SetupConfigure securityConfigure authenticationConfigure SAML authentication in Grafana

Configure SAML authentication in Grafana

SAML authentication integration allows your Grafana users to log in by using an external SAML 2.0 Identity Provider (IdP). To enable this, Grafana becomes a Service Provider (SP) in the authentication flow, interacting with the IdP to exchange user information.

The SAML single sign-on (SSO) standard is varied and flexible. Our implementation contains a subset of features needed to provide a smooth authentication experience into Grafana.

Note: Available in Grafana Enterprise and Grafana Cloud Pro and Advanced.

Supported SAML

Grafana supports the following SAML 2.0 bindings:

  • From the Service Provider (SP) to the Identity Provider (IdP):

    • HTTP-POST binding
    • HTTP-Redirect binding
  • From the Identity Provider (IdP) to the Service Provider (SP):

    • HTTP-POST binding

In terms of security:

  • Grafana supports signed and encrypted assertions.
  • Grafana does not support signed or encrypted requests.

In terms of initiation, Grafana supports:

  • SP-initiated requests
  • IdP-initiated requests

By default, SP-initiated requests are enabled. For instructions on how to enable IdP-initiated logins, see IdP-initiated Single Sign-On (SSO).

Edit SAML options in the Grafana config file

  1. In the [auth.saml] section in the Grafana configuration file, set enabled to true.
  2. Configure the certificate and private key.
  3. On the Okta application page where you have been redirected after application created, navigate to the Sign On tab and find Identity Provider metadata link in the Settings section.
  4. Set the idp_metadata_url to the URL obtained from the previous step. The URL should look like https://<your-org-id>.okta.com/app/<application-id>/sso/saml/metadata.
  5. Set the following options to the attribute names configured at the step 10 of the SAML integration setup. You can find this attributes on the General tab of the application page (ATTRIBUTE STATEMENTS and GROUP ATTRIBUTE STATEMENTS in the SAML Settings section).
  6. Save the configuration file and and then restart the Grafana server.

When you are finished, the Grafana configuration might look like this example:

[server]
root_url = https://grafana.example.com

[auth.saml]
enabled = true
private_key_path = "/path/to/private_key.pem"
certificate_path = "/path/to/certificate.cert"
idp_metadata_url = "https://my-org.okta.com/app/my-application/sso/saml/metadata"
assertion_attribute_name = DisplayName
assertion_attribute_login = Login
assertion_attribute_email = Email
assertion_attribute_groups = Group

Enable SAML authentication in Grafana

To use the SAML integration, in the auth.saml section of in the Grafana custom configuration file, set enabled to true.

Refer to Configuration for more information about configuring Grafana.

Certificate and private key

The SAML SSO standard uses asymmetric encryption to exchange information between the SP (Grafana) and the IdP. To perform such encryption, you need a public part and a private part. In this case, the X.509 certificate provides the public part, while the private key provides the private part. The private key needs to be issued in a PKCS#8 format.

Grafana supports two ways of specifying both the certificate and private_key.

  • Without a suffix (certificate or private_key), the configuration assumes you’ve supplied the base64-encoded file contents.
  • With the _path suffix (certificate_path or private_key_path), then Grafana treats the value entered as a file path and attempts to read the file from the file system.

Note: You can only use one form of each configuration option. Using multiple forms, such as both certificate and certificate_path, results in an error.


Example of how to generate SAML credentials:

An example of how to generate a self-signed certificate and private key that’s valid for one year:

$ openssl req -x509 -newkey rsa:4096 -keyout key.pem -out cert.pem -days 365 -nodes​

Base64-encode the cert.pem and key.pem files: (-w0 switch is not needed on Mac, only for Linux)

$ base64 -w0 key.pem > key.pem.base64
$ base64 -w0 cert.pem > cert.pem.base64

The base64-encoded values (key.pem.base64, cert.pem.base64 files) are then used for certificate and private_key.

The keys you provide should look like:

-----BEGIN PRIVATE KEY-----
...
...
-----END PRIVATE KEY-----

Set up SAML with Okta

Grafana supports user authentication through Okta, which is useful when you want your users to access Grafana using single sign on. This guide will follow you through the steps of configuring SAML authentication in Grafana with Okta. You need to be an admin in your Okta organization to access Admin Console and create SAML integration. You also need permissions to edit Grafana config file and restart Grafana server.

Before you begin:

  • To configure SAML integration with Okta, create integration inside the Okta organization first. Add integration in Okta
  • Ensure you have permission to administer SAML authentication. For more information about roles and permissions in Grafana, refer to Roles and permissions.

