LDAP Integration

eXo Platform organizational entities (users, groups and memberships), can be stored in a database or a directory such as OpenLDAP or Active Directory (AD). This chapter documents how to configure eXo Platform to plug to a directory.


Please notice that this integration is not SSO (Single Sign On). If SSO is what you need, read the SSO chapter, eXo Add-ons guide that explains how eXo Platform works with a directory through an SSO service like CAS or OpenAM.


  • eXo Platform supports only the read-only mode with a directory (LDAP/AD).
  • Only one single directory is allowed.
  • The mapped organizational entities from directory are imported in one way direction: from the directory to eXo Platform.

This chapter covers the following topics:


eXo Platform uses PicketLink IDM framework that allows a very flexible integration with a directory server:

  • It can be plugged to an already populated directory, in read-only mode. The directory can contain users and groups, or only users.
  • Structure of users and groups in the directory can be finely customized.
  • The supported directory implementations are: OpenLDAP and Microsoft Active Directory. You can refer to our official supported environments matrix for more details about the supported versions.

The term “Directory users” represents users who are created in the directory by its utilities. The term “Platform users” represents users who are created via eXo Platform UI. The understanding is similar for “Directory groups” and “Platform group*”.

The following section is a step-by-step tutorial to integrate eXo Platform with a directory server.

If you want to know more about PicketLink IDM configuration, you can refer to the official documentation of PicketLink.

Quick start

Through this tutorial, you will be able to integrate eXo Platform with a populated directory server. We suppose that your directory server has a structure similar to the following one:


In this quick start, you configure eXo Platform to read information of users and groups from the directory. It might not match your need exactly, but after this start you will have everything packaged in an extension, that you can adapt by following the following sections.


The ldap-extension is technically a portal extension that is described in Developer guide, but it does not require compilation as it requires only xml files, so administrators can pack the war archive without using a Maven build. If you are a developer, you can create a Maven project for it like any other extension.

  1. Create a ldap-extension directory having this structure:

    |__ META-INF
            |__ exo-conf
                    |__ configuration.xml
    |__ WEB-INF
            |__ conf
                    |__ configuration.xml
                    |__ organization
                |__ idm-configuration.xml
                |__ picketlink-idm-ldap-config.xml
            |__ jboss-deployment-structure.xml
            |__ web.xml
  2. Edit WEB-INF/conf/configuration.xml:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
           xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.exoplatform.org/xml/ns/kernel_1_3.xsd   http://www.exoplatform.org/xml/ns/kernel_1_3.xsd"
  3. Copy content of the portal.war!/WEB-INF/conf/organization/idm-configuration.xml file of eXo Platform to your idm-configuration.xml file, then edit your file to replace:


    with the path to your picketlink-idm-ldap-config.xml file:

  4. Copy content from one of PicketLink sample files to your picketlink-idm-ldap-config.xml file.


The sample files can be found in,``portal.war!/WEB-INF/conf/organization/picketlink-idm/examples``. Choose either of the following files:

  • picketlink-idm-msad-config.xml if you use MS Active Directory.
  • picketlink-idm-openldap-config.xml for OpenLDAP.
  • picketlink-idm-ldap-config.xml for other LDAP compliant directories.
  1. Modify the picketlink-idm-ldap-config.xml file according to your directory setup. Most of the time, the following parameters need to be changed:

    • all the DNs locating the users and groups:
      • ctxDNs of the USER identity object, which must be the root DN of the users.
      • ctxDNs of the platform_type identity object, which must be the root DN of the groups mapped under the eXo Platform /platform group.
      • ctxDNs of the organization_type identity object, which must be the root DN of the groups mapped under the eXo Platform /organization group
    • providerURL
    • adminDN
    • adminPassword
  2. For Microsoft Active Directory (MSAD); do the following sub-steps :

    1. Prepare a truststore file containing the valid certificate for MSAD. It can be generated by the Linux command:
    keytool -import -file  certificate -keystore truststore
    1. Edit the following parameters in the ``picketlink-idm-ldap-config.xml``file:

      • providerURL: Should use SSL (ldaps://).
      • customSystemProperties: Give your truststore file path and password.
  3. Uncomment the following entries in the idm-configuration.xml file:

    • groupTypeMappings

    • ignoreMappedMembershipTypeGroupList


    This step enables mapping of directory groups (platform and organization - that are predefined groups) to eXo Platform. If you bypass this step, only user mapping is performed.

