External Authentication

If you have an existing directory for authenticating users, you can configure Meridian to use that system to grant users access to log in, in addition to allowing log in from users defined directly within your Meridian server.

Configuring external authentication

The Meridian webapp uses Spring Security for its user authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) concerns. Configuring external authentication requires configuring Spring Security correctly for your own environment.

The Spring Security configuration files are located in at ${OPENNMS_HOME}/jetty-webapps/opennms/WEB-INF. Only one authentication service can be enabled in the spring-security.d subdirectory.

The following files are used for external authentication:


The main Spring Security context configuration file for the OpenNMS webapp. The authentication-provider setting must be uncommented to switch on external authentication.

    <!-- To enable external (e.g. LDAP, RADIUS) authentication, uncomment the following.
         You must also rename and customize exactly ONE of the example files in the
         spring-security.d subdirectory.-->
    <authentication-provider ref="externalAuthenticationProvider" />

Directory containing example files for common use cases. You must copy one of these files to a name of your own choosing, as long as it ends in .xml, and edit its details as outlined below. There cannot be more than one non-disabled xml file in this directory.


Skeleton files to use as a starter for your configuration. The "disabled" files are ignored when Spring Security loads.

Anatomy of an LDAP configuration

Whether the authentication source is an Active Directory, a Novell eDirectory, or some other LDAP-enabled directory, the basic components (expressed as "beans" in Spring Framework lingo) that need to exist and be configured are the same.

While Active Directory and OpenLDAP (and others) implement the same LDAP protocol, their schemas are substantially different. The biggest difference is the memberOf attribute, which is not supported by default LDAP v3 specification, and is not present in common OpenLDAP installs, but comes standard with AD. This has a significant implication in that you cannot filter a user search by nested group membership, and most installs tend not to be fully hierarchical (user’s DN doesn’t cite a home group). You can either create dedicated per-role LDAP groups or map existing groups to roles by selecting and configuring the appropriate userGroupLdapAuthoritiesPopulator.


Define your LDAP server URL(s) and search base. If you have multiple LDAP servers, include them as separate <beans:value> entries.


Provide credentials to bind to your directory in the defaultUser and defaultPassword properties.


Tells Spring Security where to find the users in your directory.


Tells Spring Security where to find groups in your directory. By defining groupToRoleMap entries, groups in your directory can be mapped to one or more security roles to determine what level of access to grant to the user.

If your directory requires an SSL connection, and is signed with a private certificate authority, make sure to add the certificates to your truststore.

After making any changes to Spring Security configuration, you must restart Meridian for the changes to take effect. Before doing this, it’s a good idea to check that your changes have not led to malformed XML files:

xmllint --noout applicationContext-spring-security.xml spring-security.d/*.xml

If this command produces no output, then the XML files are well-formed. If you have all the details right, you’ll be able to log in to the webapp with your directory credentials after restarting OpenNMS.


If your server is not allowing login via your configured external authentication provider, authentication logs are written to ${OPENNMS_HOME}/logs/web.log.