To set up SAML with Okta:

  1. Log in to the Okta portal.

  2. Go to the Admin Console in your Okta organization by clicking Admin in the upper-right corner. If you are in the Developer Console, then click Developer Console in the upper-left corner and then click Classic UI to switch over to the Admin Console.

  3. In the Admin Console, navigate to Applications > Applications.

  4. Click Add Application.

  5. Click Create New App to start the Application Integration Wizard.

  6. Choose Web as a platform.

  7. Select SAML 2.0 in the Sign on method section.

  8. Click Create.

  9. On the General Settings tab, enter a name for your Grafana integration. You can also upload a logo.

  10. On the Configure SAML tab, enter the SAML information related to your Grafana instance:

    • In the Single sign on URL field, use the /saml/acs endpoint URL of your Grafana instance, for example, https://grafana.example.com/saml/acs.

    • In the Audience URI (SP Entity ID) field, use the /saml/metadata endpoint URL, for example, https://grafana.example.com/saml/metadata.

    • Leave the default values for Name ID format and Application username.

    • In the ATTRIBUTE STATEMENTS (OPTIONAL) section, enter the SAML attributes to be shared with Grafana, for example:

      Attribute name (in Grafana) Value (in Okta profile)
      Login user.login
      Email user.email
      DisplayName user.firstName + " " + user.lastName
    • In the GROUP ATTRIBUTE STATEMENTS (OPTIONAL) section, enter a group attribute name (for example, Group) and set filter to Matches regex .* to return all user groups.

  11. Click Next.

  12. On the final Feedback tab, fill out the form and then click Finish.

Configure SAML authentication in Grafana

The table below describes all SAML configuration options. Continue reading below for details on specific options. Like any other Grafana configuration, you can apply these options as environment variables.

Setting Required Description Default
enabled No Whether SAML authentication is allowed false
single_logout No Whether SAML Single Logout enabled false
allow_sign_up No Whether to allow new Grafana user creation through SAML login. If set to false, then only existing Grafana users can log in with SAML. true
allow_idp_initiated No Whether SAML IdP-initiated login is allowed false
certificate or certificate_path Yes Base64-encoded string or Path for the SP X.509 certificate
private_key or private_key_path Yes Base64-encoded string or Path for the SP private key
signature_algorithm No Signature algorithm used for signing requests to the IdP. Supported values are rsa-sha1, rsa-sha256, rsa-sha512.
idp_metadata, idp_metadata_path, or idp_metadata_url Yes Base64-encoded string, Path or URL for the IdP SAML metadata XML
max_issue_delay No Duration, since the IdP issued a response and the SP is allowed to process it 90s
metadata_valid_duration No Duration, for how long the SP metadata is valid 48h
relay_state No Relay state for IdP-initiated login. Should match relay state configured in IdP
assertion_attribute_name No Friendly name or name of the attribute within the SAML assertion to use as the user name. Alternatively, this can be a template with variables that match the names of attributes within the SAML assertion. displayName
assertion_attribute_login No Friendly name or name of the attribute within the SAML assertion to use as the user login handle mail
assertion_attribute_email No Friendly name or name of the attribute within the SAML assertion to use as the user email mail
assertion_attribute_groups No Friendly name or name of the attribute within the SAML assertion to use as the user groups
assertion_attribute_role No Friendly name or name of the attribute within the SAML assertion to use as the user roles
assertion_attribute_org No Friendly name or name of the attribute within the SAML assertion to use as the user organization
allowed_organizations No List of comma- or space-separated organizations. User should be a member of at least one organization to log in.
org_mapping No List of comma- or space-separated Organization:OrgId:Role mappings. Organization can be * meaning “All users”. Role is optional and can have the following values: Viewer, Editor or Admin.
role_values_editor No List of comma- or space-separated roles which will be mapped into the Editor role
role_values_admin No List of comma- or space-separated roles which will be mapped into the Admin role
role_values_grafana_admin No List of comma- or space-separated roles which will be mapped into the Grafana Admin (Super Admin) role

Signature algorithm

Note: Available in Grafana version 7.3 and later.

The SAML standard recommends using a digital signature for some types of messages, like authentication or logout requests. If the signature_algorithm option is configured, Grafana will put a digital signature into SAML requests. Supported signature types are rsa-sha1, rsa-sha256, rsa-sha512. This option should match your IdP configuration, otherwise, signature validation will fail. Grafana uses key and certificate configured with private_key and certificate options for signing SAML requests.

