Use Access Control Service to Federate with Multiple Business Identity Providers
In this intermediate hands-on lab you will learn how to use the Access Control Service for managing trust relationships with multiple business identity providers. Users from two different organizations will be able to gain authenticated access to your application; however you will not be required to write any special code for handling the differences between the two. You will learn how to use ACS for establishing relationships and normalizing attributes without having to touch your application’s source code. The lab will demonstrate how to configure ACS both via the AppFabric portal and the management API. It is not strictly necessary, but it is a good idea to take a look at the ACS Labs introductory lab before going through this hands-on lab. If your solution requires to authenticate users both from web and business identity providers, you can mix and match the tasks you'll go through in the two labs.
Connecting one application to its users is one of the most basic requirements of any solution, whether deployed on-premises, in the cloud or on both.
The emergence of standards is helping to break the silos which traditionally isolate accounts stored by different web sites and business entities, however offering application access to users coming from multiple sources can still be a daunting task. As of today, if you want to open your application to users coming from Facebook, Live ID, Google and business directories the brute-force approach demands you to lean and implement four different authentication protocols. Changes in today’s world happen fast and often, forcing you to keep updating your protocol implementations to chase the latest evolutions of the authentication mechanisms of the user repositories. All this can require a disproportionate amount of energy, leaving you with fewer resources to focus on your business.
A functional view of the Access Control Service
Enter the AppFabric Access Control Service (ACS). ACS offers you a way to outsource authentication and decouple your application from all the complexity of maintaining a direct relationship with all the identity providers you want to tap from. ACS takes care of engaging every identity provider with its own authentication protocol, normalizing the authentication results in a protocol supported by the .NET framework tooling (namely the Windows Identity Foundation technology, or WIF) regardless of from where the user is coming from. WIF allows you in just few clicks to elect the ACS as the authentication manager for your application; from that moment on ACS takes care of everything, including providing a UI for the user to choose among all the recognized identity providers.
Furthermore, ACS offers you greater control over which user attributes should be assigned for every authentication event; again in synergy with WIF, those attributes (called claims) can be easily accessed for taking authorization decisions without forcing the developer do understand or even be aware of the lower level mechanisms that the authentication protocols entail.
In this intermediate hands-on lab you will learn how to use the Access Control Service for managing trust relationships with multiple business identity providers. Users from two different organizations will be able to gain authenticated access to your application; however you will not be required to write any special code for handling the differences between the two. You will learn how to use ACS for establishing relationships and normalizing attributes without having to touch your application's source code. The lab will demonstrate how to configure ACS both via the AppFabric portal and the management API.
In this Hands-On Lab, you will learn how to:
You must have the following items to complete this lab:
For convenience, much of the code used in this hands-on lab is available as Visual Studio code snippets. To check the prerequisites of the lab and install the code snippets:
Using the Code Snippets
Throughout the lab document, you will be instructed to insert code blocks. For your convenience, most of that code is provided as Visual Studio Code Snippets, which you can use from within Visual Studio 2010 to avoid having to add it manually.
If you are not familiar with the Visual Studio Code Snippets, and want to learn how to use them, you can refer to the Setup.docx document in the Assets folder of the training kit, which contains a section describing how to use them.
This Hands-On Lab contains one single exercise:
Each exercise is accompanied by a starting solution. These solutions are missing some code sections that are completed through each exercise and therefore will not work if running them directly. Inside each exercise you will also find an end folder where you find the resulting solution you should obtain after completing the exercises. You can use this solution as a guide if you need additional help working through the exercises.
Estimated time to complete this lab: 30 minutes