Keycloak IDM

As of Apiman 3, we no longer bundle the Keycloak server into Apiman quickstart distributions.

In order to use the Apiman quickstarts, you need to run Keycloak.

Keycloak is used to manage a range of security tasks for Apiman, including user account management, login security, OIDC provider, etc.

To provide flexibility, there are a few ways you can configure Apiman to point to your Keycloak server.


Table 1. Required Params
Name Type Description
  • System property: apiman.auth.realm



Keycloak realm name.

  • Default Value: apiman

  • System property: apiman.auth.url

  • Env var: APIMAN_AUTH_URL


Keycloak auth server URL

In older versions of Keycloak the auth server might have /auth at the end of the URL, rather than being at root (i.e. old-keycloak:8080/auth vs new-keycloak:8080/auth).
  • System property: apiman.auth.api.secret



Keycloak secret credential for the Apiman Manager API (apiman client)

  • Default Value: password

  • System property: apiman.auth.ui.secret



Keycloak secret credential for the Apiman Manager UI (apimanui client)

  • Default Value: password

  • System property: apiman.auth.gateway.secret



Keycloak secret credential for the Apiman Gateway API (apiman-gateway-api client)

  • Default Value: password

  • System property: apiman.auth.realm-public-key



Public key for Apiman realm (only needed on Vert.x Gateway).

  • Default Value: example Apiman realm key

Please change default secrets and keys before deploying Apiman to production.

Setting up Keycloak

As a quick way to run Keycloak and initialise it with the Apiman’s default realm, here’s an example Docker Compose file:

Example Docker Compose file
    container_name: keycloak_server_all
    entrypoint: ['/bin/bash', '-c']
      - |
        cd /opt/keycloak
        ./bin/ build
        ./bin/ start-dev --import-realm
      - "8085:8080"
      - "KEYCLOAK_ADMIN=admin"
      - "KEYCLOAK_ADMIN_PASSWORD=admin123!"
      - "KEYCLOAK_FRONTEND_URL=http://localhost:8085"
      - ${PWD}/apiman-realm-for-keycloak.json:/opt/keycloak/data/import/apiman-realm-for-keycloak.json (1)
1 Copy apiman-realm-for-keycloak.json from apiman/data/apiman-realm-for-keycloak.json
  1. Create a file called docker-compose.yml with the contents shown above.

  2. Copy apiman/data/apiman-realm-for-keycloak.json from your distro zip to the same directory as your docker-compose.yml.

  3. Start with docker-compose up.

  4. You should now have Keycloak running on localhost port 8085

  5. Try it with: localhost:8085/admin

    1. Admin username: admin

    2. Admin password: admin123!

  6. Your Apiman Auth URL is: localhost:8085 (see Configuration)

This is running in dev mode. For production, refer to the Keycloak Production Guides.

Gateway API Authentication

The Apiman Gateway’s REST API is what the API Manager invokes when publishing APIs and Client Apps to the Gateway [1].

The quickstart configurations should work out of the box, but they assume the locality of all components.

Real deployments will likely need to perform some reconfiguration.

This REST API should be protected, usually by BASIC authentication.

By default, the Apiman Gateway REST API requires BASIC authentication credentials, as well as a role of apipublisher.

  • The Apiman Gateway REST API can only be invoked by a valid user, and that user must have the apipublisher role.

  • The Keycloak client for this API is apiman-gateway-api

    • The default user is: apimanager

    • The default password is: apiman123!

Advanced Setup

For more advanced setups, the environment variables/system properties may not be sufficient; manual editing of configuration files might be necessary.

Vert.x Gateway

For the Vert.x gateway, the simplest way to retrieve the necessary configuration is to generate it from your Keycloak server.

The gateway accepts Keycloak’s generated JSON, allowing you to paste your chosen client configuration from the Keycloak console into the auth.config section.

To retrieve it:

  1. Log into your Keycloak Administrator console (e.g localhost:8085/admin).

  2. Clientsapiman-gateway-apiInstallation.

  3. Select Keycloak OIDC JSON for Format Option.

  4. Copy the contents and merge into the config selection where indicated below.

The precise configuration you need to provide will vary depending upon your Keycloak setup.

