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The Jasig Java CAS client 3.1.12 and later supports container-based CAS authentication and authorization support for the Tomcat servlet container.

Version Compatibility


This feature is available in versions 3.1.12 and later.


There has been a longstanding feature request, CAS-33, to add Tomcat container authentication support to the Java CAS client. A brief discussion of a hypothetical use case follows. Suppose a single Tomcat container hosts multiple Web applications with similar authentication and authorization needs. Prior to Tomcat container support, each application would require a similar configuration of CAS servlet filters and authorization configuration in the web.xml servlet descriptor. Using the new container-based authentication/authorization feature, a single CAS configuration can be applied to the container and leveraged by all Web applications hosted by the container.

Supported Tomcat Versions

CAS authentication support for Tomcat is based on the Tomcat-specific Realm component. The Realm component has a fairly broad surface area and RealmBase is provided as a convenient superclass for custom implementations; the CAS realm implementations derive from RealmBase. Unfortunately RealmBase and related components have proven to change over both major and minor number releases, which requires version-specific CAS components for integration. We have provided two packages with similar components with the hope of supporting all 6.x and 7.x versions. No support for 5.x is provided.


A working knowledge of Tomcat realm-based authentication and authorization is required for configuration. Please study the Tomcat Realm Configuration HOW-TO (see for 7.0.x) and related material for background if needed.

Component Overview

In the following discussion of components, only the Tomcat 6.x components are mentioned. The Tomcat 7.0.x components have exactly the same name, but are in the tomcat.v7 package, e.g. org.jasig.cas.client.tomcat.v7.Cas20CasAuthenticator.


Authenticators are responsible for performing CAS authentication using a particular protocol. All protocols supported by the Jasig Java CAS client are supported: CAS 1.0, CAS 2.0, and SAML 1.1. The following components provide protocol-specific support:

  • org.jasig.cas.client.tomcat.v6.Cas10CasAuthenticator
  • org.jasig.cas.client.tomcat.v6.Cas20CasAuthenticator
  • org.jasig.cas.client.tomcat.v6.Cas20ProxyCasAuthenticator
  • org.jasig.cas.client.tomcat.v6.Saml11Authenticator


In terms of CAS configuration, Tomcat realms serve as containers for users and role definitions. The roles defined in a Tomcat realm may be referenced in the web.xml servlet descriptor to define authorization constraints on Web applications hosted by the container. Two sources of user/role data are supported:

  • org.jasig.cas.client.tomcat.v6.PropertiesCasRealm
  • org.jasig.cas.client.tomcat.v6.AssertionCasRealm

PropertiesCasRealm uses a Java properties file as a source of static user/role information. This component is conceptually similar to the MemoryRealm component that ships with Tomcat and defines user/role data via XML configuration. The PropertiesCasRealm is different in that it explicitly lacks support for passwords, which have no use with CAS.

AssertionCasRealm is designed to be used in conjunction with the SAML 1.1. protocol to take advantage of CAS attribute release to provide for dynamic user/role data driven by the CAS server. With this component the deployer may define a role attribute, e.g. memberOf, which could be backed by LDAP group membership information. In that case the user would be added to all roles defined in the SAML attribute assertion for values of the the memberOf attribute.


A number of Tomcat valves are provided to handle functionality outside Realms and Authenticators.

Logout Valves

Logout valves provide a way of destroying the CAS authentication state bound to the container for a particular user/session; the destruction of authenticated state is synonymous with logout for the container and its hosted applications. (Note this does not destroy the CAS SSO session.) The implementations provide various strategies to map a URI onto the state-destroying logout function.

  • org.jasig.cas.client.tomcat.v6.StaticUriLogoutValve
  • org.jasig.cas.client.tomcat.v6.RegexUriLogoutValve

The org.jasig.cas.client.tomcat.v6.SingleSignOutValve allows the container to participate in CAS single sign-out. In particular this valve handles the SAML LogoutRequest message sent from the CAS server that is delivered when the CAS SSO session ends.


The org.jasig.cas.client.tomcat.v6.ProxyCallbackValve provides a handler for watching request URIs for requests that contain a proxy callback request in support of the CAS 2.0 protocol proxy feature.

Container Setup

The version-specific CAS libraries must be placed on the container classpath. For example, with Tomcat 6.0.x, the following artifacts (at a minimum) should be copied to $CATALINA_HOME/lib:

  • cas-client-core-$VERSION.jar
  • cas-client-integration-tomcat-common-$VERSION.jar
  • cas-client-integration-tomcat-v6-$VERSION.jar

where $VERSION is a particular Java CAS Client version, e.g. 3.1.12.

In order to use Saml11Authenticator, the following additional libraries must be on the container classpath:

  • opensaml-1.1b.jar
  • xmlsec-$VERSION.jar
  • log4j-$VERSION.jar
  • commons-codec-$VERSION.jar

Context Configuration

The Realm, Authenticator, and Valve components are wired together inside a Tomcat Context configuration element. The location and scope of the Context determines the scope of the applied configuration. To apply a CAS configuration to every Web application hosted in the container, configure the default Context at $CATALINA_HOME/conf/context.xml. (Note that individual Web applications/servlets can override the default context; see the Context Container reference for more information.) Alternatively, CAS configuration can be applied to individual Web applications through a Context configuration element located in a $CONTEXT_NAME.xml file placed in $CATALINA_HOME/conf/$ENGINE/$HOST, where $ENGINE is typically Catalina and $HOST is localhost, $CATALINA_HOME/conf/Catalina/localhost. For example, to configure the Tomcat manager servlet, a manager.xml file contains Context configuration elements.

Example Tomcat 6.0.x manager.xml Configuration

The following example shows how to configure a Context for dynamic role data provided by the CAS attribute release feature.

Leveraging Attribute Release for Role Data
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