technically Centralised reusable group management Lower app development times Better user experience Consistency in service Greater control for helpdesk Intangibles Greater user awareness of: access control personal identity information Democratisation access control

9 Why we want grouper Group info key to identity management in HE Mature Developed by people active in group management for years Good Community of developers/users Supports multiple user interfaces Understands fragmented identity stores Federateable (via shib) Good licence (apache licence)

10 What we are doing Incremental phased role out strategy Federated use case from day 1 Setup loosely coupled raft of applications No LDAP No Signet

11 Where is existing group information SAP ERP system VLEs (blackboard, plone, moodle, coursework) Email lists Web site (Myprofiles) Paper in offices Reading lists Library systems (aleph) Sharepoint Nowhere Face book!

12 Use cases (Phase I) Research support: Research Wikis (federated) Blogs Email lists (federated) Sakai research platform (federated) Teaching and learning: Podcasting of lectures (federated) Teaching wikis Internal: monitoring via nagios + munin documentation wikis

13 Potential Use cases (Phase II??) Staff profile structuring –Web publishing –Research assessment –Teaching assessment Shared File system control Door control Provisioning to Google Apps Reading lists Information portal 1/2

14 1st round: Simple integration via gsh Grouper Shell (gsh) Command line interface onto grouper API Usage pattern familiar to systems administrators No user interaction (no need for further education) Good for replacing existing adhoc database based systems Easy first step People can use grouper without knowing it

15 2 nd Round: Webservices Web service interface onto grouper API (more later) Group management in the app Management in the access denied page (403 page) Simple user interface solving one problem Gives control back to application developer Maybe Sympa integration?

16 3rd Round: Grouper UI Current phase Deploy grouper UI 3rd phase because: Grouper UI is complex to deploy –Was Technology demonstrator –Recently revamped (thanks to penn) Grouper UI is complex to develop –Heavily abstracted –Heavily configurable

17 Grouper webservices New addition to grouper In grouper 1.3RC1 Thanks Chris Hyzer for code contribution Based on Apache Axis SOAP and REST styles SOAP supports basic authentication+ WS- Security support

18 WS-Security Provided by Apache Rampart Support for WS-security + WS-trust WS-sec = Auth via: – username/password –Kerberos –SAML –x509 Enables integration with.NET and SAP, Java WS- security based stacks, PHP also supported May enable advanced SAML, WS-Sec, WS-trust usecases (shib2??, Grid stuff??) 3/4

19 Lessons Learned: Benefits Enables All levels of user Grouper UI for Power users –Librarians, administrators, PAs Simple interface via webservices for users –Staff, students Webservices for developers on non java platforms –.NET, SAP, Python, PHP, Sympa Grouper API for java developers Grouper shell for Systems Admins

20 Lessons learned: benefits Grouper fills large pre-existing gap Grouper allows coherent interface onto incoherent data architecture People like access controlled apps Federated use emerges from internal use

21 Lessons Learned: requirements Skill sets prerequisites : Java systems admin (tomcat etc) Internal data architecture shell scripting WS use not struts Technical prerequisites: Free standing mysql server (others supported) Data Loader Tomcat server SSO (shib preferable)

22 Lessons Learned: Issues Issues Avoided: Naming convention debates –People are irrational about names –People will argue about hierarchy structure endlessly –The people who care most about structure are most powerful –Avoided by not exposing naming hierarchy….yet Issues Encountered: Users don’t grasp the concepts:- stems, groups, indirect membership solutions: introduce them slowly avoid use when possible UI redesign (thanks Penn)

23 Lessons Learned: Issues Getting data from data stores –Need for data loader Shib resolver reusable? Deprovisioning? Need for fast updating Grouper comes from an enterprise LDAP directory mindset No one understands LDAP AD admins don’t even know AD = LDAP Shib took 4 years, will grouper?


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