Charmed Kubeflow uses Dex for authentication. Dex allows for pluggable authentication against many different identity providers, while presenting a unified OpenId Connect (OIDC) interface.

Auth Flow

The authentication flow for an unauthenticated request consists of these steps:

  • User makes an unauthenticated request
    • Redirected to /dex
  • User logs in via Dex
  • Redirected to gatekeeper callback endpoint
    • Sets a cookie with auth token for future requests
  • Redirected back to original page, with authorization token

Unauthenticated Request

The flow of an unauthenticated request is shown here:


  • A user makes a request that goes through Ambassador
  • Ambassador checks with the gatekeeper service before allowing any request to go through
  • The gatekeeper service responds to Ambassador that the request is unauthenticated, and a redirect URL
  • Ambassador returns an HTTP 301 redirecting user to Dex

Logging In


  • User makes request to /dex
  • Ambassador is configured to not check with the gatekeeper for requests to /dex
  • Dex presents a login page to the user
  • The user submits their credentials
  • Dex uses the configured connector to authenticate the user against an external auth service
    • Dex may also be configured with basic username/password support. This is the default in Charmed Kubeflow.
    • See the dex configuration section for more information on how to configure Dex with other connectors.
  • Dex redirects the user to a callback URL managed by the gatekeeper

Receive Token


  • User makes request to callback URL
  • Ambassador sends request to gatekeeper service
  • Gatekeeper service generates JWT token in the Set-Cookie response header

Authenticated Request


  • User makes authenticated request
  • Ambassador checks with the gatekeeper service to see if request is authenticated
  • Gatekeeper service affirms request is authenticated by looking at JWT token
  • Ambassador communicates with Kubeflow service for requested endpoint
  • Ambassador returns requested endpoint to user

Configuring Dex

Dex presents a unified OIDC interface that is capable of authenticating against many different backend authentication services. See the Dex README section on Connectors for a complete list.

By default, Dex is configured with a basic username/password combo. These values can be displayed with:

juju config dex-auth static-username
juju config dex-auth static-password

If you would like to configure dex to use a different connector, start by disabling the default username/password:

juju config dex-auth static-username='' static-password=''

Then, configure the connectors you wish to use:

juju config dex-auth connectors="$CONNECTOR_YAML"

Where $CONNECTOR_YAML is a YAML list of connector configurations. The complete list of available connector configurations can be found here:

As an example connector configuration, this is what you might use for $CONNECTOR_YAML to configure Dex to authenticate against an OpenLDAP server:

    "id": "ldap",
    "name": "OpenLDAP",
    "type": "ldap",
    "config": {
        "bindDN": "cn=admin,dc=example,dc=org",
        "bindPW": "admin",
        "groupSearch": {
            "baseDN": "cn=admin,dc=example,dc=org",
            "filter": "",
            "groupAttr": "DN",
            "nameAttr": "cn",
            "userAttr": "DN"
        "host": "ldap-service.auth.svc.cluster.local:389",
        "insecureNoSSL": true,
        "userSearch": {
            "baseDN": "cn=admin,dc=example,dc=org",
            "emailAttr": "DN",
            "filter": "",
            "idAttr": "DN",
            "nameAttr": "cn",
            "username": "cn"
        "usernamePrompt": "Email Address"

Last updated 1 year, 5 months ago.