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Manual Chapter: BIG-IP System Federation for SP-Initiated Connections
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Overview: Federating BIG-IP systems for SAML SSO (without an SSO portal)

In a federation of BIG-IP® systems, one BIG-IP system acts as a SAML Identity Provider (IdP) and other BIG-IP systems act as SAML service providers (SPs).

This configuration supports:

  • Only those connections that initiate at a service provider.
  • Only service providers that accept assertions with similar subject type, attributes, and security settings.

About SAML IdP discovery

On a BIG-IP® system that you use as a SAML service provider (SP), you can bind an SP service to one or more SAML Identity Provider (IdP) connectors (each of which specifies an external IdP). When you bind an SP service to multiple IdP connectors, Access Policy Manager® chooses the correct IdP connector at run time through a filtering and matching process called IdP discovery.

Scenario

You might bind multiple IdP connectors to an SP service on the BIG-IP system when you must provide services to different businesses and universities, each of which specifies an IdP to identify their users. When the user's information arrives at the SP service on the BIG-IP system, the SP service identifies the correct IdP and redirects the user to authenticate against that IdP before the SP service provides access to the service.

Note: The SP service performs IdP discovery for a user only when the user initiates connection from an SP.

Session variables and the typical access policy for BIG-IP system as SP

On a BIG-IP system configured as an SP, the typical access policy presents a logon page to the user. The Logon Page action populates session variables. You can customize the Logon Page action and affect session variable values. A SAML Auth action follows the logon page.

Example typical access policy on BIG-IP system as SAML SP

A SAML Auth action specifies an SP service. An SP service is an AAA service that requests authentication from an external IdP (specified in an IdP connector).

Session variables and SAML IdP discovery

Among multiple IdP connectors, the BIG-IP system must discover the correct external IdP with which to authenticate a user. For IdP discovery to work, you must specify matching criteria, a session variable name and value, for each IdP connector.

For example, users of a service might go to a particular landing page. When you bind the IdP connector, for the external IdP that serves those users, to the SP service, select the %{session.server.landinguri} session variable and supply a landing path value, such as, /south*. For users going to URLs such as https://sp-service/southwest and https://sp-service/southeast, the SP service selects the same IdP to authenticate them.

Logon Page action customization

These are some common customization examples for the Logon Page action.

Example typical access policy on BIG-IP system as SAML SP

Setting the value of session.logon.last.domain variable to the domain name only

Select Yes for Split domain from full Username. The Logon Page agent takes the user name, such as joe@office.com, that was entered and creates the following session variables with these values.
Session Variable Value
%{session.logon.last.username} joe
%{session.logon.last.domain} office.com
%{session.logon.last.logonname} joe@office.com
Example typical access policy on BIG-IP system as SAML SP

Obtaining and email address as the username

Change the prompt for the first text field (username field). To omit the password: for Type, select none from the list.

About local IdP service

A SAML IdP service is a type of single sign-on (SSO) authentication service in Access Policy Manager® (APM®). When you use a BIG-IP® system as a SAML identity provider (IdP), a SAML IdP service provides SSO authentication for external SAML service providers (SPs). You must bind a SAML IdP service to SAML SP connectors, each of which specifies an external SP. APM responds to authentication requests from the service providers and produces assertions for them.

About SP connectors

A SAML service provider connector (an SP connector) specifies how a BIG-IP® system, configured as a SAML Identity Provider (IdP), connects with an external service provider.

What are the available ways I can configure a SAML SP connector?

You can use one or more of these methods to configure SAML service provider (SP) connectors in Access Policy Manager®.

  • From metadata - Obtain a metadata file from the vendor and import it into Access Policy Manager. The advantage to this method is that the vendor provides the majority of all required data, including certificates. You can complete the configuration by simply typing a unique name for the SP connector, a very few additional required fields, and browsing to and importing the file. Access Policy Manager then configures the SP connector.
  • From template - Use templates that Access Policy Manager provides for some vendors; for example, Google. The advantages to this method are that:
    • Most required data is included in the template
    • Additional required data is minimal. You can obtain it and certificates from the vendor
    After you select a template and type data into a few fields, Access Policy Manager configures the SP connector.
  • Custom - Obtain information from the vendor and type the settings into the Configuration utility. To use this method, you must also obtain certificates from the vendor and import them into the BIG-IP® system. Use this method when a metadata file or a template for an SP connector is not available.