  4. Configure your extension by following the steps 3, 4 and 5 of Creating a portal extension.

  5. Package and deploy your ldap-extension into Platform.

  6. Make sure the directory server is running, then start eXo Platform.

Packaging and deploying

The extension folder must be packaged into ldap-extension.war then copied to $PLATFORM_TOMCAT_HOME/webapps.

To compress the folder into a .war (and decompress the .war for editing), you can use any archiver tool that supports .war extension. You can use the JDK built-in tool jar, as follows:

  • To compress, first go to inside ldap-extension directory: cd ldap-extension

    Then run: jar cvf path/to/save/ldap-extension.war *

  • To decompress, run: jar xvf path/to/ldap-extension.war


Do not include the ldap-extension folder itself into the .war. The .war should contain META-INF and WEB-INF folders at root of the archive, it should not contain ldap-extension folder. That’s why you need to go to inside the folder first.


You should have ldap-extension packaged in .war when deploying it to production. However when testing, if you feel uncomfortable having to edit a .war, you can skip compressing it. In Tomcat, just deploy the original folder ldap-extension.


If the integration was successful, the directory users and groups will appear in eXo Platform under the menu Administration –> Users –> Manage Users.

How to map multiple DNs for users?

eXo Platform allows to map users dispatched in multiple directory DNs, like this:


In such case, you should, in addition to previous steps described in the Quick start section, follow these steps:

  1. Open the configuration file picketlink-idm-ldap-config.xml.

  2. Search for the option ctxDNs.

  3. Define the different locations of DNs where your directory users are located:


Since only one type of user can be defined, all users of these DNs must share the same attributes mapping.

How to change default mandatory users attributes mapping?

There are five attributes that should always be mapped (because they are mandatory in eXo Platform):

  • username
  • password
  • firstname
  • lastname
  • email

The username mapping is defined by the option idAttributeName:


The password mapping is defined by the option passwordAttributeName:


The firstname, lastname and email mapping are defined in user attributes:


The default mapping defined in the provided sample configuration files for OpenLDAP and MSAD directories is summarized in the following table:

eXo Platform Configuration attribute OpenLDAP default value MSAD default value
username Option idAttributeName uid cn
password Option passwordAttributeName userPassword unicodePwd
firstname Attribute firstName cn givenname
lastname Attribute lastName sn sn
email Attribute email mail mail

You can update them in the file picketlink-idm-ldap-config.xml to match your specific mapping.

How to map additional user attributes?

As described in the previous section, by default, only 5 attributes are mapped from a directory user to an eXo Platform user. Additional user attributes can be mapped by configuration by adding new attribute element in the attributes section of the USER identity object type. For example if you want to map a directory attribute title to eXo Platform attribute user.jobtitle, you must add this configuration snippet under the “attributes” tag in the file picketlink-idm-ldap-config.xml, as follows:


How to map multiple DNs for groups?

As in previous sections, we assume that you already have a populated directory and some groups that should be mapped into eXo Platform.


To be clear about the LDAP “group”, it should be the “groupOfNames” objectClass in OpenLDAP or “group” objectClass in Active Directory. In OpenLDAP (default core.schema), the groupOfNames must have the member attribute.

Under the context DN (ou=Groups,o=acme,dc=example,dc=com), there are several groups as shown in the diagram below:


In this case, you should, in addition to previous steps described in the Quick start section, follow these steps:

  1. Open the configuration file picketlink-idm-ldap-config.xml.

  2. Search for the option ctxDNs to define the multiple locations of DNs where your directory groups are located:


How to map directory groups to a new eXo Platform group?

