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# CloudFoundry User Account and Authentication (UAA) Server

The UAA is the identity management service for Cloud Foundry. It's primary role is as an OAuth2 provider, issuing tokens for client applications to use when they act on behalf of Cloud Foundry users. It can also authenticate users with their Cloud Foundry credentials, and can act as an SSO service using those credentials (or others). It has endpoints for managing user accounts and for registering OAuth2 clients, as well as various other management functions.


  • Team:
    • Dale Olds (
    • Dave Syer (
    • Luke Taylor (
    • Joel D'Sa (
    • Vidya Valmikinathan
  • Technical forum: vcap-dev google group
  • Docs: docs/

Quick Start

If this works you are in business:

$ git clone
$ cd uaa
$ mvn install

Each module has a mvn tomcat:run target to run individually, or you could import them as projects into STS (use 2.8.0 or better if you can). The apps all work together the apps running on the same port (8080) as /uaa, /app and /api. You can probably use Maven 2.2.1 to build the code, but you need to use Maven 3 if you want to run the server from the command line (or run integration tests).

Deploy to Cloud Foundry

You can also build the app and push it to Cloud Foundry, e.g.

$ mvn install
$ vmc push myuaa --path uaa/target

(If you do that, choose a unique application id, not 'myuaa'.)

Demo of command line usage on local server

First run the UAA server as described above:

$ cd uaa
$ mvn tomcat:run

Then start another terminal and from the project base directory, ask the login endpoint to tell you about the system:

$ curl -H "Accept: application/json" localhost:8080/uaa/login

Then you can try logging in with the UAA ruby gem. Make sure you have ruby 1.9, and bundler installed, then

$ cd gem/; bundle
$ ./bin/uaac target http://localhost:8080/uaa vmc
$ ./bin/uaac login implicit marissa koala

(or leave out the username / password to be prompted).

This authenticates and obtains an access token from the server using the OAuth2 implicit grant, similar to the approach intended for a client like VMC. The token is stored in ~/.uuac.yml, so dig into that file and pull out the access token for your vmc target (or use --verbose on the login command line above to see it logged to your console).

Then you can login as a resource server and retrieve the token details:

$ ./bin/uaac target http://localhost:8080/uaa app
$ ./bin/uaac login token [token-value-from-above]

You will be prompted for the client secret (appclientsecret), and then you should see your username and the client id of the original token grant on stdout, e.g.

id: 6e1ac414-f446-4869-9b41-41f1f41b96df
-   tokens
-   openid
-   cloud_controller
-   password
expires-at: 1339120767
-   read
-   write
-   openid
-   password
expires-in: 43158
-   uaa.user
user-id: marissa
client-id: vmc
token-id: 90162e5c-228d-4620-b457-83e2d591eedf

Demo of command line usage on

The same command line example should work against a UAA running on (except for the token decoding bit because you won't have the client secret). In this case, there is no need to run a local uaa server, so simply ask the external login endpoint to tell you about the system:

$ curl -H "Accept: application/json"

You can then try logging in with the UAA ruby gem. Make sure you have ruby 1.9, and bundler installed, then

$ cd gem/; bundle
$ ./bin/uaac target vmc
$ ./bin/uaac login implicit [yourusername] [yourpassword]

(or leave out the username / password to be prompted).

This authenticates and obtains an access token from the server using the OAuth2 implicit grant, the same as used by a client like VMC.

Integration tests

With all apps deployed into a running server on port 8080 the tests will include integration tests (a check is done before each test that the app is running). You can deploy them in your IDE or using the command line with mvn tomcat:run and then run the tests as normal.

For individual modules, or for the whole project, you can also run integration tests and the server from the command line in one go with

$ mvn test -P integration

(This might require an initial mvn install from the parent directory to get the wars in your local repo first.)

To make the tests work in various environments you can modify the configuration of the server and the tests (e.g. the admin client) using a variety of mechanisms. The simplest is to provide additional Maven profiles on the command line, e.g.

$ (cd uaa; mvn test -P vcap)

will run the integration tests against a uaa server running in a local vcap, so for example the service URL is set to (by default). There are several Maven profiles to play with, and they can be used to run the server, or the tests or both:

  • local: runs the server on the ROOT context http://localhost:8080/

  • vcap: also runs the server on the ROOT context and points the tests at

  • devuaa: points the tests at (an instance of UAA deployed on cloudfoundry).

All these profiles set the CLOUD_FOUNDRY_CONFIG_PATH to pick up a uaa.yml and (if appropriate) set the context root for running the server (see below for more detail on that).