About local SP service

A SAML SP service is a type of AAA service in Access Policy Manager® (APM® ). It requests authentication from an external SAML Identity Provider (IdP) that is specified on APM in a SAML IdP connector. (You bind a SAML service provider (SP) service to one or more SAML IdP connectors.) APM requests authentication from an IdP and consumes assertions from it to allow access to resources behind APM.

About IdP connectors

An IdP connector specifies how a BIG-IP® system, configured as a SAML service provider (SP), connects with an external SAML identity provider (IdP).

About methods for configuring SAML IdP connectors in APM

You can use one or more of these methods to configure SAML identity provider (IdP) connectors in Access Policy Manager® (APM®).

  • From metadata - Obtain a metadata file from the vendor and import it into APM. The advantage to this method is that the vendor provides all required data, including the certificate. You can complete the configuration by simply typing a unique name for the identity provider, and browsing to and importing the file. APM imports the certificate to the BIG-IP® system and configures the SAML IdP connector.
  • From template - Use templates that APM provides for some vendors. The advantages to this method are that:
    • Most required data is included in the template. (Note that the certificate is not included.)
    • Additional required data is minimal and is available from the vendor.
    APM configures the SAML IdP connector. You must obtain a certificate from the vendor and import it into the BIG-IP system.
  • Custom - Research the identity provider requirements and type all settings into the Configuration utility. Use this method when a metadata file or a template for an identity provider is not available. APM configures the SAML IdP connector. You must obtain a certificate from the vendor and import it into the BIG-IP system.
  • IdP Automation - Provide files with cumulative IdP metadata on remote systems, then configure BIG-IP IdP automation to poll the files periodically and create IdP connectors and bind them to a specific service provider (SP) service.

Task summary

Setting up SAML federation for BIG-IP® systems involves three major activities:

  • First, you set up one BIG-IP system as a SAML identity provider (IdP) system
  • Next, you set up one or more BIG-IP systems as a SAML service provider (SP)
  • Last, you go back to the IdP system and set up connectivity to the SP systems

Task list

Flowchart: BIG-IP system federation configuration

This flowchart illustrates the process for configuring BIG-IP® systems in federation without providing an SSO portal.

configuration flow for  SAML federation of BIG-IP systems

Setting up a BIG-IP system as a SAML IdP

You log in to the BIG-IP® system that you have selected to act as the SAML Identity Provider (IdP) so that you can configure elements that are required for SAML federation.
Log on to the BIG-IP system that you have selected to act as the SAML IdP in a SAML federation of BIG-IP systems.

Creating a virtual server for a BIG-IP (as SAML IdP) system

Before you start this task, configure a client SSL profile and a server SSL profile if you are going to create an SSL virtual server.
Note: Access Policy Manager® supports using a non-SSL virtual server for the BIG-IP® system configured as a SAML Identity Provider (IdP). However, we recommend using an SSL virtual server for security reasons. The following procedures include steps that are required for configuring an SSL virtual server, such as selecting client and server SSL profiles, and setting the service port to HTTPS.
Specify a host virtual server to use as the SAML IdP.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Virtual Servers .
    The Virtual Server List screen opens.
  2. Click the Create button.
    The New Virtual Server screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the virtual server.
  4. In the Destination Address field, type the IP address for a host virtual server.
    This field accepts an address in CIDR format (IP address/prefix). However, when you type the complete IP address for a host, you do not need to type a prefix after the address.
  5. In the Service Port field, type 443 or select HTTPS from the list.
  6. For the HTTP Profile setting, verify that the default HTTP profile, http, is selected.
  7. For the SSL Profile (Client) setting, from the Available list, select the name of the Client SSL profile you previously created and move the name to the Selected list.
  8. For the SSL Profile (Server) setting, from the Available list, select the name of the Server SSL profile you previously created and move the name to the Selected list.
  9. Click Finished.
The virtual server for the BIG-IP system configured as an IdP now appears on the Virtual Server List. The virtual server destination is available for use in one or more SAML IdP service configurations.

