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Authenticate using external service

Pulp can be configured to use authentication provided in the webserver outside of Pulp. This allows for integration with ldap for example, through mod_ldap, or certificate based API access, etc.

Enable external Auth

1. Accept external Auth

Accept external auth instead of checking the internal users database by setting the AUTHENTICATION_BACKENDS to ['django.contrib.auth.backends.RemoteUserBackend'].

This will cause Pulp to accept any username for each request and by default create a user in the database backend for them. To have any name accepted but not create the user in the database backend, use the instead.

It is preferable to have users created because the authorization and permissions continue to function normally since there are users in the Django database to assign permissions to and later check. When using the you also should set the DEFAULT_PERMISSION_CLASSES to check permissions differently or not at all. By default Pulp sets DEFAULT_PERMISSION_CLASSES to pulpcore.plugin.access_policy.AccessPolicyFromDB which provides role based permission checking via a user in the database. For example, to only serve to authenticated users specify set DEFAULT_PERMISSION_CLASSES to rest_framework.permissions.IsAuthenticated. Alternatively, to allow any user (even unauthenticated) use rest_framework.permissions.AllowAny.

2. Configure

Specify how to receive the username from the webserver. Do this by specifying to DRF an DEFAULT_AUTHENTICATION_CLASSES. For example, consider this example:


This removes rest_framework.authentication.BasicAuthentication, but retains rest_framework.authentication.SessionAuthentication and adds PulpRemoteUserAuthentication. This accepts the username as WSGI environment variable REMOTE_USER by default, but can be configured via the REMOTE_USER_ENVIRON_NAME <remote-user-environ-name> Pulp setting.

Webserver Auth in Same Webserver

If your webserver authentication is occurring in the same webserver that is serving the application, you can pass the authenticated username to Pulp via the WSGI environment variable REMOTE_USER.

Reading the REMOTE_USER WSGI environment is the default behavior of the rest_framework.authentication.RemoteUserAuthentication and the Pulp provided The only difference in the Pulp provided one is that the WSGI environment variable name can be configured.

See the REMOTE_USER_ENVIRON_NAME <remote-user-environ-name> for configuring the WSGI provided name, but if you are using the REMOTE_USER WSGI environment name with "same webserver" authentication, you likely want to leave REMOTE_USER_ENVIRON_NAME <remote-user-environ-name> unset and configure the webserver to set the REMOTE_USER WSGI environment variable.

Webserver Auth with Reverse Proxy

For example purposes, assume you're using Nginx with LDAP authentication required and after authenticating it reverse proxies your request to the gunicorn process running the application. That would look like this:

nginx <---http---> gunicorn <----WSGI----> application

With nginx providing authentication, all it can do is pass REMOTE_USER (or similar name) to the application webserver, i.e. gunicorn. You can pass the header as part of the proxy request in nginx with a config line like:

proxy_set_header REMOTE_USER $remote_user;

Per the WSGI standard, any incoming headers will be prepended with a HTTP_. The above line would send the header named REMOTE_USER to gunicorn, and the WSGI application would receive it as HTTP_REMOTE_USER. The default configuration of Pulp is expecting REMOTE_USER in the WSGI environment not HTTP_REMOTE_USER, so this won't work with or the Django Rest Framework provided rest_framework.authentication.RemoteUserAuthentication as is.

Pulp provides a setting named REMOTE_USER_ENVIRON_NAME <remote-user-environ-name> which allows you to specify another WSGI environment variable to read the authenticated username from.


Configuring this has serious security implications. See the Django warning at the end of this section in their docs for more details.