Due to a current limitation in the underlying OAuth2 library you may be required to provide a credentials section to avoid issues.

You can change your client type to confidential, or simply provide a dummy credentials section.

"auth": {
  "type": "keycloak",
  "config": {
    "flowType": "PASSWORD",
    "requiredRole": "realm:apipublisher",
    // Paste and overwrite your Keycloak config here.
    "realm": "apiman",
    "realm-public-key": "<snip>",
    "auth-server-url": "http://localhost:8080/auth",
    "ssl-required": "none",
    "resource": "apiman-gateway-api",
    // A limitation in the current OAuth2 implementation means a credentials section is required
    // even if your client is not set to "confidential". Leave this dummy section if you're using non-confidential.
    "credentials": {
      "secret": "217b725d-7790-47a7-a3fc-5cf31f92a8db"
    // End paste here

Servlet Gateway

The API Gateway has a REST based configuration API which the API Manager uses when publishing APIs to it. This API is protected by Keycloak authentication.

Most options can be configured using environment variables or system properties, rather than editing configuration directly. Please see the Keycloak Configuration Options section for details.

If not, the relevant portion of the standalone-apiman.xml file that you must change is keycloak subsystem. It looks something like this:

<realm name="apiman">

MTLS (Mutual SSL) Endpoint Security

If you wish to use mutual SSL to ensure endpoint security between the Apiman API Gateway and your back-end API(s), you must update some settings.

High Level Overview

  1. Create Trust and Key Stores

  2. Make changes to your config file

  3. (Re)start Apiman!

  4. Configure one or more API to use MTLS

Create Trust and Key Stores

Please refer to official JDK documentation to learn how to create and managed your SSL Trust and Key stores. Minimally a Keystore is required in order to successfully utilise MTLS, and in many cases also a Truststore.

A keystore contains a given node’s private key material, and must be kept safe. Each node should have a unique key entry. For instance, a gateway should have its own keystore, and each API likewise. In a production system, these keys should be issued by a trusted certificate authority.

A truststore typically contains a set of certificate authorities which are trusted issuers. Therefore, any certificate signed by the trusted CA would be trusted by the gateway. If no truststore is explicitly provided to Apiman the default trusted certificates provided by the JVM will be used. A typical use-case would be that an organization’s internal signing authority is marked as trusted within in the truststore, and as the authority has been used to sign the certificate material in the keystores, they will mutually trust each other by virtue of the issuer.

It is also possible to directly insert the public/self-signed certificate corresponding to a given private key pair into a truststore, which works well at small scales and for development, but will quickly cause the accumulation of a huge number of certificates in larger systems as it requires a 1:1 mapping of certificates and private keys (rather than 1:N by using a trusted authority).

Your back-end APIs must be SSL enabled and require authenticated client SSL connections. This means you must have server SSL certificates generated (and appropriate certificates and/or CAs stored in your Trust Store).

Example Scenarios

There are many potential configuration permutations, but we’ll outline a few simple ones here to get you started. You should research the best options to meet your security and deployment requirements.

Development Setup

In our hypothetical development setup, let’s imagine we have two APIs and a single gateway.

Table 2. Simple Development MTLS Setup
Component Key Alias Truststore’s Trusted Certificates

Apiman Gateway


api_a.cer, api_b.cer







  • Generate a keystore and export a certificate for each component:

    • Gateway:

keytool -genkey -keyalg RSA -keystore gateway_ks.jks -alias gateway
keytool -export -alias gateway -file gateway.cer -keystore gateway_ks.jks
  • API A:

keytool -genkey -keyalg RSA -keystore api_a_ks.jks -alias api_a
keytool -export -alias api_a -file api_a.cer -keystore api_a_ks.jks
  • API B:

keytool -genkey -keyalg RSA -keystore api_b_ks.jks -alias api_b
keytool -export -alias api_b -file api_b.cer -keystore api_b_ks.jks
  • Import certificates into appropriate trust stores:

    • Gateway:

keytool -import -file api_a.cer -alias api_a -keystore gateway_ts.jks
keytool -import -file api_b.cer -alias api_b -keystore gateway_ts.jks
  • API A:

keytool -import -file gateway.cer -alias gateway -keystore api_a_ts.jks
  • API B:

keytool -import -file gateway.cer -alias gateway -keystore api_b_ts.jks

Now simply set the appropriate paths to the keystore and truststore in for the gateway, and set up your APIs with their respective truststores and keystores (the specifics of how to do this will depend on your API’s implementation).

