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Abstract and Motivation

While working in an engagement for an OSD non-CCS in GCP, I found myself caught in a strange situation. The dedicated engineer working with the cluster posed this issue to me: "I need to create new users in the cluster, but there's no IDP yet defined by the client," meaning from all the many possible IDPs managed OpenShift can use the only one in place was htpasswd and the one user possible was already taken (the one he was working with). Yes, htpasswd IDP in a managed OpenShift can only have one user-defined. 

The motivation for this blog is to address that. Extra users were needed temporarily and, if possible, with logins the same as their future logins would be. LDAP would be the future IDP. 

I offered him two quick solutions. I said, "OK, create a good old user that will authenticate with a good old Kubernetes client certificate and/or set up a temporary LDAP server and use the LDAP IDP."

What seemed to be an easy solution was not, in fact, so automatic. I assembled the scripting, code, actions, and steps taken to make it possible and simple in this blog + code post.

Authenticate with a user certificate

This solution is part of Red Hat's solution knowledge base and can also be found in the Kubernetes official documentation. To accomplish this, follow those instructions or clone the blog repo and run the create-cert-user script (yq is needed to run it). Log in to the cluster you are currently targeting as the administrator.

The knowledge base procedure considers your kube config first cluster entry as the cluster you want when creating the new context. If you work with many clusters at once, this may not be true for you. Check your kube config with this command:

oc config get-clusters


# from repo base directory
cd redhat/idp/cert+ldap/cert
./ newuser


In case you don't want to clone the repo, here's the script:

cfg= "$HOME/.kube/config"
export usr=$1
export cluster=`oc config get-contexts | grep '^*' | awk '{print $3}'`
export ctx="$usr@$cluster"
current_ctx=`oc config current-context`

openssl req -new -newkey rsa:2048 -nodes -keyout $usr.key -out $usr.csr -subj "/CN=$usr"
oc create user $usr

cat <<EOF | oc apply -f -
kind: CertificateSigningRequest
 name: $usr
 request: `cat $usr.csr | base64 -w 0`
 expirationSeconds: 31536000
 - client auth

sleep 1
oc adm certificate approve $usr
sleep 3
oc get csr $usr -o jsonpath='{.status.certificate}' | base64 -d > $usr.crt
oc config set-credentials $usr --client-certificate=$usr.crt --client-key=$usr.key --embed-certs=true
oc config set-context "$ctx" --namespace=default --cluster=$cluster --user=$usr
oc config use-context "$ctx"
oc whoami
oc config use-context "$current_ctx"

# extract the context recently created to share with created user owner
cat <<EOF | yq > $usr.cfg
apiVersion: v1
kind: Config
preferences: {}
current-context: $ctx
`yq '.clusters[] | select(.name == strenv(cluster))' $cfg | sed -e 's/^/ /g'`
`yq '.users [] | select(.name == strenv(usr))' $cfg | sed -e 's/^/ /g'`
`yq '.contexts [] | select(.name == strenv(ctx))' $cfg | sed -e 's/^/ /g'`


The file named newuser.cfg from the above script should be a valid kube config file that can be shared with the newly created user.

Also, remember to bind a role to the new user.

Pay attention to the fact that the users' private keys will be lying around and embedded in the kube config!

Authenticate with an LDAP deployed in the cluster

With LDAP as the second quick solution to rapidly create users for the cluster, I needed a simple, no-thrills LDAP server to run. I found Glauth, which is tested, neat, and has many backend choices for the user database, including a simple text config in TOML, which we're using below.

You'll find a deployment manifest with everything in the repo. First, you need to generate the key and certificate for the secure port of the LDAP server and update the ConfigMap in the deployment file with both. If you generate the certificate and key with different names than the example below, keep in mind the IDP configuration step must be modified accordingly.

openssl genrsa -out glauth.key 2048

openssl req -new -x509 -sha256 -key glauth.key -out glauth.crt -subj "/CN=glauth" -days 3650 -addext "subjectAltName=DNS:glauth.glauth.svc.cluster.local,,,"


If you plan on exposing the service to the outside of the cluster, you need to add the DNS names you intend to use to subjectAltName when generating the certificate. If, for any extraordinary reason, you are not using the default domain name of a Kubernetes cluster, you need to adjust glauth.glauth.svc.cluster.local to your needs.

