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How do you auto-provision users to applications with Crowd?

Mark Montminy August 26, 2016

In the past, I've tied the various Atlassian apps directly to AD/LDAP, using the "add to group on first login" feature. This worked well for our needs, as it allowed the apps to "see" all users in the corp directory, for mentions and such, yet only consume licenses when the user actually logged in, thus becoming a member of the "can use" group for that app.

I'm trying to re-create this behavior in Crowd, and so far, have been unsuccessful.

I see that there's an option to auto-add users to groups upon authentication at the directory level. It seems that if I were to use that though, I would be provisioning a user for multiple apps when they first login to any of the apps. That's not what I want.

Searching on answers I found a few responses around using a directory per application approach, which each directory pointing to the same backend (AD in our case) source. It's my impression that in doing so though, you break SSO. It also seems horribly inefficient and confusing.

I certainly don't want to be a gatekeeper to users gaining access to the tools and information they need by manually provisioning and adding users to groups all the time. We want everyone to automatically have access to the various "general use only" content across the tools without tickets and requests for access.

It's also very important that Confluence and others support the notion of mentioning users regardless of their "can use" status in the apps. We're trying to foster collaboration, and expect mentions to draw people in.

I feel like I'm missing something, because Crowd seems to be making this harder than going direct to AD, and I was under the impression I'd have more control, not less.

1 answer

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Bruno Vincent
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August 26, 2016

Hi Mark,

Unfortunately the default groups memberships upon successful authentication actually works at the directory level in Crowd. If not already done, you might want to vote for this improvement request:

Mark Montminy August 26, 2016

I've seen a few pointers that suggest that, and I was hoping it was either stale data, or I was just misunderstanding things.

As far as I can tell, if you use Crowd, you lose:

  • the ability to mention users who've never logged in
  • the ability to auto-provision users per application

but gain:

  • centralized (albeit manual/scripted) user management
  • SSO

The centralized user management can be mitigated if the various apps are all tied into AD/LDAP.

I'm not sure I'm seeing SSO as enough of a benefit to negate auto provisioning and mentions.

This is really disappointing, as Crowd was to be a key component in our new deployment. We may have to re-think this.




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