Configuring an artifact resolution service

Before you configure the artifact resolution service (ARS), you need to have configured a virtual server. That virtual server can be the same as the one used for the SAML Identity Provider (IdP), or you can create an additional virtual server.
Note: F5® highly recommends that the virtual server definition include a server SSL profile.
You configure an ARS so that a BIG-IP® system that is configured as a SAML IdP can provide SAML artifacts in place of assertions. With ARS, the BIG-IP system can receive Artifact Resolve Requests (ARRQ) from service providers, and provide Artifact Resolve Responses (ARRP) for them.
  1. On the Main tab, click Access > Federation > SAML Identity Provider > Artifact Resolution Services .
  2. Click Create.
    The Create New SAML Artifact Resolution Service popup screen opens, showing general settings.
  3. In the Name field, type a name for the artifact resolution service.
  4. In the Description field, type a new description.
  5. Click Service Settings.
  6. From the Virtual Server list, select the virtual server that you created previously.
    ARS listens on the IP address and port configured on the virtual server.
  7. In the Artifact Validity (Seconds) field, type the number of seconds for which the artifact remains valid. The default is 60 seconds.
    The BIG-IP® system deletes the artifact if the number of seconds exceeds the artifact validity number.
  8. For the Send Method setting, select the binding to use to send the artifact, either POST or Redirect.
  9. In the Host field, type the host name defined for the virtual server, for example ars.siterequest.com.
  10. In the Port field, type the port number defined in the virtual server. The default is 443.
  11. Click Security Settings.
  12. To require that artifact resolution messages from an SP be signed, select the Sign Artifact Resolution Request check box.
  13. To use HTTP Basic authentication for artifact resolution request messages, in the User Name field, type a name for the artifact resolution service request and in the Password field, type a password.
    These credentials must be present in all Artifact Resolve Requests sent to this ARS.
  14. Click OK.
    The popup screen closes, leaving the Artifact Resolution Services list screen open.
The Artifact Resolution Service is ready for use.

Configuring a SAML IdP service

Configure a SAML Identity Provider (IdP) service for the BIG-IP® system, configured as a SAML IdP, to provide authentication service for SAML service providers (SPs).
Note: Configure this IdP service to meet the requirements of all SAML service providers that you bind with it.
  1. On the Main tab, click Access > Federation > SAML Identity Provider .
    The Local IdP Services screen opens.
  2. Click Create.
    The Create New IdP Service popup screen displays.
  3. In the IdP Service Name field, type a unique name for the SAML IdP service.
  4. In the IdP Entity ID field, type a unique identifier for the IdP (this BIG-IP® system).
    Typically, the ID is a URI that points to the BIG-IP virtual server that is going to act as a SAML IdP. If the entity ID is not a valid URL, the Host field is required.
    For example, type https://siterequest.com/idp, where the path points to the virtual server you use for BIG-IP system as a SAML IdP.
  5. If the IdP Entity ID field does not contain a valid URI, you must provide one in the IdP Name Settings area:
    1. From the Scheme list select https or http.
    2. In the Host field, type a host name.
      For example, type siterequest.com in the Host field.
  6. From the Log Setting list, select one of the following options:
    • Select an existing APM log setting.
    • Click Create to create a new log setting.

  7. If you select SAML Profiles on the left pane, the Web Browser SSO check box is selected by default.
    At least one profile must be selected.
  8. To specify that this IdP use an artifact resolution service, click Endpoint Settings on the left pane and select a service from the Artifact Resolution Service list.
  9. On the left pane, select Assertion Settings and complete the settings that display:
    1. From the Assertion Subject Type list, select the type of subject for the IdP to authenticate.
    2. From the Assertion Subject Value list, select the name of a session variable.
      This variable, %{session.logon.last.username}, is generally applicable. Some session variables are applicable depending on the type of authentication that you use for your site.
    3. In the Authentication Context Class Reference field, select a URI reference.
      The URI reference identifies an authentication context class that describes an authentication context declaration.
    4. In the Assertion Validity (in seconds) field, type the number of seconds for which the assertion is valid.
    5. To encrypt the subject, select the Enable encryption of Subject check box.
      The Encryption Strength list becomes available.
    6. From the Encryption Strength list, select a value.
      Supported values are AES128, AES192, and AES256.
  10. On the left pane, select SAML Attributes, and for each attribute that you want to include in the attribute statement, repeat these substeps.
    1. Click Add.
      A Create New SAML Attribute popup screen displays.
    2. In the Name field, type a unique name for the attribute.
      Usually, the name is a fixed string, but it can be a session variable.
    3. To add a value to the attribute, click Add, type a value in the Value(s) field, and click Update to complete the addition.
      You can use a session variable for the value.
      This example shows using a fixed string for the name and a session variable for the value. Name: user_telephonenumber and value: %{session.ad.last.attr.telephoneNumber}.
      You can repeat this step to add multiple values for an attribute.
    4. To encrypt the values, select the Encrypt check box and select a value from the Type list.
      Supported values for type are AES128, AES192, and AES256.
    5. Click OK.
      The Create New SAML Attribute popup screen closes.
  11. Click Security Settings from the left pane.
    1. From the Signing Key list, select the key from the BIG-IP system store.
      None is selected by default.
    2. From the Signing Certificate list, select the certificate from the BIG-IP system store.
      When selected, the IdP (the BIG-IP system) publishes this certificate to the service provider so the service provider can verify the assertion. None is selected by default.
  12. Click OK.
    The popup screen closes. The new IdP service appears on the list.
Access Policy Manager® (APM®) creates a SAML IdP service. It is available to bind to SAML SP connectors. This service works with external service providers that share the same requirements for assertion settings and SAML attribute settings.