IdP metadata

You also need to define the public part of the IdP for message verification. The SAML IdP metadata XML defines where and how Grafana exchanges user information.

Grafana supports three ways of specifying the IdP metadata.

  • Without a suffix idp_metadata, Grafana assumes base64-encoded XML file contents.
  • With the _path suffix, Grafana assumes a file path and attempts to read the file from the file system.
  • With the _url suffix, Grafana assumes a URL and attempts to load the metadata from the given location.

Maximum issue delay

Prevents SAML response replay attacks and internal clock skews between the SP (Grafana) and the IdP. You can set a maximum amount of time between the IdP issuing a response and the SP (Grafana) processing it.

The configuration options is specified as a duration, such as max_issue_delay = 90s or max_issue_delay = 1h.

Metadata valid duration

SP metadata is likely to expire at some point, perhaps due to a certificate rotation or change of location binding. Grafana allows you to specify for how long the metadata should be valid. Leveraging the validUntil field, you can tell consumers until when your metadata is going to be valid. The duration is computed by adding the duration to the current time.

The configuration option is specified as a duration, such as metadata_valid_duration = 48h.

Identity provider (IdP) registration

For the SAML integration to work correctly, you need to make the IdP aware of the SP.

The integration provides two key endpoints as part of Grafana:

  • The /saml/metadata endpoint, which contains the SP metadata. You can either download and upload it manually, or you make the IdP request it directly from the endpoint. Some providers name it Identifier or Entity ID.
  • The /saml/acs endpoint, which is intended to receive the ACS (Assertion Customer Service) callback. Some providers name it SSO URL or Reply URL.

IdP-initiated Single Sign-On (SSO)

Note: Available in Grafana version 7.3 and later.

By default, Grafana allows only service provider (SP) initiated logins (when the user logs in with SAML via Grafana’s login page). If you want users to log in into Grafana directly from your identity provider (IdP), set the allow_idp_initiated configuration option to true and configure relay_state with the same value specified in the IdP configuration.

IdP-initiated SSO has some security risks, so make sure you understand the risks before enabling this feature. When using IdP-initiated SSO, Grafana receives unsolicited SAML requests and can’t verify that login flow was started by the user. This makes it hard to detect whether SAML message has been stolen or replaced. Because of this, IdP-initiated SSO is vulnerable to login cross-site request forgery (CSRF) and man in the middle (MITM) attacks. We do not recommend using IdP-initiated SSO and keeping it disabled whenever possible.

Single logout

Note: Available in Grafana version 7.3 and later.

SAML’s single logout feature allows users to log out from all applications associated with the current IdP session established via SAML SSO. If the single_logout option is set to true and a user logs out, Grafana requests IdP to end the user session which in turn triggers logout from all other applications the user is logged into using the same IdP session (applications should support single logout). Conversely, if another application connected to the same IdP logs out using single logout, Grafana receives a logout request from IdP and ends the user session.

Assertion mapping

During the SAML SSO authentication flow, Grafana receives the ACS callback. The callback contains all the relevant information of the user under authentication embedded in the SAML response. Grafana parses the response to create (or update) the user within its internal database.

For Grafana to map the user information, it looks at the individual attributes within the assertion. You can think of these attributes as Key/Value pairs (although, they contain more information than that).

Grafana provides configuration options that let you modify which keys to look at for these values. The data we need to create the user in Grafana is Name, Login handle, and email.

The assertion_attribute_name option

assertion_attribute_name is a special assertion mapping that can either be a simple key, indicating a mapping to a single assertion attribute on the SAML response, or a complex template with variables using the $__saml{<attribute>} syntax. If this property is misconfigured, Grafana will log an error message on startup and disallow SAML sign-ins. Grafana will also log errors after a login attempt if a variable in the template is missing from the SAML response.

Examples

#plain string mapping
assertion_attribute_name = displayName
#template mapping
assertion_attribute_name = $__saml{firstName} $__saml{lastName}

Allow new user signups

By default, new Grafana users using SAML authentication will have an account created for them automatically. To decouple authentication and account creation and ensure only users with existing accounts can log in with SAML, set the allow_sign_up option to false.

Configure team sync

Note: Team sync support for SAML is available in Grafana version 7.0 and later.

To use SAML Team sync, set assertion_attribute_groups to the attribute name where you store user groups. Then Grafana will use attribute values extracted from SAML assertion to add user into the groups with the same name configured on the External group sync tab.

