Access control design with Docker EE Advanced

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

These are the docs for UCP version 2.2.22

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Collections and grants are strong tools that can be used to control access and visibility to resources in UCP. The previous tutorial, Access Control Design with Docker EE Standard, describes a fictional company called OrcaBank that has designed a resource access architecture that fits the specific security needs of their organization. Be sure to go through this tutorial if you have not already before continuing.

In this tutorial OrcaBank’s deployment model is becoming more advanced. Instead of moving developed applications directly in to production, OrcaBank will now deploy apps from their dev cluster to a staging zone of their production cluster. After applications have passed staging they will be moved to production. OrcaBank has very stringent security requirements for production applications. Its security team recently read a blog post about DevSecOps and is excited to implement some changes. Production applications aren’t permitted to share any physical infrastructure with non-Production infrastructure.

In this tutorial OrcaBank will use Docker EE Advanced feature to segment the scheduling and access control of applications across disparate physical infrastructure. Node Access Control with EE Advanced licensing allows nodes to be placed in different collections so that resources can be scheduled and isolated on disparate physical or virtual hardware resources.

Team access requirements

As in the Introductory Multitenancy Tutorial OrcaBank still has three application teams, payments, mobile, and db that need to have varying levels of segmentation between them. Their upcoming Access Control redesign will organize their UCP cluster in to two top-level collections, Staging and Production, which will be completely separate security zones on separate physical infrastructure.

  • security should have visibility-only access across all applications that are in Production. The security team is not concerned with Staging applications and thus will not have access to Staging
  • db should have the full set of operations against all database applications that are in Production. db does not manage the databases that are in Staging, which are managed directly by the application teams.
  • payments should have the full set of operations to deploy Payments apps in both Production and Staging and also access some of the shared services provided by the db team.
  • mobile has the same rights as the payments team, with respect to the Mobile applications.

Role composition

OrcaBank will use the same roles as in the Introductory Tutorial. An ops role will provide them with the ability to deploy, destroy, and view any kind of resource. View Only will be used by the security team to only view resources with no edit rights. View & Use Networks + Secrets will be used to access shared resources across collection boundaries, such as the db services that are offered by the db collection to the other app teams.


Collection architecture

The previous tutorial had separate collections for each application team. In this Access Control redesign there will be collections for each zone, Staging and Production, and also collections within each zone for the individual applications. Another major change is that Docker nodes will be segmented themselves so that nodes in Staging are separate from Production nodes. Within the Production zone every application will also have their own dedicated nodes.

The resulting collection architecture takes the following tree representation:

├── System
├── Shared
├── prod
│   ├── db
│   ├── mobile
│   └── payments
└── staging
    ├── mobile
    └── payments

Grant composition

OrcaBank will now be granting teams diverse roles to different collections. Multiple grants per team are required to grant this kind of access. Each of the Payments and Mobile applications will have three grants that give them the operation to deploy in their production zone, their staging zone, and also the ability to share some resources with the db collection.


OrcaBank access architecture

The resulting access architecture provides the appropriate physical segmentation between Production and Staging. Applications will be scheduled only on the UCP Worker nodes in the collection where the application is placed. The production Mobile and Payments applications use shared resources across collection boundaries to access the databases in the /prod/db collection.


DB team

The OrcaBank db team is responsible for deploying and managing the full lifecycle of the databases that are in Production. They have the full set of operations against all database resources.


Mobile team

The mobile team is responsible for deploying their full application stack in staging. In production they deploy their own applications but utilize the databases that are provided by the db team.


authorize, authentication, users, teams, groups, sync, UCP, role, access control