Skip to content
Automate access and management of Kubernetes with logins via OpenID Connect
Branch: master
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Type Name Latest commit message Commit time
Failed to load latest commit information.

Orchestra For Kubernetes - OpenID Connect

Orchestra is an automation portal for Kubernetes built on OpenUnison. Orachestra integrates a user's identity into Kubernetes enabling:

  1. SSO between the API server and your LDAP infrastructure
  2. SSO with the Kubernetes Dashboard
  3. Self service access to existing Namespaces
  4. Self service creation of new Namespaces
  5. Workflows for automating access approvals without getting system administrators involved
  6. Built in self service reporting

Orchestra Portal Screen Shot

When a user accesses Kubernetes using Orchestra, they'll access both the self service portal and the dashboard through OpenUnison's reverse proxy (instead of directly via an ingress). OpenUnison will inject the user's identity into each request, allowing the dashboard to act on their behalf.

Orchestra stores all Kubernetes access information as a groups inside of a relational database, as opposed to a group in an external directory. OpenUnison will create the appropriate Roles and RoleBindings to allow for the access.

Orchestra Architecture

Roles Supported


  1. Administration - Full cluster management access


  1. Administrators - All operations inside of a namespace
  2. Viewers - Can view contents of a namespace (except Secrets), but can not make changes


  1. System Approver - Able to approve access to roles specific to OpenUnison
  2. Auditor - Able to view audit reports, but not request projects or approve access


What You Need To Start

Prior to deploying OpenUnison you will need:

  1. Kubernetes 1.10 or higher
  2. The Nginx Ingress Controller deployed (
  3. A MySQL or MariaDB Database
  4. Information from your OpenID Connect Identity Provider per "Create Environments File" in the next section. When registering OpenUnison with your identity provider, use the hostname and /auth/oidc as the redirect. For instance if OpenUnison will be running on then the redirect_uri will be https://k8sou.tremolo.lan/auth/oidc
  5. An SMTP server for sending notifications
  6. Deploy the dashboard to your cluster

Required Attributes for Your Identity Provider

In order to integrate your identity provide make sure the following attributes are in the id_token:

  • sub
  • email
  • given_name
  • family_name
  • name

These are then mapped into the user's object in OpenUnison for personalization.

Create input.props

Orchestra stores environment specific information, such as host names, passwords, etc, in a properties file that will then be loaded by OpenUnison and merged with its configuration. This file will be stored in Kubernetes as a secret then accessed by OpenUnison on startup to fill in the #[] parameters in unison.xml and myvd.conf. For instance the parameter #[OU_HOST] in unison.xml would have an entry in this file. Below is an example input.props file:

OU_CERT_O=Tremolo Security

Detailed Description or Properties

Property Description
OU_HOST The host name for OpenUnison. This is what user's will put into their browser to login to Kubernetes
K8S_DASHBOARD_HOST The host name for the dashboard. This is what users will put into the browser to access to the dashboard. NOTE: OU_HOST and K8S_DASHBOARD_HOST MUST share the same DNS suffix. Both OU_HOST and K8S_DASHBOARD_HOST MUST point to OpenUnison
K8S_URL The URL for the Kubernetes API server
OU_HIBERNATE_DIALECT Hibernate dialect for accessing the database. Unless customizing for a different database do not change
OU_QUARTZ_DIALECT Dialect used by the Quartz Scheduler. Unless customizing for a different database do not change
OU_JDBC_DRIVER JDBC driver for accessing the database. Unless customizing for a different database do not change
OU_JDBC_URL The URL for accessing the database
OU_JDBC_USER The user for accessing the database
OU_JDBC_PASSWORD The password for accessing the database
OU_JDBC_VALIDATION A query for validating database connections/ Unless customizing for a different database do not change
SMTP_HOST Host for an email server to send notifications
SMTP_PORT Port for an email server to send notifications
SMTP_USER Username for accessing the SMTP server (may be blank)
SMTP_PASSWORD Password for accessing the SMTP server (may be blank)
SMTP_FROM The email address that messages from OpenUnison are addressed from
SMTP_TLS true or false, depending if SMTP should use start tls
OU_CERT_OU The OU attribute for the forward facing certificate
OU_CERT_O The O attribute for the forward facing certificate
OU_CERT_L The L attribute for the forward facing certificate
OU_CERT_ST The ST attribute for the forward facing certificate
OU_CERT_C The C attribute for the forward facing certificate
unisonKeystorePassword The password for OpenUnison's keystore
USE_K8S_CM Tells the deployment system if you should use k8s' built in certificate manager. If your distribution doesn't support this (such as Canonical and Rancher), set this to false
SESSION_INACTIVITY_TIMEOUT_SECONDS The number of seconds of inactivity before the session is terminated, also the length of the refresh token's session
OIDC_CLIENT_ID The client ID registered with your identity provider
OIDC_CLIENT_SECRET The secret provided by your identity provider
OIDC_IDP_AUTH_URL Your identity provider's authorization url
OIDC_IDP_TOKEN_URL Your identity provider's token url
OIDC_IDP_LIMIT_DOMAIN An email domain to limit access to