There is a really simple cucumber feature spec (--tag @uaa) to verify that the UAA server is there. There is also a rake task to launch the integration tests from the uaa submodule in vcap. Typical usage for a local ( instance:

$ cd vcap/tests
$ rake bvt:run_uaa

You can change the most common important settings with environment variables (see below), or with a custom uaa.yml. N.B. MAVEN_OPTS cannot be used to set JVM system properties for the tests, but it can be used to set memory limits for the process etc.

Custom YAML Configuration

To modify the runtime parameters you can provide a uaa.yml, e.g.

$ cat > /tmp/uaa.yml
    username: # defaults to
    password: changeme

then from vcap-tests

$ CLOUD_FOUNDRY_CONFIG_PATH=/tmp rake bvt:run_uaa

or from uaa/uaa


The integration tests look for a Yaml file in the following locations (later entries override earlier ones), and the webapp does the same when it starts up so you can use the same config file for both:


Using Maven with Cloud Foundry or VCAP

To test against a vcap instance use the Maven profile vcap (it switches off some of the tests that create random client and user accounts):

$ (cd uaa; mvn test -P vcap)

To change the target server it should suffice to set VCAP_BVT_TARGET (the tests prefix it with uaa. to form the server url), e.g.

$ mvn test -P vcap

You can also override some of the other most important default settings using environment variables. The defaults as usual come from uaa.yml but tests will search first in an environment variable:

  • UAA_ADMIN_CLIENT_ID the client id for bootstrapping client registrations needed for the rest of the tests.

  • UAA_ADMIN_CLIENT_SECRET the client secret for bootstrapping client registrations

All other settings from uaa.yml can be overridden individually as system properties. Running in an IDE this is easy just using whatever features allow you to modify the JVM in test runs, but using Maven you have to use the argLine property to get settings passed onto the test JVM, e.g.

$ mvn -DargLine=-Duaa.test.username=foo test

will create an account with userName=foo for testing (instead using the default setting from uaa.yml).

If you prefer environment variables to system properties you can use a custom uaa.yml with placeholders for your environment variables, e.g.

    username: ${UAA_TEST_USERNAME:marissa}

will look for an environment variable (or system property) UAA_TEST_USERNAME before defaulting to marissa. This is the trick used to expose UAA_ADMIN_CLIENT_SECRET etc. in the standard configuration.


There are actually several projects here, the main uaa server application and some samples:

  1. common is a module containing a JAR with all the business logic. It is used in the webapps below.

  2. uaa is the actual UAA server

  3. gem is a ruby gem (cf-uaa-client) for interacting with the UAA server

  4. api (sample) is an OAuth2 resource service which returns a mock list of deployed apps

  5. app (sample) is a user application that uses both of the above

  6. login (sample) is an application that performs authentication for the UAA acting as a back end service

In CloudFoundry terms

  • uaa provides an authentication service plus authorized delegation for back-end services and apps (by issuing OAuth2 access tokens).

  • api is - it's a service which provides resources which other applications may wish to access on behalf of the resource owner (the end user).

  • app is or - a webapp that needs single sign on and access to the api service on behalf of users.

  • login is where Cloud Foundry administrators set up their authentication sources, e.g. LDAP/AD, SAML, OpenID (Google etc.) or social.

UAA Server

The authentication service is uaa. It's a plain Spring MVC webapp. Deploy as normal in Tomcat or your container of choice, or execute mvn tomcat:run to run it directly from uaa directory in the source tree (make sure the common jar is installed first using mvn install from the common subdirectory or from the top level directory). When running with maven it listens on port 8080.

The UAA Server supports the APIs defined in the UAA-APIs document. To summarise:

  1. The OAuth2 /authorize and /token endpoints

  2. A /login_info endpoint to allow querying for required login prompts

  3. A /check_token endpoint, to allow resource servers to obtain information about an access token submitted by an OAuth2 client.

  4. SCIM user provisioning endpoint

  5. OpenID connect endpoints to support authentication /userinfo and /check_id (todo). Implemented roughly enough to get it working (so /app authenticates here), but not to meet the spec.

Authentication can be performed by command line clients by submitting credentials directly to the /authorize endpoint (as described in UAA-API doc). There is an ImplicitAccessTokenProvider in Spring Security OAuth that can do the heavy lifting if your client is Java.

By default uaa will launch with a context root /uaa. There is a Maven profile local to launch with context root /, and another called vcap to launch at / with a postgresql backend.


