Permissions for ONTAP storage systems and vSphere objects

Contributors Netapp-shabaana

ONTAP role-based access control (RBAC) enables you to control access to specific storage systems and to control the actions that a user can perform on those storage systems. In ONTAP® tools for VMware vSphere, ONTAP RBAC works with vCenter Server RBAC to determine which Virtual Storage Console (VSC) tasks a specific user can perform on the objects on a specific storage system.

VSC uses the credentials (user name and password) that you set up within VSC to authenticate each storage system and to determine which storage operations can be performed on that storage system. VSC uses one set of credentials for each storage system. These credentials determine which VSC tasks can be performed on that storage system; in other words, the credentials are for VSC, not for an individual VSC user.

ONTAP RBAC applies only to accessing storage systems and performing VSC tasks that are related to storage, such as provisioning virtual machines. If you do not have the appropriate ONTAP RBAC privileges for a specific storage system, you cannot perform any tasks on a vSphere object that is hosted on that storage system. You can use ONTAP RBAC in conjunction with the VSC-specific privileges to control which VSC tasks a user can perform:

  • Monitoring and configuring storage or vCenter Server objects residing on a storage system

  • Provisioning vSphere objects residing on a storage system

Using ONTAP RBAC with the VSC-specific privileges provides a storage-oriented layer of security that the storage administrator can manage. As a result, you have more fine-grained access control than what either ONTAP RBAC alone or vCenter Server RBAC alone supports. For example, with vCenter Server RBAC, you can allow vCenterUserB to provision a datastore on NetApp storage while preventing vCenterUserA from provisioning datastores. If the storage system credentials for a specific storage system do not support the creation of storage, then neither vCenterUserB nor vCenterUserA can provision a datastore on that storage system.

When you initiate a VSC task, VSC first verifies whether you have the correct vCenter Server permission for that task. If the vCenter Server permission is not sufficient to allow you to perform the task, VSC does not have to check the ONTAP privileges for that storage system because you did not pass the initial vCenter Server security check. As a result, you cannot access the storage system.

If the vCenter Server permission is sufficient, VSC then checks the ONTAP RBAC privileges (your ONTAP role) that are associated with the storage system credentials (the user name and password) to determine whether you have sufficient privileges to perform the storage operations that are required by that VSC task on that storage system. If you have the correct ONTAP privileges, you can access the storage system and perform the VSC task. The ONTAP roles determine the VSC tasks that you can perform on the storage system.

Each storage system has one set of ONTAP privileges associated with it.

Using both ONTAP RBAC and vCenter Server RBAC provides the following benefits:

  • Security

    The administrator can control which users can perform which tasks at a fine-grained vCenter Server object level and at a storage system level.

  • Audit information

    In many cases, VSC provides an audit trail on the storage system that enables you to track events back to the vCenter Server user who performed the storage modifications.

  • Usability

    You can maintain all of the controller credentials in one place.

You can set up several recommended ONTAP roles for working with ONTAP® tools for VMware vSphere and role-based access control (RBAC). These roles contain the ONTAP privileges that are required to perform the required storage operations that are executed by the Virtual Storage Console (VSC) tasks.

To create new user roles, you must log in as an administrator on storage systems running ONTAP. You can create ONTAP roles using one of the following:

Each ONTAP role has an associated user name and password pair, which constitute the credentials of the role. If you do not log in by using these credentials, you cannot access the storage operations that are associated with the role.

As a security measure, the VSC-specific ONTAP roles are ordered hierarchically. This means that the first role is the most restrictive role and has only the privileges that are associated with the most basic set of VSC storage operations. The next role includes both its own privileges and all of the privileges that are associated with the previous role. Each additional role is less restrictive with regard to the supported storage operations.

The following are some of the recommended ONTAP RBAC roles when using VSC. After you create these roles, you can assign the roles to users who have to perform tasks related to storage, such as provisioning virtual machines.

  1. Discovery

    This role enables you to add storage systems.

  2. Create Storage

    This role enables you to create storage. This role also includes all of the privileges that are associated with the Discovery role.

  3. Modify Storage

    This role enables you to modify storage. This role also includes all of the privileges that are associated with the Discovery role and the Create Storage role.

  4. Destroy Storage

    This role enables you to destroy storage. This role also includes all of the privileges that are associated with the Discovery role, the Create Storage role, and the Modify Storage role.

If you are using VASA Provider for ONTAP, you should also set up a policy-based management (PBM) role. This role enables you to manage storage by using storage policies. This role requires that you also set up the “Discovery” role.