We will also set the following in to make our development easier:


When you add your MTLS protected APIs into Apiman via the web application, you should set the API Security field to MTLS/Two-Way-SSL.

MTLS via Custom Certificate Authority

The previous approach works for development, but doesn’t scale well, is harder to manage and doesn’t gracefully handle revocations, expiry, expansion, etc. Instead, let’s summarise a scenario where an organisation has an internal CA which they use to sign APIs' certificates. The process for generating a CA and signing certificates is out of scope for this guide, but is trivial to accomplish using OpenSSL, LibreSSL, or similar.

Let’s imagine we have a CA called apimanCA, and have signed the certificates for each node.

Table 3. CA-based MTLS Setup
Component Signed Key Alias Truststore Contents

Apiman Gateway

gateway (signed by apimanCA)



api_a (signed by apimanCA)



api_n (signed by apimanCA)


Despite the initial administrative work setting up the CA and signing the certificates, this process is drastically less effort to maintain in large deployments. Only the trusted CA needs to be in the truststore, and any certificates signed by it are trusted by virtue of this.

Make changes to configuration

Once you have your Trust Store and Key Store properly configured, you must alter your configuration file. Here is a summary of the properties:

Omit any properties which are not relevant to you, except trustStore, which is mandatory for MTLS.

The settings chosen here have significant security implications. Best practice guides are available at OWASP.


  "connector-factory": {
    "class": "io.apiman.gateway.platforms.vertx3.connector.ConnectorFactory",
    "config": {
      "tls": {
        // Whether self-signed certificates should be automatically trusted. *Use with care.*
        //"allowSelfSigned": true,

        // Developer mode (bypass almost all security checks). *Use with care.*
        //"devMode": false,

        // Whether certificate host checks should be bypassed. *Use with care.*
        //"allowAnyHost": true,

        // Trust store contains certificate(s) trusted by gateway.
        "trustStore": "/path/to/your/truststore.jks",
        "trustStorePassword": "abc123",

        // Key store contains gateway's keys.
        "keyStore": "/path/to/your/keystore.jks",
        "keyStorePassword": "abc123"

        // By default all keys can be used (will try all).
        // If alias list provided, will only attempt to use listed keys.
        //"keyAliases": "mykey,myotherkey",

        // Allowed TLS/SSL protocols and ciphers suites as CSV.
        // Availability will vary depending on your JVM impl.
        // Uses JVM defaults depending if not explicitly provided.
        // See:
        //"allowedProtocols": "TLSv1.2,TLSv1.1",
        //"allowedCiphers": "TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA,...",
        //"disallowedCiphers": "..."

# ---------------------------------------------------------------------
# SSL/TLS settings for the gateway connector(s).
# ---------------------------------------------------------------------

# Trust store contains certificate(s) trusted by gateway.

# Key store contains gateway's keys (including private components: keep it safe).
apiman-gateway.connector-factory.tls.keyStorePassword=<PASSWORD_IF_ANY> # Password on key store as a whole
apiman-gateway.connector-factory.tls.keyPassword=<PASSWORD_IF_ANY> # Password on specific key(s)
# By default all keys can be used (will try all). If alias list provided, will only attempt to use listed keys.

# Allowed TLS/SSL protocols and ciphers suites as CSV. Availability will vary depending on your JVM impl.
# Uses JVM defaults depending if not explicitly provided.
# See:

# Whether certificate host checks should be bypassed. *Use with great care.*

# Whether self-signed certificates should be automatically trusted. *Use with great care.*

(Re)start Apiman

If Apiman was running, you should stop it now. Once everything is shutdown, and the changes to have been made, go ahead and start Apiman up again.

Configure one or more API to use MTLS

Now that the Apiman MTLS feature has been configured, use the Manager UI to enable MTLS in one or more API. This can be done on the "Implementation" tab when you are configuring the details of your back-end endpoint (URL, type, and endpoint security).

1. Some advanced configurations may interact directly with the Gateway API, whilst others may bypass it entirely by using polling, etc.