OpenAM Single Sign On Authentication

OpenAM is an open source single sign-on solution that comes from the code base of Sun’s System Access Manager product. Liferay DXP integrates with OpenAM, allowing you to use OpenAM to integrate Liferay DXP into an infrastructure that contains a multitude of different authentication schemes against different repositories of identities.

Note that OpenAM relies on cookie sharing between applications. Thus, in order for OpenAM to work, all applications that require SSO must be in the same web domain.

You can set up OpenAM on the same or different server as Liferay DXP . If you are using the same Liferay DXP server to host your OpenAM, you must deploy the OpenAM .war. The .war is available here. Otherwise, follow the instructions at the OpenAM site to install OpenAM. Once you have it installed, create the Liferay DXP administrative user in it. Users are mapped back and forth by screen names. By default, the Liferay DXP administrative user has a screen name of test, so if you were to use that account, register the user in OpenAM with the ID of test and the email specified in the portal property. Once you have the user set up, log in to OpenAM using this user.

In the same browser window, log in to Liferay DXP as the administrative user (using the admin email address specified previously). Go to the Control Panel and click ConfigurationInstance SettingsAuthenticationOpenSSO at the top. Modify the three URL fields (Login URL, Logout URL, and Service URL) so they point to your OpenAM server (in other words, only modify the host name portion of the URLs), check the Enabled box, and click Save. Liferay DXP then redirects users to OpenAM when they request the /c/portal/login URL *for example, when they click on the Sign In link).

Liferay DXP’s OpenAM configuration can be applied at either the system scope or at the instance scope. To configure the OpenAM SSO module at the system scope, navigate to Liferay DXP’s Control Panel, click on ConfigurationSystem SettingsFoundation and find the OpenSSO entry. Click on it and you’ll find these settings to configure. The values configured here provide the default values for all portal instances. Enter the in the same format as you would when initializing a Java primitive type with a literal value.

Property LabelProperty KeyDescriptionType
VersionversionOpenAM version to use (12 and below or 13), available in Liferay DXP Fix Pack 80+String
EnabledenabledCheck this box to enable OpenAM authentication. Note that OpenAM will work only if LDAP authentication is also enabled and Liferay DXP’s authentication type is set to screen name.boolean
Import from LDAPimportFromLDAPIf this is checked, users authenticated from OpenAM that do not exist in Liferay DXP are imported from LDAP. LDAP must be enabled.boolean
Login URLloginURLThe URL to the login page of the OpenAM serverString
Logout URLlogoutURLThe URL to the logout page of the OpenAM serverString
Service URLserviceURLThe URL by which OpenAM can be accessed to use the authenticated web services. If you are using OpenAM Express 8 or higher, you need to have the server running Java 6.String
Screen Name AttributescreenNameAttrThe name of the attribute on the OpenAM representing the user’s screen nameString
Email Address AttributeemailAddressAttrThe name of the attribute on the OpenAM representing the user’s email addressString
First Name AttributefirstNameAttrThe name of the attribute on the OpenAM representing the user’s first nameString
Last Name AttributelastNameAttrThe name of the attribute on the OpenAM representing the user’s last nameString

To override these default settings for a particular portal instance, navigate to Liferay DXP’s Control Panel, click on ConfigurationInstance Settings, and then click on Authentication at the right and then on OpenSSO at the top.

Figure 1: Liferay DXPs OpenSSO tab lets you configure OpanAM.

Figure 1: Liferay DXP's OpenSSO tab lets you configure OpanAM.


OpenAM is useful when all the applications that require SSO are within the same web domain. Thus, OpenAM it is often used for intranets. OpenAM can be deployed via a fronting or reverse proxy web server such as Apache, intercepting all requests to a set of web applications. For this reason, OpenAM is also useful when implementing SSO for applications that don’t support SSO out of the box.

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