Exporting SAML IdP metadata from APM

You need to convey the SAML Identity Provider (IdP) metadata from Access Policy Manager® (APM®) to the external service providers that use the SAML IdP service. Exporting the IdP metadata for a SAML IdP service to a file provides you with the information that you need to do this.
  1. On the Main tab, click Access > Federation > SAML Identity Provider .
    The Local IdP Services screen opens.
  2. Select a SAML IdP service from the table and click Export Metadata.
    A popup screen opens, with No selected on the Sign Metadata list.
  3. For APM to sign the metadata, perform these steps:
    1. From the Sign Metadata list, select Yes.
    2. From the Signing Key list, select a key.
      APM uses the key to sign the metadata.
    3. From the Signature Verification Certificate list, select a certificate.
      APM exports the certificate to the metadata file. The system on which you import the metadata file can use the certificate to verify the metadata signature.
  4. Select OK.
    APM downloads an XML file.
An XML file that contains IdP metadata is available.

Setting up a BIG-IP system as a SAML service provider system

You log in once to each BIG-IP® system that you have selected to act as a SAML service provider so that you can configure the elements on it that are required for federation with other BIG-IP systems, one of which functions as an SAML IdP.
Log on to a BIG-IP system that you have selected to act as a SAML SP in a federation of BIG-IP systems.

Configuring an IdP connector from IdP metadata

Locate the SAML IdP metadata file that you exported from the BIG-IP® system (as IdP). If the metadata file is signed, obtain the certificate also; import it into the BIG-IP system store on this device.
Import IdP metadata to create a SAML IdP connector on this BIG-IP system. The SAML IdP connector enables this BIG-IP system to connect and exchange information with the external BIG-IP system that acts as the IdP in the SAML federation.
  1. On the menu bar, expand SAML Service Provider and click External IdP Connectors.
    The External IdP Connectors screen displays.
  2. Select Create > From Metadata .
    The Create New SAML IdP Connector screen opens.
  3. In the Select File field, browse to and select the metadata file for the IdP.
  4. In the Identity Provider Name field, type a unique name for the IdP.
  5. If the metadata is signed, select a certificate from the Select Signing Certificate list.
  6. Click OK.
    The file is uploaded, the SAML IdP connector is created, and the screen closes.
The SAML IdP connector is displayed on the SAML IdP Connectors list.

Creating a virtual server for a BIG-IP (as SAML SP) system

Specify a host virtual server to use as the SAML SP.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Virtual Servers .
    The Virtual Server List screen opens.
  2. Click the Create button.
    The New Virtual Server screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the virtual server.
  4. In the Destination Address field, type the IP address for a host virtual server.
    This field accepts an address in CIDR format (IP address/prefix). However, when you type the complete IP address for a host, you do not need to type a prefix after the address.
  5. In the Service Port field, type 443 or select HTTPS from the list.
  6. For the HTTP Profile setting, verify that the default HTTP profile, http, is selected.
  7. For the SSL Profile (Client) setting, from the Available list, select the name of the Client SSL profile you previously created and move the name to the Selected list.
  8. For the SSL Profile (Server) setting, from the Available list, select the name of the Server SSL profile you previously created and move the name to the Selected list.
  9. Click Finished.
The virtual server for the BIG-IP system configured as an SP now appears on the Virtual Server List. The virtual server destination is available for use in a SAML SP service configuration.

