Shibboleth v3 - Session HA Questions

prasanna cg prasannacgin at
Wed Jul 1 18:13:36 UTC 2020


I am new to Shibboleth IDP and have questions related to session clustering. Requesting for expert’s opinion / help

My Current Set-up :  

> Deployment: F5 LB VIP ( <>) ; IDP1 ( <>) ; IDP2 ( <>)
> IDP Servers: Apache HTTP Server <=> Tomcat Container
> Clustering: IDP Nodes are independent and are not clustered; LB is set-up in Active:Passive configuration
> Cookie Encryption SecretKey are not shared between the IDP nodes

Behavior I am noticing:

1) Access an IDP Init SSO URL ( <>). 
2) Perform user authentication and got the IDP Session established in IDP1
2) Shutdown IDP1 thereby letting the traffic go to IDP2
3) In same browser, access the IDP Init SSO URL again that goes to IDP2 via the F5
4) Getting seamless SSO (without user authentication)
5) Override DNS resolver in localhost file by adding a server from completely a different IDP (lets say IDPx) environment to resolve to “ <>”
6) In same browser, access the IDP Init SSO URL again that resolves to this new IDPx
7) Getting seamless SSO (without user authentication)

NOTE: My datasealer store password is common across all IDPs

What I read and understood:

From this IDPv3 Clustering link - <>, all I understood is that the IDP nodes supports Session HA between nodes only if the Cookie Encryption Secret Key is shared between the IDP nodes that are required to be in a cluster. Else my understanding is - a user will be forced to re-authenticate when another node takes the request in spite of having a valid session cookie


1) Is this behavior expected ? Am I missing something ?
2) If yes, 
	a) then, what is the need for sharing the secret key between IDP nodes ? 
	b) is this a good security (especially the behavior #5 to 7)
3) If no,
	a) what could be the reason for this behavior ?
	b) should I consider having different passwords between IDP environments ?

Please help me understand !
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