There is a uaa.yml in the application which provides defaults to the placeholders in the Spring XML. Wherever you see ${} in the XML there is an opportunity to override it either by providing a System property (-D to JVM) with the same name, or a custom uaa.yml (as described above).

All passwords and client secrets in the config files are plain text, but they will be inserted into the UAA database encrypted with BCrypt.

User Account Data

The default is to use an in-memory RDBMS user store that is pre-populated with a single test users: marissa has password koala.

To use Postgresql for user data, activate one of the Spring profiles hsqldb or postgresql.

The active profiles can be configured in uaa.yml using

spring_profiles: postgresql

or by passing the parameter to the JVM. For, example to run with an embedded HSQL database:

 mvn tomcat:run

Or to use PostgreSQL instead of HSQL:

 mvn tomcat:run

To bootstrap a microcloud type environment you need an admin client. For this there is a database initializer component that inserts an admin client. If the default profile is active (i.e. not postgresql) there is also a vmc client so that the gem login works out of the box. You can override the default settings and add additional clients in uaa.yml:

      authorized-grant-types: client_credentials
      scope: read,write,password
      authorities: ROLE_CLIENT,ROLE_ADIN
      id: admin
      secret: adminclientsecret
      resource-ids: clients

The admin client can be used to create additional clients (but not to do anything much else). A client with read/write access to the scim resource will be needed to create user accounts. The integration tests take care of this automatically, inserting client and user accounts as necessary to make the tests work.

The API Application

An example resource server. It hosts a service which returns a list of mock applications under /apps.

Run it using mvn tomcat:run from the api directory (once all other tomcat processes have been shutdown). This will deploy the app to a Tomcat manager on port 8080.

The App Application

This is a user interface app (primarily aimed at browsers) that uses OpenId Connect for authentication (i.e. SSO) and OAuth2 for access grants. It authenticates with the Auth service, and then accesses resources in the API service. Run it with mvn tomcat:run from the app directory (once all other tomcat processes have been shutdown).

The application can operate in multiple different profiles according to the location (and presence) of the UAA server and the Login application. By default it will look for a UAA on localhost:8080/uaa, but you can change this by setting an environment variable (or System property) called UAA_PROFILE. In the application source code (src/main/resources) you will find multiple properties files pre-configured with different likely locations for those servers. They are all in the form application-<UAA_PROFILE>.properties and the naming convention adopted is that the UAA_PROFILE is local for the localhost deployment, vcap for a deployment, staging for a staging deployment (inside VMware VPN), etc. The profile names are double barrelled (e.g. local-vcap when the login server is in a different location than the UAA server).

Use Cases

  1. See all apps

     GET /app/apps

    browser is redirected through a series of authentication and access grant steps (which could be slimmed down to implicit steps not requiring user at some point), and then the photos are shown.

  2. See the currently logged in user details, a bag of attributes grabbed from the open id provider

     GET /app

The Login Application

A user interface for authentication. The UAA can also authenticate user accounts, but only if it manages them itself, and it only provides a basic UI. The Login app can be branded and customized for non-native authentication and for more complicate UI flows, like user registration and password reset.

The login application is actually itself an OAuth2 endpoint provider, but delegates those features to the UAA server. Configuration for the login application therefore consists of locating the UAA through its OAuth2 endpoint URLs, and registering the login application itself as a client of the UAA. There is a login.yml for the UAA locations, e.g. for a local vcap instance:


and there is an environment variable (or Java System property), LOGIN_SECRET for the client secret that the app uses when it authenticates itself with the UAA. The Login app is registered by default in the UAA only if there are no active Spring profiles (so not at all in vcap). In the UAA you can find the registration in the oauth-clients.xml config file. Here's a summary:

id: login
secret: loginsecret
authorized-grant-types: client_credentials
authorities: ROLE_LOGIN
resource-ids: oauth

Use Cases

  1. Authenticate

     GET /login

    The sample app presents a form login interface for the backend UAA, and also an OpenID widget so the user can authenticate using Google etc. credentials.

  2. Approve OAuth2 token grant

     GET /oauth/authorize?client_id=app&response_type=code...

    Standard OAuth2 Authorization Endpoint. Client credentials and all other features are handled by the UAA in the back end, and the login application is used to render the UI (see access_confirmation.jsp).

  3. Obtain access token

     POST /oauth/token

    Standard OAuth2 Authorization Endpoint passed through to the UAA.

File a Bug

To file a bug against Cloud Foundry Open Source and its components, sign up and use our bug tracking system: