Saturday, October 10, 2009

OES OWSM 11g Custom Assertion Finally Done

I'm leaving shortly for OOW, but I wanted to give a brief overview of the OES OWSM 11g custom assertion. This is my second OOW project, and once again this work - which I'll demonstrate at the session on Tuesday (shameless plug) - has provided an opportunity to put something together that should provide some value to the field and customers. Its hard sometimes to get the chance to build something a little bigger than a bread box, but that's the nature of this role. You move from engagement to engagement - one after another - not too much time for anything "broad".

So, this is an update of the OES-OWSM Custom step that was part of my OOW 2008 presentation. In doing the "migration" to 11g, I think I learned a number of things that I'll share over the coming weeks.

OES Adjudication Provider

I was frustrated by the complexity of securing an 11g SOA domain with OES. It seemed like the biggest issue was writing OES policies for the WLS resources. In both scenarios, I just wanted to call the OES API, and securing the WLS resources was just a consequence of the fact that ASIAuthorizer plugged into the SSPI framework, and that the Adjudicator couldn't tell the difference between OES and WLS resources. Well, for the OOW demo, I created an OES Adjudicator that only enforces the decision from the ASI or XACML authorizer depending on the resource. This greatly simplifies the deployment, because there are no OES policies for WLS resources. It took me a while to build it, but I think ultimately this is a reasonable solution for POC environments. It might be better in a production environment to author some basic policies for WLS resources in the ASI authorizer. My concern is that the overhead of going through two authorizers might not be worth the simplicity.

Authorization based on SAML Attributes

I extended the existing custom step to be able to resolve XPath queries from either the body or the header of the SOAP:Envelope. This opens up the possibility of not just doing authorization based on the content of the SOAP message, but also the headers. SAML Attribute's are part of the SAML Assertion, and that's available in the WS-Security header. This gives a concrete implementation of the attribute based authorization and federated authorization use cases discussed in this post. The implementation uses the SAML capabilities of OWSM 11g. They key capability here is the ability of the OWSM client side policy to generate a SAML Assertion based on the attributes of the user in the WLS LDAP. OWSM made this whole use case really very simple.

Writing an 11g OWSM Custom Assertion

I definitely picked-up some best practices from engineering, especially on how to get an OWSM custom Assertion into a policy that can be deployed to protect at WLS Web Service. In 11g environments, in makes sense to use OWSM to protect but composite web services as well at WLS web services. The reason is that you can get centralized policy management and avoid a lot of interoperability headaches. OWSM 11g and WLS 11g webservices stacks do work well together, but having the same stack for both producer and consumer greatly simplifies the process.

Like I said, there are more details to follow. Many of which I'll discuss/demonstrate at my OOW Session (2nd shameless plug), but all of which I will share on this blog in good time. For those who were awaiting the OES-OWSM 11g custom step and are not California Angels fans, feel free to contact me and I'll see what I can do about getting the step available ASAP. For Angel's fans and other who can wait, I get this information out as quickly as I can.

If anyone wants to meet up at OOW, I'm happy to accommodate, just ping me and let me know. Also, I'll try to post some updates from the conference.

Safe Travels

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