Apache Stratos relies heavily on message broker communication. In fact, message broker communication with message broker topics is the main method of communication between components such as the Cartridge Agent, Cloud Controller and the Autoscaler, as this allows a decoupled architecture for the components.

When it comes to message brokers, authentication is a crucial part of securing the communication channel since if left unsecured, anyone with access to the message broker can subscribe to the topics and listen to the communication between the components. This can expose sensitive data easily and the system would be compromised in no time. The purpose of this article is to explain how to engage Username and Password based authentication with Apache ActiveMQ in Stratos.

ActiveMQ allows to add authentication and authorization through an extensible plugin system. For our purpose, the out of the box SimpleAuthenticationPlugin is more than enough as it allows us to define a username and a password with the list of user groups the particular user belongs to.

To engage SimpleAuthenticationPlugin we have to add the following section before the broker tag closes, in <ACTIVEMQ_HOME>/conf/activemq.xml.

            <authenticationUser username="system" password="manager" groups="users,admins"/>

As you can see we have introduced a user named system with password manager who belongs to groups users and admins. Since we have not allowed anonymous access, any subscriber or a publisher that connects to ActiveMQ should provide these credentials to successfully communicate. We can enable anonymous access by specifying the allowAnonymousAccess attribute on simpleAuthenticationPlugin to true.

After the configuration file is saved, restart ActiveMQ.

Within Stratos there are three configurations that we have to provide message broker credentials in to.

Stratos Components — Cloud Controller, Autoscaler, Stratos Manager

The ActiveMQ credentials for Stratos components can be provided by the jndi.properties file. Simply add the following two lines in the <STRATOS_HOME>/repository/conf/jndi.properties file.


java.naming.security.principal corresponds to the ActiveMQ username and java.naming.security.credentials contains the password.

Complex Event Processor

Based on the health statistics published from the instances via Thrift, the Complex Event Processor publishes several crucial messages to the message broker. This is done using a JMSOutputAdaptor. To configure the JMSOutputAdaptor to use ActiveMQ credentials, add the following entries inside the outputEventAdaptor tag, in the configuration file at <STRATOS_HOME>/repository/deployment/server/outputeventadaptors/JMSOutputAdaptor.xml

<property name=”transport.jms.UserName”>system</property> 
<property name=”transport.jms.Password”>manager</property>

Cartridge Agent

The Python Cartridge Agent can be configured with ActiveMQ credentials by specifying the mb.username and mb.password options in the agent.conf file.

To do this in a Docker image managed by Kubernetes, specify the following options in the Kubernetes Cluster Configuration JSON file, under the property array.

  "name": "payload_parameter.MB_USERNAME",
  "value": "system"
  "name": "payload_parameter.MB_PASSWORD",
  "value": "manager"

For a VM, these values can be specified in the base.pp manifest in the Puppet server.

$mb_username = ‘system’ 
$mb_password = ‘manager’

After the credentials are enabled and configured, if anonymous access is not allowed, no external user without the credentials will not be able to listen to the communication or publish messages on the message broker.

Originally published at chamilad.github.io on October 11, 2015.

Written on October 11, 2015 by chamila de alwis.

Originally published on Medium