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Version: 13.x (Current)

Centralize the authentication in a multi-projects architecture


In this scenario, we present the case where your architecture is composed by multiple Mia-Platform projects. Of course, you could think to treat each project as an independent entity and replicate, in each project, one of the scenarios presented so far.

For example, you could replicate Scenario 2 as in the following schema: Scenario 4

However, this replication brings some problems:

  • The authentication service is replicated in every project. This is a waste of resources and it can also lead to problems when the service needs to be updated for some projects
  • In such architecture, it is likely that a service of one project needs to call services of other projects using intra-cluster communication. In this case, the token resolution call would be needlessly repeated.
  • You may want to centralize the Ingresses management in a single namespace of your cluster. In this way it is easier to verify which are all the FQDNs connected to your Kubernetes clusters.

Therefore, we recommend to introduce in your architecture an Edge Gateway project that will be the entry point of all the incoming requests to your company and where you will centralize the token resolution flow.


The picture above illustrates the architecture of a company composed by two projects and an Edge Gateway project.

The Edge Gateway contains the following microservices:

  1. API Gateway: Mia-Platform plugin available in Nginx or Envoy
  2. Authorization Service: Mia-Platform plugin
  3. Authentication Service: a custom microservice that you need to implement. It must integrate with your external IdP to resolve the user token.

Each project contains the following microservices:

  1. API Gateway: Mia-Platform plugin available in Nginx or Envoy
  2. Authorization Service: Mia-Platform plugin
  3. The microservice connected to the endpoint

The picture above illustrates the steps of the auth flow:

  1. The client, be it a web application or backend software, need to implement the authentication flow required by the IdP to obtain a valid token. With this token, the client will be able to call the endpoints of your project.

  2. The client calls the endpoint of your project, including the valid token in the request. Usually this token is placed in the Authorization header but it can be placed in other headers or cookies.

  3. The API Gateway of the Edge Gateway project calls the Authorization Service which, in turn, calls the Authentication Manager to resolve the token on the external IdP


    We suggest to avoid adding the user group expressions in the Authorization Service of the Edge Gateway but configuring them in the Authorization Service of the project.
    In this way the project teams are autonomous in configuring the right group expression to secure their APIs.

  4. The Authentication Manager resolves the token contacting the external IdP and returns the user payload to the Authorization Service

  5. The API Gateway of the Edge Gateway forwards the HTTP request to tha API Gateway of right project. The request is decorated with the following HTTP header:

    Miausergroupscomma separated list of the groups the user belongs to
    Miauseridthe ID of the user
    Miauserpropertiesstringified JSON object containing the user payload returned by the Authentication Service
  6. The Authorization Service of the project verifies if the user who made the request is authorized to access to the requested endpoint. To do so, the Authorization Service will trust the HTTP headers above.

  7. If the verification performed by the Authentication Service is successful, then the API Gateway forwards the original HTTP request the right microservice of the project.

Tutorial steps

In the following tutorial we will specify all the steps to replicate the scenario depicted in the image above, i.e. an architecture with:

  • 2 projects, Project 1 and Project 2
  • an Edge Gateway
  • an external IdP

Edge Gateway configuration

  1. Create the Edge Gateway project following the project creation documentation

  2. Configure one cross-project proxy for each project

  3. Create one endpoint for each cross-project proxy


    When choosing the name of the endpoints consider that it will be the base path that will included in all the requests directed to a microservice of the project.
    A possible naming convention could be <HOST>/<project-name>/<endpoint>

  4. Configure the API Gateway to forward the HTTP headers resulting from the authentication flow (Miauserid, Miausergroups, Miauserproperties) to the projects' API Gateway

  5. Create an authentication manager as described in Scenario 2

Projects Configuration


We suppose that you have already created an API Gateway in your project and you already have some endpoints you want to securely expose through the Edge Gateway.

  1. Create the Authorization Service plugin from Marketplace
    • This step can be done as described in Scenario 2
    • The only important difference is that the Authorization Service must be configured in "Trust Mia Headers" mode by setting the TRUST_MIA_USER_HEADERS environment variable to true
  2. Secure your endpoint as described in Scenario 2

Centralize API Keys in the Edge Gateway

You can optionally choose to centralize in the Edge Gateway all the API keys.

  1. Define your API Keys in the Edge Gateway as described in Scenario 1
  2. Apply advanced configurations on the API Gateway of the Edge Gateway project

Add the following Advanced Map Configuration to the custom-maps-extension.conf configuration.

map $secret_resolution $proxied_client_key {
default "";
"secreted" "secreted";

In this way, you are instructing your Nginx API Gateway to always forward to the projects' API Gateway the HTTP header Client-Key=secreted

  1. Define an API Key with the secreted value in all of your projects

If you choose to centralize the API keys in the Edge Gateway project we suggest to have a project template with the secreted API key