In the Quick start chapter we map the directory groups to default eXo Platform groups /platform and /organization. In this chapter we will learn how to map directory groups into a new eXo Platform group. Let’s say we want to map the groups contained in the directory DN o=acme,dc=example,dc=com into the eXo Platform group /acme. As a prerequisite, the group /acme must be already created in eXo Platform.

  1. PicketLink configuration

    The first step is to define the mapping configuration in PicketLink configuration file picketlink-idm-ldap-config.xml by adding a new identity object type (we call it acme_groups_type) under the identity store PortalLDAPStore:


    Make sure that the attributes and options are correct, especially:

    • idAttributeName: attribute name to use as the group id.
    • ctxDNs: base DN of the groups in the directory.
    • entrySearchFilter: search expression to filter objects to consider as groups.
    • parentMembershipAttributeName: attribute which holds the list of group members. In OpenLDAP or MSAD default schemas, the member attribute is used, but your schema may use another attribute.

Then this new object type must be referenced in the PortalRepository repository:

  1. eXo configuration

    Besides the PicketLink configuration, the eXo service configuration defined in the file idm-configuration.xml must be updated. A new entry must be added in the fields groupTypeMappings and ignoreMappedMembershipTypeGroupList to map the group defined in PicketLink configuration with the eXo Platform group, as follows:

                         <field name="groupTypeMappings">
                                  <map type="java.util.HashMap">
                         <field name="ignoreMappedMembershipTypeGroupList">
                                 <collection type="java.util.ArrayList" item-type="java.lang.String">

Configuration reference

This section is a complete description of the available configuration options. It lists the options of both eXo configuration and PicketLink configuration.

eXo configuration

The eXo configuration related to PicketLink integration is defined in these 2 services:

  • org.exoplatform.services.organization.idm.PicketLinkIDMServiceImpl
  • org.exoplatform.services.organization.idm.PicketLinkIDMOrganizationServiceImpl

You can adapt the configuration by updating these services configuration in the file idm-configuration.xml as described in the Quick Start section.

PicketLinkIDMServiceImpl service

This service has the following parameters:

  • config (value-param): location of the PicketLink IDM configuration file.



The “war:” prefix allows to lookup the given location in all deployed webapps.

  • hibernate.properties (properties-param): list of hibernate properties used to create SessionFactory that will be injected in Picketlink IDM configuration registry.

                    <description>Default Hibernate Service</description>
                    <property name="hibernate.hbm2ddl.auto" value="update"/>
                    <property name="hibernate.show_sql" value="false"/>
                    <property name="hibernate.connection.datasource" value="${gatein.idm.datasource.name}${container.name.suffix}"/>
                    <property name="hibernate.connection.autocommit" value="false"/>
                    <property name="hibernate.listeners.envers.autoRegister" value="false"/>
  • hibernate.annotations: list of annotated classes that will be added to Hibernate configuration.

  • hibernate.mappings: list of .xml files that will be added to the hibernate configuration as mapping files.

  • jndiName (value-param): if the ‘config’ parameter is not provided, this parameter will be used to perform the JNDI lookup for IdentitySessionFactory.

  • portalRealm (value-param): the realm name that should be used to obtain the proper IdentitySession. The default value is ‘PortalRealm’.


PicketLinkIDMOrganizationServiceImpl service

This service has the following parameters defined as fields of object-param of type org.exoplatform.services.organization.idm.Config:

  • rootGroupName : the name of the PicketLink IDM Group that will be used as a root parent. The default is GTN_ROOT_GROUP.
  • defaultGroupType: the name of the PicketLink IDM GroupType that will be used to store groups. The default is GTN_GROUP_TYPE.
  • groupTypeMappings : this parameter maps groups added with eXo Platform API as children of a given group ID, and stores them with a given group type name in PicketLink IDM. If the parent ID ends with “/*”, all child groups will have the mapped group type. Otherwise, only direct (first level) children will use this type. This can be leveraged by LDAP if the LDAP DN is configured in PicketLink IDM to only store a specific group type. This will then store the given branch in the eXo Platform group tree, while all other groups will remain in the database.
  • forceMembershipOfMappedTypes: groups stored in PicketLink IDM with a type mapped in ‘groupTypeMappings’ will automatically be members under the mapped parent. The Group relationships linked by the PicketLink IDM group association will not be necessary. This parameter can be set to false if all groups are added via eXo Platform APIs. This may be useful with the LDAP configuration when being set to true, it will make every entry added to LDAP appear in eXo Platform. This, however, is not true for entries added via eXo Platform management UI.
  • ignoreMappedMembershipType: if “associationMembershipType” option is used, and this option is set to true, Membership with MembershipType configured to be stored as PicketLink IDM association will not be stored as PicketLink IDM Role.
  • associationMembershipType : if this option is used, each Membership created with MembrshipType that is equal to the value specified here, will be stored in PicketLink IDM as the simple Group-User association.
  • passwordAsAttribute: this parameter specifies if a password should be stored using the PicketLink IDM Credential object or as a plain attribute. The default value is set to false.
  • useParentIdAsGroupType: this parameter stores the parent ID path as a group type in PicketLink IDM for any IDs not mapped with a specific type in ‘groupTypeMappings’. If this option is set to false, and no mappings are provided under ‘groupTypeMappings’, only one group with the given name can exist in the eXo Platform group tree.
  • pathSeparator: when ‘userParentIdAsGroupType’ is set to true, this value will be used to replace all “/” characters in IDs. The “/” character is not allowed in the group type name in PicketLink IDM.

Frequently asked questions

A: Not any condition except that the top DN should be created before being integrated.

You should ensure that the Directory contains an entry like the following:

dn: dc=example,dc=com
objectClass: top
objectClass: domain
dc: example

A: LDAP users are visible in the Users and Groups Management Page but they are unable to sign in eXo Platform. More exactly, they do not have access permission to any pages.

Additional steps should be done to allow them to sign in:

A: Use this option:


See more details at PicketLink IDM configuration.

A: This may happen with OpenLDAP, when users are created successfully but they cannot login, and there is error code 49 in your LDAP log as follows:

5630e5ba conn=1002 op=0 BIND dn="uid=firstuser,ou=People,o=portal,o=gatein,dc=steinhoff,dc=com" method=128
5630e5ba do_bind: version=3 dn="uid=firstuser,ou=People,o=portal,o=gatein,dc=steinhoff,dc=com" method=128
5630e5ba ==> bdb_bind: dn: uid=firstuser,ou=People,o=portal,o=gatein,dc=steinhoff,dc=com
5630e5ba bdb_dn2entry("uid=firstuser,ou=people,o=portal,o=gatein,dc=steinhoff,dc=com")
5630e5ba => access_allowed: result not in cache (userPassword)
5630e5ba => access_allowed: auth access to "uid=firstuser,ou=People,o=portal,o=gatein,dc=steinhoff,dc=com" "userPassword" requested
5630e5ba => dn: [1]
5630e5ba <= acl_get: done.
5630e5ba => slap_access_allowed: no more rules
5630e5ba => access_allowed: no more rules
5630e5ba send_ldap_result: conn=1002 op=0 p=3
5630e5ba send_ldap_result: err=49 matched="" text=""
5630e5ba send_ldap_response: msgid=1 tag=97 err=49

To resolve this, add an ACL (Access Control List) rule in the slapd.conf file as below:

# Access and Security Restrictions (Most restrictive entries first)
access to attrs=userPassword
        by self write
        ## by dn.sub="ou=admin,dc=domain,dc=example" read ## not mandatory, useful if you need grant a permission to a particular dn
        by anonymous auth
        by users none
access to * by * read