Automation Controller and LDAP Authentication

- Thomas Jungbauer Thomas Jungbauer ( Lastmod: 2024-05-05 ) - 3 min read

The following article shall quickly, without huge background information, deploy an Identity Management Server (based on FreeIPA) and connect this IDM to an existing Automation Controller so authentication can be tested and verified based on LDAP.

Install FreeIPA

Run the following command to deploy and configure the IPA Server:

  1. yum module enable idm:DL1

  2. yum distro-sync

  3. yum -y module install idm:DL1/server

  4. Install the server by calling the command ipa-server-install. This will start an interactive installation modus which requires the basic information about the IPA server. The following uses tower.local as base domain

Do you want to configure integrated DNS (BIND)? [no]:
Server host name [node01.tower.local]:
Please confirm the domain name [tower.local]:
Please provide a realm name [TOWER.LOCAL]:

Directory Manager password: <enter password>
Password (confirm): <enter password>

IPA admin password: <enter password>
Password (confirm): <enter password>

Do you want to configure chrony with NTP server or pool address? [no]:

Continue to configure the system with these values? [no]: yes

Once all information have been provided the installation/configuration process starts. This will take a while…​

Be sure that the hostname, here node01.tower.local, is resolvable, at least from the Tower/Controller node and the node you are accessing the FreeIPA UI. You can use your local hosts file or a real domain name for that.

Login to IPA server via Command Line

  1. For user admin use: kinit admin

Create a Binduser (BindDN)

The Binduser (or BindDN) will be used by the Controller to authenticate the Controller against the LDAP server.

  1. Create the actual user

    ipa user-add --first=”BindUser” --last=”None” --password binduser


    Enter Password again to verify:
    Added user "binduser"
      User login: binduser
      First name: ”BindUser”
      Last name: ”None”
      Full name: ”BindUser” ”None”
      Display name: ”BindUser” ”None”
      Initials: ””
      Home directory: /home/binduser
      GECOS: ”BindUser” ”None”
      Login shell: /bin/sh
      Principal name: binduser@TOWER.LOCAL
      Principal alias: binduser@TOWER.LOCAL
      User password expiration: 20211015133112Z
      Email address: binduser@tower.local
      UID: 1573400003
      GID: 1573400003
      Password: True
      Member of groups: ipausers
      Kerberos keys available: True
  2. Assign the new user to the admin group

    ipa group-add-member admins --users=binduser


  Group Name: admins
  Description: Account administrators group
  GID: 1573400000
  Member users: admin, binduser
Number of members added 1
  1. Create a 2nd User to test the authentication later

ipa user-add --first=”User” --last=”Name” --password user1

Enable LDAP Auth in Automation Controller

  1. Login to Automation Controller ad go to "Settings > LDAP Settings > Default"

  2. add a new connection:

    1. LDAP Service URI: ldap://node01.tower.local:389

    2. LDAP Bind Password: <password of user binduser>`

    3. LDAP Group Type: MemberDNGroupType

    4. LDAP Bind DN: uid=binduser,cn=users,cn=accounts,dc=tower,dc=local

    5. LDAP User Search:

    6. LDAP Group Search:


The configuration should look like the following image:

Automation Controller LDAP Authentication
Figure 1. Automation Controller LDAP Authentication

Verify Login with user1

You can now test the login using user1. If it does not work, check the following files for errors:

Tower Node: /var/log/tower/tower.log

IPA Node: /var/log/dirsrv/slapd-TOWER-LOCAL/access

The login should work, but since the user1 is not assigned to any Team/Organization inside the Automation Controller, no privileges are granted. The user can do nothing.

Automatically assign permissions

2 roles can be automatically assigned to authenticated users:

  1. Super User

  2. Auditor

To test this, 2 groups will be created in the LDAP server and a new user will be assigned to one of the groups.

  1. Create the group for super users: ipa group-add tower_administrators

  2. Create the group for auditors: ipa group-add tower_auditors

  3. Create a new user: ipa user-add --first=”User” --last=”Name” --password user2

  4. Assign the user to one the the groups: ipa group-add-member tower_administrators --users=user2

  5. Modify the Controller LDAP configuration and set LDAP User Flags by Group. This will assing any member of tower_administrators to is_superuser for example.

      "is_superuser": [
      "is_system_auditor": [

Test the authentication and authorization with the user2. This user should now gain super admin permissions.

Allow Users From Specific Groups Only

Not all LDAP users shall be able to authenticate. Only users, which are member of a specific group, shall be able to authenticate.

  1. Create a 3rd user: ipa user-add --first=”User” --last=”Name” --password user3

  2. Modify the LDAP Configuration in Automation Controller and set LDAP Require Groups:

  3. Add the group toweruser: ipa group-add towerusers

  4. Assign the user user3 to that group: ipa group-add-member towerusers --users=user3

At this state only user3 will be able to login. In order to allow the other users as well, all must be assigned to the group towerusers

ipa group-add-member towerusers --users=user3
ipa group-add-member towerusers --users=user1

Additional Configuration

It is possible to automatically map users to Controller Organization. I did not fully test this, but the following is an example:

      "LDAP Organization": {
          "admins": "cn=engineering_admins,ou=groups,dc=example,dc=com",
          "remove_admins": false,
          "users": [
          "remove_users": false
      "LDAP Organization 2": {
          "admins": [
          "remove_admins": false,
          "users": true,
          "remove_users": false