Configuring a SAML SP service for federation

Configure a SAML service provider (SP) service for Access Policy Manager® to provide AAA authentication, requesting authentication and receiving assertions from a SAML IdP.
  1. On the Main tab, click Access > Federation > SAML Service Provider .
    The Local SP Services screen displays.
  2. Click Create.
    The Create New SAML SP Service screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the SAML SP service.
  4. In the Entity ID field, type a unique identifier for the service provider.
    Typically entity ID is a URI that points to the BIG-IP virtual server that is going to act as SAML SP. If the entity ID is not a valid URL, the Host field is required.
    For example, type https://bigip-sp, where https:/bigip-sp points to the virtual server you use for BIG-IP system as a SAML service provider.
  5. If the Entity ID field does not contain a valid URI, in the SP Name Settings area from the Scheme list, select https or http and in the Host field, type a host name.
    For example, type siterequest.com in the Host field.
  6. In the Relay State field, type a scheme, host, and path.
    This is a path is where this BIG-IP® system redirects users after they are authenticated.
  7. For this service provider to request an artifact instead of an assertion from the IdP, from the left pane select Endpoint Settings and, from the Assertion Consumer Service Binding list, select Artifact.
    POST is the default setting.
  8. From the left pane, select Security Settings.
    The screen displays the applicable settings.
  9. If you want this BIG-IP system to send signed authentication requests to the SAML IdP, select Signed Authentication Request. Then select a key and a certificate from those in the BIG-IP system store from the Message Signing Private Key and Message Signing Certificate lists.
  10. If this BIG-IP system requires signed assertions from the SAML IdP, ensure that the Want Signed Assertion check box remains selected.
  11. If this BIG-IP system requires encrypted assertions from the SAML IdP, select Want Encrypted Assertion. Then select a key and a certificate from those in the BIG-IP system store from the Assertion Decryption Private Key and Assertion Decryption Certificate lists.
    The BIG-IP system uses the private key and certificate to decrypt the assertion.
  12. To configure additional service provider attributes, from the left pane click Advanced.
    The screen displays the applicable settings.
  13. To force users to authenticate again even when they have an SSO session at the identity provider, select the Force Authentication check box.
    This setting is for use when the external IdP supports a force authentication flag.
  14. To allow the external IdP, when processing requests from this BIG-IP system as SP, to create a new identifier to represent the principal, select the Allow Name-Identifier Creation check box.
  15. To specify the type of identifier information to use, select a URI reference from the Name-Identifier Policy Format list.
    For example, if a Service Provider (SP) initiates SSO by sending an AuthnRequest to the IdP with format urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:1.1:nameid-format:emailAddress, then the IdP response should contain the subject identity in email format.
  16. To specify that the assertion subject's identifier be returned in the namespace of an SP other than the requester, or in the namespace of a SAML affiliation group of SPs, type a value in the SP Name-Identifier Qualifier field.
  17. Click OK.
    The screen closes.
APM® creates the SAML SP service. It is available to bind to SAML IdP connectors and to export to a metadata file.

Binding the BIG-IP system (as IdP) with the SP service on this device

Bind the SAML SP service for this device (BIG-IP® system) to the SAML IdP connector for the external BIG-IP system that acts as the IdP, so that this device requests authentication service from the IdP.
  1. On the Main tab, click Access > Federation > SAML Service Provider .
    The Local SP Services screen displays.
  2. Select a SAML SP service from the list.
  3. Click Bind/Unbind IdP Connectors.
    A pop-up screen displays a list of any IdP connectors that are associated with this SP service.
  4. Click Add New Row.
  5. Select the SAML IdP connector for the BIG-IP system that acts as the IdP in the federation.
    Because you are binding only one IdP connector to the SP service, you do not need to fill in the Matching Source and Matching Value fields.
  6. Click Update.
    The configuration is not saved until you click OK.
  7. Click OK.
    APM® saves the configuration. The screen closes.
The SAML IdP connector that you selected is bound to the SAML SP service.

Exporting SAML SP metadata from APM

You need to convey the SP metadata from APM® to the external SAML IdP that provides authentication service to this SP. Exporting the SAML SP metadata to a file provides you with the information that you need to do this.
  1. On the Main tab, click Access > Federation > SAML Service Provider .
    The Local SP Services screen displays.
  2. Select an SP service from the list and click Export Metadata.
    A popup window opens, displaying No on the Sign Metadata list.
  3. For APM to sign the metadata, perform these steps:
    1. From the Sign Metadata list, select Yes.
    2. From the Signing Key list, select a key.
      APM uses the key to sign the metadata.
    3. From the Signature Verification Certificate list, select a certificate.
      APM exports the certificate to the metadata file. The system on which you import the metadata file can use the certificate to verify the metadata signature.
  4. Select OK.
    APM downloads an XML file.
You must either import the XML file on the IdP system or use the information in the XML file to configure SP metadata on the IdP system .

Configuring an access policy to authenticate with an external SAML IdP

Before you start this task, configure an access profile.
When you use this BIG-IP® system as a SAML service provider (SP), configure an access policy to direct users to an external SAML Identity Provider (IdP) for authentication.
  1. On the Main tab, click Access > Profiles / Policies .
    The Access Profiles (Per-Session Policies) screen opens.
  2. In the Per-Session Policy column, click the Edit link for the access profile you want to configure.
    The visual policy editor opens the access policy in a separate screen.
  3. Click the (+) icon anywhere in the access policy to add a new item.
    Note: Only an applicable subset of access policy items is available for selection in the visual policy editor for any access profile type.
    A popup screen opens, listing predefined actions on tabs such as General Purpose, Authentication, and so on.
  4. On the Authentication tab, select SAML Auth and click the Add Item button.
    The SAML Auth properties window opens.
  5. In the SAML Authentication SP area from the AAA Server list, select a SAML SP service and click Save.
    The Access Policy window displays.
  6. Add any additional actions that you require to complete the policy.
  7. Change the Successful rule branch from Deny to Allow, and click the Save button.
  8. At the top of the window, click the Apply Access Policy link to apply and activate your changes to this access policy.
  9. Click the Close button to close the visual policy editor.
You have an access policy that uses SAML authentication against an external SAML IdP and further qualifies the resources that a user can access.
Simple access policy to authenticate users against an external SAML IdP
Example access policy for SAML IdP-initiated connection
To apply this access policy to network traffic, add the access profile to a virtual server.
Note: To ensure that logging is configured to meet your requirements, verify the log settings for the access profile.

Verifying log settings for the access profile

Confirm that the correct log settings are selected for the access profile to ensure that events are logged as you intend.
Note: Log settings are configured in the Access > Overview > Event Log > Settings area of the product. They enable and disable logging for access system and URL request filtering events. Log settings also specify log publishers that send log messages to specified destinations.
  1. On the Main tab, click Access > Profiles / Policies .
    The Access Profiles (Per-Session Policies) screen opens.
  2. Click the name of the access profile that you want to edit.
    The properties screen opens.
  3. On the menu bar, click Logs.
    The access profile log settings display.
  4. Move log settings between the Available and Selected lists.
    You can assign up to three log settings that enable access system logging to an access profile. You can assign additional log settings to an access profile provided that they enable logging for URl request logging only.
    Note: Logging is disabled when the Selected list is empty.
  5. Click Update.
An access profile is in effect when it is assigned to a virtual server.

Adding the access profile to the virtual server

  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Virtual Servers .
    The Virtual Server List screen opens.
  2. Click the name of the virtual server you want to modify.
  3. In the Access Policy area, from the Access Profile list, select the access profile that you configured earlier.
  4. Click Update to save the changes.
Your access policy is now associated with the virtual server.

Setting up connectivity from the IdP system to the SP systems

You log in to the BIG-IP® system that you configured as the SAML Identity Provider (IdP) so that you can set up connectivity to the BIG-IP systems you configured as SAML service providers (SPs).
Log on to the BIG-IP system that you have selected to act as the SAML IdP in a SAML federation of BIG-IP systems.

Configuring SAML SP connectors from SAML SP metadata files

Import SP metadata into this BIG-IP® system from each BIG-IP system that is configured as an SP to create SP connectors in this system that you can use to create a federation of BIG-IP systems.
  1. On the Main tab, click Access > Federation > SAML Identity Provider > External SP Connectors .
    A list of SAML SP connectors displays.
  2. Select Create > From Metadata
    The Create New SAML Service Provider window opens.
  3. In the Select File field, browse to and select the metadata file for the service provider.
  4. In the Service Provider Name field, type a unique name for the service provider.
  5. If the metadata is signed, select the certificate from the Select Signing Certificate list.
  6. Click OK.
    The file is uploaded, the SAML SP connector is created, and the window closes.
The SAML SP connector is displayed on the External SP Connectors list.