Prepare Deployment

Perform these steps from a location with a working kubectl configuration:

  1. Create a directory to store secrets, ie /path/to/secrets and put input.props (the properties file defined above) in that directory
  2. Create an empty directory for config maps, ie /path/to/configmaps


Based on where you put the files from Prepare Deployment, run the following:

curl | bash -s /path/to/configmaps /path/to/secrets

The output will look like:

namespace/openunison-deploy created
configmap/extracerts created
secret/input created created
job.batch/artifact-deployment created
NAME                        READY     STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
artifact-deployment-jzmnr   0/1       Pending   0          0s
artifact-deployment-jzmnr   0/1       Pending   0         0s
artifact-deployment-jzmnr   0/1       ContainerCreating   0         0s
artifact-deployment-jzmnr   1/1       Running   0         4s
artifact-deployment-jzmnr   0/1       Completed   0         15s

Once you see Completed, you can exit the script (Ctl+C). This script creates all of the appropriate objects in Kubernetes, signs certificates and deploys both OpenUnison and the Dashboard.

Complete SSO Integration with Kubernetes

Run kubectl describe configmap api-server-config -n openunison to get the SSO integration artifacts. The output will give you both the certificate that needs to be trusted and the API server flags that need to be configured on your API servers.

First Login to Orchestra

At this point you should be able to login to OpenUnison using the host specified in the OU_HOST of your properties. Once you are logged in, logout. Users are created in the database "just-in-time", meaning that once you login the data representing your user is created inside of the database deployed for Orchestra.

Create First Administrator

The user you logged in as is currently unprivileged. In order for other users to login and begin requesting access to projects this first user must be enabled as an approver. Login to the MySQL database deployed for Orchestra and execute the following SQL:

insert into userGroups (userId,groupId) values (2,1);

This will add the administrator group to your user. Logout of Orchestra and log back in.

Self Request & Approve Cluster Administrator

Once SSO is enabled in the next step, you'll need a cluster administrator to be able to perform cluster level operations:

  1. Login to Orchestra
  2. Click on "Request Access" in the title bar
  3. Click on "Kubernetes Administration"
  4. Click "Add To Cart" next to "Cluster Administrator"
  5. Next to "Check Out" in the title bar you'll see a red 1, click on "Check Out"
  6. For "Supply Reason", give a reason like "Initial user" and click "Submit Request"
  7. Since you are the only approver refresh OpenUnison, you will see a red 1 next to "Open Approvals". Click on "Open Approvals"
  8. Click "Review" next to your email address
  9. Specify "Initial user" for the "Justification" and click "Approve"
  10. Click on "Confirm Approval"

At this point you will be provisioned to the k8s-cluster-administrators group in the database that has a RoleBinding to the cluster-admin Role. Logout of Orchestra and log back in. If you click on your email address in the upper left, you'll see that you have the Role k8s-cluster-administrators.

Updating Secrets and Certificates

In order to change the secrets or update certificate store:

Download the contents of openunison-secrets in the openunison namespace into an empty directory

kubectl get  secret openunison-secrets -o json  -n openunison | python /path/to/openunison-k8s-idm-oidc/src/main/python/ is a utility script for pulling the files out of secrets and config maps. Next, make your changes. You can't apply over an existing secret, so next delete the current secret:

kubectl delete secret openunison-secrets -n openunison

Finally, create the secret from the directory where you downloaded the secrets:

kubectl create secret generic openunison-secrets --from-file=. -n openunison

Redeploy Orchestra to pick up the changes. The easiest way is to update an environment variable in the openunison deployment

Whats next?

Users can now login to create namespaces, request access to cluster admin or request access to other clusters.

Now you can begin mapping OpenUnison's capabilities to your business and compliance needs. For instance you can add multi-factor authentication with TOTP or U2F, Create privileged workflows for onboarding, scheduled workflows that will deprovision users, etc.

You can’t perform that action at this time.