By default, the Gloo external auth service is enabled to use an OPA module. You can create your Rego rules as Kubernetes config maps in the cluster for more fine-grained access control. Then, you use an external auth policy to tell the Gloo external auth service to load these rules via the OPA module. This approach can be convenient for quick testing or small OPA use cases.

Other OPA options:

  • You can still load Rego rules with a Kubernetes config map to the Gloo external auth service even when you use other OPA server methods.
  • Bring your own OPA server for extended OPA capabilities such as bundling.
  • Instead of bringing your own server, you can deploy an OPA server as a sidecar to the Gloo external auth service.

Before you begin

  1. Complete the multicluster getting started guide to set up the following testing environment.

    • Three clusters along with environment variables for the clusters and their Kubernetes contexts.
    • The Gloo meshctl CLI, along with other CLI tools such as kubectl and istioctl.
    • The Gloo management server in the management cluster, and the Gloo agents in the workload clusters.
    • Istio installed in the workload clusters.
    • A simple Gloo workspace setup.
  2. Install Bookinfo and other sample apps.
  3. Make sure that the external auth service is installed and running. If not, install the external auth service in your Gloo environment.

      kubectl get pods --context $REMOTE_CONTEXT1  -A -l app=ext-auth-service

Configure an external auth policy with OPA

Create the external auth policy with OPA.

  1. Create an OPA Rego policy file.

      cat <<EOF > policy.rego
    package test
    default allow = false
    allow {
        startswith(input.http_request.path, "/ratings/2")
        input.http_request.method == "GET"
    allow {
        input.http_request.path == "/ratings/3"
        any({input.http_request.method == "GET",
            input.http_request.method == "DELETE"
    Review the following table to understand this configuration.
    default allow = falseDenies all requests by default.
    allow {...}Allows requests that match two conditions as follows. 1) The path starts with /ratings/2 AND the HTTP method is GET; or, 2) the path is exactly /ratings/3 AND the HTTP method is either GET or DELETE.
  2. Store the OPA policy in a Kubernetes config map in the workload cluster that you want to create the external auth policy in.

      kubectl -n bookinfo create configmap allow-get-users --from-file=policy.rego --context $REMOTE_CONTEXT1 
  3. Create an external auth server to use for your policy.

      kubectl apply --context $REMOTE_CONTEXT1  -f - <<EOF
    kind: ExtAuthServer
      name: ext-auth-server
      namespace: bookinfo
          number: 8083
          cluster: $REMOTE_CLUSTER1
          name: ext-auth-service
          namespace: gloo-mesh-addons
  4. Create an external auth policy that uses the OPA config map.

  kubectl apply --context ${REMOTE_CONTEXT1} -f - <<EOF
kind: ExtAuthPolicy
  name: ratings-opa
  namespace: bookinfo
  - selector:
        app: ratings
      name: ext-auth-server
      namespace: bookinfo
      cluster: $REMOTE_CLUSTER1
      - opaAuth:
          - name: allow-get-users
            namespace: bookinfo
          query: "data.test.allow == true"

Review the following table to understand this configuration. For more information, see the API reference.

applyToDestinationsUse labels to apply the policy to destinations. Destinations might be a Kubernetes service, VirtualDestination, or ExternalService (if supported by the policy). If you do not specify any destinations or routes, the policy applies to all destinations in the workspace by default. If you do not specify any destinations but you do specify a route, the policy applies to the route but to no destinations.
serverThe external auth server to use for the policy.
opaAuthConfigure the OPA authentication details.
modulesRefer to the name and namespace of the config map that has the OPA policy. Then, Gloo can use the OPA policy to use to resolve the query. This example uses the config map that you previously created.
queryThe query that determines the authentication decision. The result of this query must be either a boolean or an array with a boolean as the first element. A value of true means that the request is authorized. Any other value or error means that the request is denied. In this example, data.test.allow is set to true. data is the section in the config map. test.allow are part of the OPA policy that you previously created. Access is allowed only if the response meets the allow conditions in the policy.

Verify the external auth API key policy

  1. Send a request to the ratings app along a path that is not allowed by the OPA policy, such as /ratings/1. Now, the request is blocked with a 403 response.Create a temporary curl pod in the bookinfo namespace, so that you can test the app setup. You can also use this method in Kubernetes 1.23 or later, but an ephemeral container might be simpler.

    1. Create the curl pod.
        kubectl run -it -n httpbin --context ${REMOTE_CONTEXT1} curl --image=curlimages/curl:7.73.0 --rm  -- sh
    2. Send a request to the ratings app.
        curl http://ratings:9080/ratings/1 -v
  2. Send the request again, this time along a path that is allowed by the OPA policy, such as GET /ratings/2.

    1. Send a request to the ratings app.
        curl -v -X GET http://ratings:9080/ratings/2
    2. Exit the temporary pod. The pod deletes itself.

    You can reach the ratings app again!



You can optionally remove the resources that you set up as part of this guide.
  kubectl -n bookinfo delete ConfigMap allow-get-users --context $REMOTE_CONTEXT1 
kubectl -n bookinfo delete ExtAuthPolicy ratings-opa --context $REMOTE_CONTEXT1 
kubectl -n bookinfo delete ExtAuthServer ext-auth-server --context $REMOTE_CONTEXT1