VOMS System Administrator guide

For VOMS 2.0.13, VOMS Admin server 3.4.1, VOMS Admin client 2.0.19

Table of contents


The Virtual Organization Membership Service (VOMS) is an attribute authority which serves as central repository for VO user authorization information, providing support for sorting users into group hierarchies, keeping track of their roles and other attributes in order to issue trusted attribute certificates and SAML assertions used in the Grid environment for authorization purposes.

This guide is targeted at VOMS service administrators, i.e. people installing and running the VOMS server.

Prerequisites and recommendations  


  • CPU: No specific requirements
  • Memory: 2GB if serving <= 15 VOs, more otherwise
  • Disk: 10GB free space (besides OS and EMI packages)

Operating system

  • NTP Time synchronization: required.
  • Host certificates: required
  • Networking: for the service ports see the Service Reference Card

Installed software

Besides the usual OS and EMI release packages, in case of an Oracle based installation you will need the oracle-instantclient-basic package, version, as repackaged by CERN. Download it from here and install it as follow:

yum localinstall oracle-instantclient-basic-

All the other dependencies are resolved by the installation of the VOMS metapackages, i.e.:

  • emi-voms-mysql, in case of a MySQL installation,
  • emi-voms-oracle, in case of an Oracle installation.

A single-node installation, with the hardware recommendations given above should serve well most scenarios. Serving a large number of VOs (> 15) will require more memory and disk space.

Upgrade instructions  

The upgrade from gLite 3.2 is not supported. Upgrade to EMI 1 or 2 and then upgrade to the latest VOMS release.

Upgrade preparation

It is always a good idea to dump the contents of the VOMS database. For MySQL-based installation follow the instructions in the database migration section.

Also archive the configuration files for VOMS and VOMS-Admin, which live in the following directories:


EMI repository configuration  

Follow the general EMI 3 installation instructions for installing the EMI-3 repositories.

If installing from the VOMS PT repository, also follow the instructions given here.

Upgrading from EMI 3 to the latest VOMS release  

After having properly configured the repositories as explained in the previous section, just run:

yum update

to get the latest versions of the VOMS packages.

If the release notes indicate that a reconfiguration of the services is required, run voms-configure with the same parameters that you used the first time you configured the VO. See the Configuration section for more information on how to install and reconfigure the VOMS services.

If the release notes indicate that restarting the VOMS services is required, run

service voms restart
service voms-admin restart

db upgrade Upgrading the VOMS database  

If the release notes of the version that you are installing indicate that an upgrade of the VOMS database is required, follow the procedure described below:

  1. Stop the services.
  2. Backup the contents of the VOMS database following the instructions in the database migration section.
  3. Run the upgrade script for each configured vo as follows:

    voms-configure upgrade --vo <vo_name>
  4. Restart the services

Upgrading from EMI 2  

Before upgrading, stop the running VOMS services issuing the following commands

service voms stop
service voms-admin stop

and stop the tomcat service:

service tomcat5 stop (SL5)
service tomcat6 stop (SL6)

Run the following commands:

yum clean all
yum update

This will update the VOMS packages to the latest version.

You can then remove Apache Tomcat (tomcat5 or tomcat6 depending on the SL version) as it is no longer needed to run VOMS Admin.

Older versions of VOMS and VOMS Admin needed a few environment variables to be set. This is no longer true, so please unset them this command


and remove any reference to the above environment variables from the file /etc/profile.d/grid-env.sh, which was generated by YAIM.

Configuring the VOMS Admin container  

Since version 3.0.1 VOMS Admin does not depend anymore on Tomcat but uses an embedded Jetty container for running the VO web applications. Please set the host, port and ssl information by editing the


before reconfiguring the VOs (as explained in the following sections) or start the voms-admin server. See the VOMS configuration reference for a detailed reference of configuration parameters.