If you have yq installed, you can run the create-cert-and-deploy script from the repo to accomplish all of the above in one go. See it below:

# from repo base directory
cd redhat/idp/cert+ldap/ldap


dns_names= "glauth.glauth.svc.cluster.local"
subj_alt_name="subjectAltName=DNS:`echo $dns_names | sed -e 's/ /,DNS:/g'`"

openssl genrsa -out glauth.key 2048
openssl req -new -x509 -sha256 -key glauth.key -out glauth.crt -subj "/CN=glauth" -days 3650 -addext "$subj_alt_name"
yq 'with(select(.kind=="ConfigMap" and"glauth"); .data."glauth.key" = load_str("glauth.key") | .data."glauth.crt" = load_str("glauth.crt"))' deployment.yaml | oc apply -f -


If you did not use the above script, you must run oc apply -f deployment.yaml before moving on.

Let's use an image container with ldapsearch and test it from inside the cluster:

oc debug --image=emeraldsquad/ldapsearch
ldapsearch -v -LLL -H ldap://glauth.glauth.svc.cluster.local -D cn=redhat,ou=csa,dc=latam,dc=redhat -w redhat -x -b "dc=latam,dc=redhat" cn=hi


The above search should return information about a user named hi. To test the secure port 636, export LDAPTLS_REQCERT=never and redo the search with ldaps://.

Configure an LDAP IDP

Configure using OCM WEB UI

Now, it's all about adding a new LDAP IDP using the OCM web UI, as seen below:

Screenshot of the OCM web UI

The LDAP URL is: ldaps://glauth.glauth.svc.cluster.local/dc=latam,dc=redhat?cn

Make sure to add glauth.crt:

Screenshot of the LDAP IDP certificate

Configure it using the terminal and oc CLI

The other way you can configure it is by following the OpenShift documentation for adding a new LDAP IDP while using the CLI or using the script provided in the repo and shown below:

# from repo base directory
cd redhat/idp/cert+ldap/cert/ldap


type= "private"
ldap_host= "glauth.glauth.svc.cluster.local"
bind_pwd= "redhat" # change the passwd according to the bindDN used
ldap_filter= "cn"
export patch_file="/tmp/ldap-idp-$type.yaml"
export idp_name="ldap-$type"

oc delete secret $secret_name -n openshift-config --ignore-not-found
oc delete configmap $config_map_name -n openshift-config --ignore-not-found
oc create secret generic $secret_name --from-literal=bindPassword="$bind_pwd" -n openshift-config
oc create configmap $config_map_name --from-file=ca.crt=$crt_file -n openshift-config

cat <<EOF > $patch_file
- ldap:
      - mail
      - dn
      - cn
      - uid
  bindDN: $bind_dn
    name: $secret_name
    name: $config_map_name
  insecure: false
  url: $ldap_url
 mappingMethod: claim
 name: $idp_name
 type: LDAP

echo -n "removing $idp_name..."
oc get oauth cluster -o yaml | yq 'del(.spec.identityProviders[] | select(.name == strenv(idp_name)))' | oc apply -f -
echo -n "adding $idp_name..."
oc get oauth cluster -o yaml | yq '.spec.identityProviders += load(strenv(patch_file))' | oc apply -f -
rm $patch_file


The above script adds a type suffix to the ldap idp config in OpenShift oauth. If you plan to expose it and want to test the exposed version, add a new one pointing to the outside version, then change the suffix and the ldap_host.

Adding new users

If you looked at the configmap, you easily spotted how to add more users. Just repeat the block below and change the fields, mandatorily name. The password is the sha256 of the clear text.

Screenshot of the glauth configuration file

Exposing your internal LDAP 

You can expose your recently added LDAP server by running these commands:

oc project glauth
oc expose deployment glauth --name='glauth-public-exposed' --target-port='3636' --port='636' --type='LoadBalancer'


That process adds a load balancer to the cluster. If you need it to be deployed with a private IP, add the custom annotation for your cloud provider, as seen below:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
 name: glauth-private-exposed
 namespace: glauth
  # GCP 
  # "Internal" 
  # AWS
  # "true" 
  # AZR
  # "true"
 type: LoadBalancer
  - name: sldap
    port: 636
    targetPort: 3636
    protocol: TCP
  app: glauth


Once you know the load balancer's IP address oc get svc glauth-public-exposed -n glauth -o jsonpath=' {.status.loadBalancer.ingress[0].hostname}, you can add an entry to your DNS server pointing to it. Remember that the name you use needs to be in the certificate DNS names list of the glauth.crt certificate file created before.

About sharing the load balancer for other services in the cluster

This is a case where an ingress won't do because we're talking about ports different than 80 and 443 and managed OpenShift does not provide this easily. The best, fastest, and simplest way I could find to get this going is using the NGINX Ingress Controller, which can be deployed using the operators hub and requires some configuration tricks to work, but that is a story for a different blog post.

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