Binding IdP service and SP connectors for federation

Select a SAML Identity Provider (IdP) service and the SAML service provider (SP) connectors that use the service so that this BIG-IP® system can provide authentication (SAML IdP service) to external SAML service providers.
  1. On the Main tab, click Access > Federation > SAML Identity Provider .
    The Local IdP Services screen opens.
  2. Select a SAML IdP service from the list.
    A SAML IdP service provides authentication service.
  3. Click Bind/Unbind SP Connectors.
    The screen displays a list of available SAML SP connectors.
  4. Select the SAML SP connectors for the external BIG-IP systems that are configured as SPs and that you want to use this service.
  5. Click OK.
    The screen closes.
The SAML IdP service is bound to the external SAML service providers specified in the SAML SP connectors.

Creating an access profile associated with the SAML IdP service

Use this procedure when this BIG-IP® system, as a SAML Identity Provider (IdP), supports service provider-initiated connections only.
  1. On the Main tab, click Access > Profiles / Policies .
    The Access Profiles (Per-Session Policies) screen opens.
  2. Click Create.
    The New Profile screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a name for the access profile.
    Note: An access profile name must be unique among all access profile and any per-request policy names.
  4. In the SSO Across Authentication Domains (Single Domain mode) area, from the SSO Configuration list, select the name of the local SAML IdP service.
  5. In the Language Settings area, add and remove accepted languages, and set the default language.
    A browser uses the highest priority accepted language. If no browser language matches the accepted languages list, the browser uses the default language.
  6. Click Finished.
The access profile displays in the Access Profiles List. Default-log-setting is assigned to the access profile.

Verifying log settings for the access profile

Confirm that the correct log settings are selected for the access profile to ensure that events are logged as you intend.
Note: Log settings are configured in the Access > Overview > Event Log > Settings area of the product. They enable and disable logging for access system and URL request filtering events. Log settings also specify log publishers that send log messages to specified destinations.
  1. On the Main tab, click Access > Profiles / Policies .
    The Access Profiles (Per-Session Policies) screen opens.
  2. Click the name of the access profile that you want to edit.
    The properties screen opens.
  3. On the menu bar, click Logs.
    The access profile log settings display.
  4. Move log settings between the Available and Selected lists.
    You can assign up to three log settings that enable access system logging to an access profile. You can assign additional log settings to an access profile provided that they enable logging for URl request logging only.
    Note: Logging is disabled when the Selected list is empty.
  5. Click Update.
An access profile is in effect when it is assigned to a virtual server.

Configuring an access policy to provide authentication from the local IdP

Configure an access policy so that this BIG-IP® system, as a SAML Identity Provider (IdP) can provide authentication for SAML service providers.
  1. On the Main tab, click Access > Profiles / Policies .
    The Access Profiles (Per-Session Policies) screen opens.
  2. In the Per-Session Policy column, click the Edit link for the access profile you want to configure.
    The visual policy editor opens the access policy in a separate screen.
  3. Click the (+) icon anywhere in the access policy to add a new item.
    Note: Only an applicable subset of access policy items is available for selection in the visual policy editor for any access profile type.
    A popup screen opens, listing predefined actions on tabs such as General Purpose, Authentication, and so on.
  4. On the Logon tab, select Logon Page and click the Add Item button.
    The Logon Page Agent properties screen opens.
  5. Make any changes that you require to the logon page properties and click Save.
    The properties screen closes and the policy displays.
  6. Add one or more authentication checks on the fallback branch after the Logon Page action.
    Select the authentication checks that are appropriate for application access at your site.
  7. Optional: Add any other branches and actions that you need to complete the policy.
  8. Change the Successful rule branch from Deny to Allow, and click the Save button.
  9. Click the Apply Access Policy link to apply and activate the changes to the policy.
  10. Click the Close button to close the visual policy editor.
You have an access policy that presents a logon page and authenticates the user..
Access policy to provide authentication for SAML service providers when this BIG-IP system is the IdP
Example access policy for SAML IdP-initiated connection
To apply this access policy to network traffic, add the access profile to a virtual server.
Note: To ensure that logging is configured to meet your requirements, verify the log settings for the access profile.

Adding the access profile to the virtual server

  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Virtual Servers .
    The Virtual Server List screen opens.
  2. Click the name of the virtual server you want to modify.
  3. In the Access Policy area, from the Access Profile list, select the access profile that you configured earlier.
  4. Click Update to save the changes.
Your access policy is now associated with the virtual server.
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