IdP migration from 1.3 to Shibboleth 2
Most important changes from IdP 1.3 to Shibboleth 2
CAS is no longer required for ArpViewer (new: uApprove).
External authentication (i.e. CAS, Pubcookie, ...) is no longer needed
as the IdP features its own form based Username/Password login handler.
IdP automatically downloads metadata and attribute filter (formerly known as
Database required to support persistent identifiers (instructions for a MySQL
DB are part of the deployment guides).
- New entityID (Provider ID) scheme for IdPs:
urn:mace:switch.ch:SWITCHaai:example.org changes to
IdP installer generates self-signed certificate. While we recommend the use of a
self-signed certificate for Shibboleth, it is also possible to use a certificate issued
by an accepted Root CA (CA that is either included with the Mozilla or Microsoft program).
Such a certificate (e.g. issued by a SWITCHpki) should be used anyway to secure the login page.
The Shibboleth 2 IdP is interoperable with 1.3 Service Providers, but not with
the outdated SP version 1.2.
Note: EZproxy version 5.1a
and newer are interoperable with the Shib 2 IdP.
Possible migration strategies
It is possible to keep the downtime of the IdP service low, if the migration
has been well prepared and thorough interoperability testing has been done.
A short downtime will allow to bring the new production IdP online and, if
needed, to migrate the ArpViewer (uApprove) database.
The current best practice to put a new system into production is to first
install it in a test environment and document the installation, do testing
and finally install the production service analogous to the test system.
It is advised to keep the DNS name which is used for the 1.3 IdP on the new IdP.
Otherwise users might be confused about a new hostname in the login URL.
As a consequence, there are two options to put the new IdP online on the old hostname:
Change DNS entries to point on the new IdP's IP address(es).
- Be aware that clients may cache the IP addresses on their own strategy
regardless of TTL settings. Consequently, some requests may go to the old
address for a while.
Re-use the IP address(es) of the old IdP on the new IdP.
- The router/switch may cache the ARP address of the IdP. This is usually not
a problem as the network components detect the change automatically.
If the Shibboleth 2 IdP will get a new hostname, the old and new
IdP can run in parallel for the migration phase. This will allow to test
the interoperability of the new IdP before putting it into production.
The new IdP can also be put in the list of IdP's in the Discovery Service
WAYF) in the section of "Upcoming" IdPs.
Steps towards a successful migration
Install the IdP in the test federation and test against Service Providers in
the test federation before going for the production federation.
For test with SPs, use the following page to construct login links that point to
the new IdP:
Service Provider Login Link Composer.
If uApprove (ArpViewer) is used on the 1.3 IdP, migrate the database and
configuration to the Shib 2 IdP as a dry run for the migration of the
Coordination with Service Providers and SWITCH
Coordinate date of migration with the AAI team. The AAI team will change the
WAYF entry and Resource Registry specific settings on the day of the migration.
According to statistics from the central WAYF show that the number of AAI users
is the lowest on Saturday morning. That may be the best time for a maintenance
window to do the upgrade.
To prepare the IdP for the production federation, do an installation with the
entityID that will finally be used in the production federation, e.g.
Send the IdP Metadata file (
to the AAI team on firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion in federation metadata.
It is advised to do this at least 2-3 working days before the date of the
migration. This will ensure that Service Providers will be able get the
metadata with the new IdP's entry before the actual migration.
Inform resources of the your institution about the migration. In case they use
their own WAYF (or redirect directly to your IdP's login page), make sure they
will adapt their configuration. See the recipes for a way
to find resources that do not use the central WAYF. Administrators of these
resources should be informed separately. Their contact information is
listed in the Resource Registry.
Inform the SP admins of the SWITCHaai federation about the migration via
email@example.com. Include exact time of migration, old and new
entityID of IdP in the note. You may also ask the AAI team to post the note on
the mailing list.
On the login page of the old IdP inform users about migration. In particular they
should be made aware of host name/path changes because their browser may not
complete the login form with username and passwort autoamtically anymore.
Check whether digital content providers (Elsevier, ScienceDirect, Metapress,
...) or other resources rely on the IdP's entityID. A reconfiguration on their
Shibboleth Service Provider may be necessary.
Put the Shibboleth 2 IdP in production on the date agreed on. Keep in contact
with the SWITCH AAI team for changes on the central WAYF and in the Resource
If needed, migrate the ArpViewer (uApprove) database to the Shib 2 IdP and
adapt the configuration for uApprove.
If you were using the updateARP tool with Shibboleth 1.3 and if you had defined custom rules to be applied to the downloaded arp.site.xml file, make sure you apply these rules also for your new Identity Provider's attribute-filter.xml. You can do this by going to the Resource Registry and define "Specific Attribute Release Policy rules" in your Home Organization Description. By defining such excpetion rules you should be able to get the same results like with the updateARP rules.
You still should let run the old Identity Provider for at least some days in order to find out which Service Provider or users still are using the old site because of out-dated login links or bookmarks. Just have a look at the shib-access.log file to out more.
Another good idea is also to inform users that still are redirected to the old Identity Provider to update bookmarks or links. This can be done by removing the old Identity Provider and replacing the login pages with set of PHP files (provided by UniL) or a simple web page at the old location of the Identity Provider (usually /shibboleth-idp/SSO or /cas/login).
How to contact the AAI team
The AAI team can be contacted via e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone
on +41 (0) 44 268 1505.
How to get a list of SP's accessed from the IdP 1.3
cat /var/log/shibboleth/shib-access.2010*log | \
sed -n -e 's/.*Authen.*(\(http[^)]*\)).*/\1/p' | sort | \
uniq -c | sort --reverse --numeric
The commands above produce an ordered list of SP entityIDs with the number
of authentication assertions issued.
How to find Service Providers that do not use the central WAYF
Service Providers that do not use the central WAYF most probably use their own
WAYF or do a redirect to the old IdPs login page.
In order to find these SPs, two lists can be compared:
The SPs that appear your IdP's list but not on the SWITCHaai WAYF list
(or just with low numbers) are of interest. They most probably do not use
the central WAYF and will be affected by the migration.
- The list of all SPs that users have accessed in the past few weeks
- The list of SPs that were accessed via the SWITCHaai WAYF
To get the SWITCHaai WAYF list, write an email to email@example.com.
Please specify the time range the list shall cover.