Learn more about Team Sync

Configure role sync

Note: Available in Grafana version 7.0 and later.

Role sync allows you to map user roles from an identity provider to Grafana. To enable role sync, configure role attribute and possible values for the Editor, Admin, and Grafana Admin roles. For more information about user roles, refer to Roles and permissions.

  1. In the configuration file, set assertion_attribute_role option to the attribute name where the role information will be extracted from.
  2. Set the role_values_editor option to the values mapped to the Editor role.
  3. Set the role_values_admin option to the values mapped to the organization Admin role.
  4. Set the role_values_grafana_admin option to the values mapped to the Grafana Admin role.

If a user role doesn’t match any of configured values, then the Viewer role will be assigned.

For more information about roles and permissions in Grafana, refer to Roles and permissions.

Example configuration:

[auth.saml]
assertion_attribute_role = role
role_values_editor = editor, developer
role_values_admin = admin, operator
role_values_grafana_admin = superadmin

Important: When role sync is configured, any changes of user roles and organization membership made manually in Grafana will be overwritten on next user login. Assign user organizations and roles in the IdP instead.

Configure organization mapping

Note: Available in Grafana version 7.0 and later.

Organization mapping allows you to assign users to particular organization in Grafana depending on attribute value obtained from identity provider.

  1. In configuration file, set assertion_attribute_org to the attribute name you store organization info in. This attribute can be an array if you want a user to be in multiple organizations.
  2. Set org_mapping option to the comma-separated list of Organization:OrgId pairs to map organization from IdP to Grafana organization specified by id. If you want users to have different roles in multiple organizations, you can set this option to a comma-separated list of Organization:OrgId:Role mappings.

For example, use following configuration to assign users from Engineering organization to the Grafana organization with id 2 as Editor and users from Sales - to the org with id 3 as Admin, based on Org assertion attribute value:

[auth.saml]
assertion_attribute_org = Org
org_mapping = Engineering:2:Editor, Sales:3:Admin

You can specify multiple organizations both for the IdP and Grafana:

  • org_mapping = Engineering:2, Sales:2 to map users from Engineering and Sales to 2 in Grafana.
  • org_mapping = Engineering:2, Engineering:3 to assign Engineering to both 2 and 3 in Grafana.

You can use * as an Organization if you want all your users to be in some organizations with a default role:

  • org_mapping = *:2:Editor to map all users to 2 in Grafana as Editors.

Configure allowed organizations

Note: Available in Grafana version 7.0 and later.

With the allowed_organizations option you can specify a list of organizations where the user must be a member of at least one of them to be able to log in to Grafana.

Example SAML configuration

[auth.saml]
enabled = true
certificate_path = "/path/to/certificate.cert"
private_key_path = "/path/to/private_key.pem"
idp_metadata_path = "/my/metadata.xml"
max_issue_delay = 90s
metadata_valid_duration = 48h
assertion_attribute_name = displayName
assertion_attribute_login = mail
assertion_attribute_email = mail

assertion_attribute_groups = Group
assertion_attribute_role = Role
assertion_attribute_org = Org
role_values_editor = editor, developer
role_values_admin = admin, operator
role_values_grafana_admin = superadmin
org_mapping = Engineering:2:Editor, Engineering:3:Viewer, Sales:3:Editor, *:1:Editor
allowed_organizations = Engineering, Sales

Troubleshoot SAML authentication in Grafana

To troubleshoot and get more log information, enable SAML debug logging in the configuration file. Refer to Configuration for more information.

[log]
filters = saml.auth:debug

Known issues

SAML authentication fails with error:

  • asn1: structure error: tags don't match

We only support one private key format: PKCS#8.

The keys may be in a different format (PKCS#1 or PKCS#12); in that case, it may be necessary to convert the private key format.

The following command creates a pkcs8 key file.

$ openssl req -x509 -newkey rsa:4096 -keyout key.pem -out cert.pem -days 365 -nodes​

Convert the private key format to base64

The following command converts keys to base64 format.

Base64-encode the cert.pem and key.pem files: (-w0 switch is not needed on Mac, only for Linux)

$ base64 -w0 key.pem > key.pem.base64
$ base64 -w0 cert.pem > cert.pem.base64

The base64-encoded values (key.pem.base64, cert.pem.base64 files) are then used for certificate and private_key.

The keys you provide should look like:

-----BEGIN PRIVATE KEY-----
...
...
-----END PRIVATE KEY-----