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Packaging Shibboleth, Grouper, and COmanage for Ease-of-Deployment Working Group

Sponsor: TIER

Group Leader (Chair): Jim Jokl 

Agenda and Collaborative scribing notes are here:

Attendees are encouraged to participate in live-scribing the meetings on the above Google doc.

Email List: 

  – To subscribe:



Deploying and operating campus Shibboleth, Grouper, and COmanage environments that adequately support a school's federated and internal application needs is a significant pain point for some schools and a barrier for others.  Many campuses do not have the skill sets or staffing resources required by the current application packaging techniques. Many configuration options are possible for these tools and default settings don't necessarily do what schools need.  Enhanced configuration tools could ease effort.  Broader campus adoption and use of this software will likely require significant progress towards simplified Shibboleth, Grouper, and COmanage implementation and maintenance via an appropriate set of pre-configured containerized, virtualized, and/or cloud software distributions that are curated for longer-term support.  Other TIER components will have similar packaging and operational needs.


The mission of this packaging working group is to develop a set of specifications and recommendations for what needs to be done to make TIER components simple to deploy and easier to operate and maintain.  These specifications and recommendations will be turned over to TIER staff for implementation, distribution, and long-term maintenance as pre-built TIER software components.

Specific goals for the Packaging for Ease-of-Deployment Working Group include:

  • Identifying common needs and pain points for Shibboleth, Grouper, and COmanage deployments from the perspective of various audiences, particularly sites that are impeded by the current packaging, default settings, and/or lack of administrative tools.  It is expected that the audiences for Shibboleth, Grouper, and COmanage are likely to be different.
  • Understand and define appropriate (sets of) out-of-the box configurations for Grouper, Shibboleth, and COmanage.  The Shibboleth configurations should focus on deployment within InCommon.
  • Define what is needed to simplify and streamline any needed remaining per-site configuration (e.g., administrative tools, scripts, GUIs, etc.).
  • Understand and define the appropriate set or sets of Shibboleth features and/or plug-ins and/or additional software that should be included in the distribution(s).
  • Specify packaging for the solutions (e.g., containers, VMs, archives, etc.) that will work for Shibboleth, Grouper, and COmanage, be well positioned for use with other TIER components, and support the goals of ease of deployment, configuration, operations, and upgrade.


Membership in the Working Group is open to all interested parties. Members join the Working Group by subscribing to the mailing list, participating in the phone calls, and otherwise actively engaging in the work of the group.

The chair of the Working Group is appointed by TIER and is responsible for keeping TIER and InCommon TAC informed regarding Working Group's progress.


The Packaging Shibboleth, Grouper, and COmanage for Ease-of-Deployment Working Group will organize its work and develop a work plan to meet the key deliverables highlighted below.  The items documented below should be delivered in order listed below.

  1. Document the set of target audiences selected for the software distributions.  The groups selected for Shibboleth may differ from those used for Grouper and COmanage.
  2. Document the interaction with a sufficient sample of schools from these different groupings to understand their environment and needs.
  3. For each grouping, document the general environment and their needs related to appropriate software distributions.  Review these findings on the TIER and InCommon membership mailing lists and with their associated technical advisory committees.
  4. With an eye towards both site requirements and long-term sustainability, generate a (hopefully small) set of recommended configurations. For each of these configurations summarize issues such as the preferred technology (e.g., container, vm, cloud service, etc.), the default configurations/components to be included, site configuration needs, technology recommendations, required documentation, and other appropriate information.  The documentation delivered at this stage of the WG's effort should be at a sufficient level of detail such that TIER technical staff are able to easily complete technical specifications and build the appropriate packages.
  5. While the core packaging recommendations and processes (i.e., container, vm, etc., etc.) will be influenced by the Shibboleth, Grouper, and COmanage use cases, they are to be selected/designed to support all TIER components.
  6. Provide suggestions on the types of community support that will be needed by campuses using these new packages.
  7. Develop a recommendation for if  this workgroup or a follow-on group would be better for completing the following two tasks:
    1. Work with TIER developers as needed to answer questions, perhaps perform high-level testing, and generally be supportive as needed during the development process.
    2. Packaging for future TIER components.
    3. Issues that are placed on the parking lot for future work by this working group.

Potential Deliverables Considered to be Out of Scope for this Phase

The working group is likely to encounter other topics during its deliberations and may elect to tackle appropriate issues within the WG or suggest that other groups or a follow-on work group address these topics.

Expected End Date

This working group's efforts are in support of a possible TIER release in April 2016.  Work needs to proceed to deliver core packaging design by the end of calendar 2015.  The details of for additional administrative and configuration tools and GUIs must be completed by Jan 31, 2016.  Depending on the complexity of the added configuration and administrative tools, this software might or might not be included in the April 2016 release.

Workgroup Documents

  1. Survey Results - link
  2. Core Packaging Discussion - link
  3. Core Packaging Assumprions Refresh - link
  4. Campus metadata management tool - link


Internet2 Resources


  • Mondays at 4:00 pm eastern time

Reference Material





See Also:

TIER Working Groups Home

TIER Package Delivery Wiki

Background information on TIER, Internet2 initiative on Trust and Identity in Education and Research









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