Apereo CAS - Actuator Endpoints & Monitoring

Posted by Misagh Moayyed on February 20, 2022 · 7 mins read ·

CAS, being a Spring-Boot application at heart, includes a number of endpoints to help you monitor and manage the server when it’s pushed to production. You can choose to manage and monitor the deployment using HTTP endpoints, referred to as actuators. This tutorial provides a basic overview of the endpoints provided by both Spring Boot and CAS and also provides instructions on how such endpoints can be secured for access and win.

Our starting position is based on the following:

Actua…What?

In essence, actuator endpoints bring production-ready features to CAS. Monitoring a running CAS instance, gathering metrics, understanding traffic or the state of our database becomes trivial with such endpoints. The main benefit of these endpoints is that we can get production grade tools without having to actually implement these features ourselves. Actuators are mainly used to expose operational information about the running application – health, metrics, info, dump, env, etc. These are HTTP endpoints or JMX beans to enable us to interact with it.

Definition
An actuator is a manufacturing term, referring to a mechanical device for moving or controlling something. Actuators can generate a large amount of motion from a small change.

The full list of endpoints provided to your CAS deployment is posted here. Note that you do not need to do anything extra special to get these endpoints added to your deployment; these are all available by default and just need to be turned on and secured for access.

Endpoints

Starting with Spring Boot 2 and CAS 6.0.x, the actuator endpoints and their method of security are entirely revamped. Here are the main differences:

  • Endpoints can individually be exposed over the web under HTTP.
  • Security of each endpoint using the combo of enabled and sensitive is now gone, and each endpoint entirely embraces Spring Security for protection.
  • Endpoints internally are marked as @Endpoint and can be standalone or extensions of existing endpoints such as /health.
  • Enabling an endpoint may pass through several layers of security: Default setting if undefined, globally or per endpoint.

Examples

Let’s go through a number of scenarios that might be helpful. Bear in mind that in order to work with an endpoint, you must go through the following steps:

  • The endpoint must be enabled.
  • The endpoint may be somehow exposed.
  • The endpoint may be somehow secured.

Remember that the default path for endpoints exposed over the web is at /actuator, such as /actuator/status.

Example 1

Expose the CAS status endpoint over the web, enable it and make sure its protected via basic authentication:

management.endpoints.web.exposure.include=status
management.endpoint.status.enabled=true

cas.monitor.endpoints.endpoint.status.access=AUTHENTICATED

spring.security.user.name=casuser
spring.security.user.password=Mellon

Example 2

Expose the CAS status endpoint over the web, enable it and make sure a list of IP addresses can reach it:

management.endpoints.web.exposure.include=status
management.endpoint.status.enabled=true
cas.monitor.endpoints.endpoint.status.access=IP_ADDRESS
cas.monitor.endpoints.endpoint.status.required-ip-addresses=1.2.3.4,0.0.0.0

Example 3

Expose the Spring Boot health and info endpoints over the web, enable them and make sure access to health is secured via basic authentication:

management.endpoints.web.exposure.include=health,info

management.endpoint.health.enabled=true
management.endpoint.health.show-details=always

management.endpoint.info.enabled=true

cas.monitor.endpoints.endpoint.health.access=AUTHENTICATED
cas.monitor.endpoints.endpoint.info.access=ANONYMOUS

spring.security.user.name=casuser
spring.security.user.password=Mellon

Example 4

Enable and expose all endpoints with no regard for security:

management.endpoints.web.exposure.include=*
management.endpoints.enabled-by-default=true
cas.monitor.endpoints.endpoint.defaults.access=ANONYMOUS
WATCH OUT!
The above collection of settings MUST only be used for demo purposes and serve as an EXAMPLE. It is not wise to enable and expose all actuator endpoints to the web and certainly, the security of the exposed endpoints should be taken into account very seriously. None of the CAS or Spring Boot actuator endpoints are enabled by default. For production, you should carefully choose which endpoints to expose.

Example 5

In addition to the usual, let’s remap the path to endpoints to start with endpoints instead of actuator, and lets rename the status endpoint to be heartbeat:

management.endpoints.web.path-mapping.status=heartbeat
management.endpoints.web.base-path=/endpoints
management.endpoints.web.exposure.include=status
management.endpoint.status.enabled=true
cas.monitor.endpoints.endpoint.status.access=IP_ADDRESS
cas.monitor.endpoints.endpoint.status.required-ip-addresses=1.2.3.4

Need Help?

If you have questions about the contents and the topic of this blog post, or if you need additional guidance and support, feel free to send us a note and ask about consulting and support services.

So…

It’s important that you start off simple and make changes one step at a time. Once you have a functional environment, you can gradually and slowly add customizations to move files around.

I hope this review was of some help to you and I am sure that both this post as well as the functionality it attempts to explain can be improved in any number of ways. Please feel free to engage and contribute as best as you can.

Misagh Moayyed