Configuring file limits for the VOMS Admin container

It is safe to configure the VOMS Admin container to have a reasonable limit for the number of open files that can be opened by the voms-admin process (which runs as user voms). The default file limit can be modified by editing the /etc/security/limits.conf file:

voms          soft    nofile  63536
voms          hard    nofile  63536

Configuring memory for the VOMS Admin container >

The default Java VM memory configuration for the VOMS Admin container is suitable for deployments which have at max 10 VOs configured, and is set in the voms-admin init script:

VOMS_JAVA_OPTS="-Xms256m -Xmx512m -XX:MaxPermSize=512m"

In case your server will host more VOs, you should adapt the memory configuration for the container accordingly. This can be done by setting the VOMS_JAVA_OPTS variable in the /etc/sysconfig/voms-admin file. We recommend to allocate roughly 50m of heap space and 75m of permanent space per VO. For example, for 15 VOs, the memory should be configured as follows:

VOMS_JAVA_OPTS="-Xms375m -Xmx750m -XX:MaxPermSize=1125m"

reconfiguration Reconfiguring the VOs

Sometimes a VOMS Admin upgrade requires a reconfiguration. The VOs can be reconfigured using the voms-configure configuration tool (YAIM is no longer supported).

This tool is the evolution of the voms-admin-configure script, and provides access to all the VOMS and VOMS-Admin service configuration parameters. For more detailed information about the voms-configure tool, see the configuration section.

The following command shows a basic reconfiguration of the VO:

voms-configure install \
--vo <vo_name> \
--hostname <hostname> \
--dbname <dbname> \
--dbusername <dbusername> \
--dbpassword <dbpassword> \
--core-port 15000 \
--mail-from <mail-from> \
--smtp-host <smtp-host>

The above command will migrate the configuration to the latest supported version.

Save the command you use to configure your VOs in a script for future reference.

Once the configuration is over, you will need to upgrade the database as explained in the database upgrade section, i.e. running:

voms-configure upgrade --vo <vo_name>

for each configured VO and then restart the services with the following commands:

service voms start
service voms-admin start

Reconfiguring the information system

Configuration files for voms information providers are now provided by voms. To configure the information providers for VOMS follow the instructions here.

To configure EMIR follow the instructions here.

Clean installation instructions 

These are the full instructions for a clean installation. If you are upgrading, see the upgrade instructions section.


See the instructions above.

Certificate revocation lists

Following the EMI-3 installation instructions you have installed the EGI IGTF certification authorities certificates. To enable periodically fetching certificate revocation lists, run the fetch-crl script


and enable a cron job that periodically refresh CRLs on the filesystem as follows:

/sbin/chkconfig fetch-crl-cron on
/sbin/service fetch-crl-cron start

Clean installation

Install the emi-voms-mysql metapackage, or emi-voms-oracle depending on the database backend you are using

yum install emi-voms-mysql

Configuration instructions  

This section provides information on how to configure the VOMS services and the services VOMS depends on (e.g., mysql). VOMS is now configured only using its own configuration utility, voms-configure. YAIM configuration is no longer supported.

A reference of VOMS services configuration files can be found in the VOMS Services Configuration reference.

Database backend configuration


Make sure that the MySQL administrator password that you specify when running voms-configure matches the password that is set for the root MySQL account, as voms-configure will not set it for you.

Ensure that MySQL is running. If not running, start it (as root) using the following command:

service mysqld start

The following commands change the password for the MySQL root account:

/usr/bin/mysqladmin -u root password <adminPassword>
/usr/bin/mysqladmin -u root -h <hostname> password <adminPassword>


VOMS uses the Oracle instant-client native libraries to connect to Oracle databases.

These libraries require that the TNS_ADMIN and LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment libraries are set in a compatible way with your oracle-instantclient installation.

VOMS comes with default settings that work out-of-the box with the oracle instantclient packages as repackaged by CERN.

To configure the database endpoints, a tnsnames.ora file must be used and placed in the following location:


If you want to place the tnsnames.ora in a different location, change the value of the TNS_ADMIN variable in the following files:


Configuring the VOMS Admin container

See the instructions above.

VOMS services configuration

Run voms-configure to configure VOs for both voms-admin and voms. The general syntax of the command is

voms-configure COMMAND [OPTIONS]

Available commands are:

  • install is used to configure a VO
  • remove: is used to remove a VO configuration
  • upgrade: is used to upgrade the configuration of a VO installed with an older version of voms-admin.

Usually, you do not have a dedicated MySQL administrator working for you, so you will use voms-admin tools to create the database schema, configure the accounts and deploy the voms database. If this is the case, you need to run the following command:

voms-configure install --vo <vo name> \
--dbtype mysql \
--createdb \
-–deploy-database \
--dbauser <mysql root admin  username> \
--dbapwd <mysql root admin  password> \
--dbusername <mysql voms username> \
--dbpassword  <mysql voms password> \
--core-port <voms core service port> \
--smtp-host <STMP relay host> \
--mail-from <Sender address for service-generated emails>

Note that the above command is entered as a single command; it has been broken up into multiple lines for clarity. The command creates and initializes a VOMS database, and configures the VOMS core and admin services that use such database. For more information about voms-configure options, see the man page.

An example MySQL VO installation command is shown below:

voms-configure install --vo test.vo \
--dbtype mysql --createdb --deploy-database \
--dbauser root --dbapwd pwd \
--dbusername voms --dbpassword pwd \ 
--core-port 15000 \
--mail-from ciccio@cnaf.infn.it \ 
--smtp-host iris.cnaf.infn.it

Oracle VO configuration is different from MySQL configuration. In Oracle you need to setup the database account for VOMS before launching voms-admin configure. Moreover, Oracle instant client libraries must be installed and configured before running voms-admin configuration.

Once you have configured the Oracle database backend, you can install a new Oracle VO using the following command:

voms-configure install --vo <VO name> \
--dbtype oracle \
--dbname <TNS alias of the database backend> \
--deploy-database \
--dbusername <voms db account username> \
--dbpassword <voms db account password> \
--core-port <voms core service port> \
--smtp-host <SMTP relay host> \
--mail-from <Sender address for service-generated emails>

Note that the above command is entered as a single command; it has been broken up into multiple lines for clarity. This command is indeed very similar to the one used to configure a MySQL VO. The main difference lies in the dbname option, that is used to specify the TNS alias for the Oracle database backend.

This TNS alias is needed to build the connection string that VOMS will use to communicate with the database backend. Usually, TNS aliases are maintained in the tnsnames.ora file, located in a directory that is usually exported to applications via the TNS_ADMIN Oracle environment variable. For more information regarding TNS aliases, consult the Oracle online documentation.

voms-configure is used also for removing already configured vos

voms-configure remove --vo VONAME

Available options are:

  • undeploy-database: Undeploys the VOMS database. By default when removing a VO the database is left untouched. All the database content is lost.
  • dropdb (MySQL only): This flag is used to drop the mysql database schema created for MySQL installations using the –createdb option

See the voms-configure help for a list of all the supported options and their meaning.

Other configuration utilities


The voms-mysql-util command is used for the creation or removal of the database that will host the VOMS services tables on a MySQL database backend. This command does not create the VOMS tables. This is done by the voms-db-util command, which is described below. As voms-mysql-util is invoked internally by voms-configure normally system administrators do not use it, but it can sometimes be of help.

The general invocation is

voms-mysql-util COMMAND OPTIONS

Available options are:

  • create_db creates a MySQL database and grants read and write access
  • drop_db drops a MySQL database
  • grant_rw_access grants read and write access to a user
  • grant_ro_access grants read-only access to a user

The options are described in the following table

Option Description Default value
--dbhost HOST Uses HOST when connecting to MySQL. localhost
--dbport PORT Uses PORT when connecting to MySQL. 3306
--mysql-command CMD Uses CMD ad mysql command. mysql
--dbauser USER Uses USER when connecting to MySQL. USER must have the rights to create database and grant access to them. root
--dbapwd PWD Uses PWD when connecting to MySQL. This is the password of the user specified using the –dbauser option.  
--dbapwdfile FILE Reads the password to connect to the database from FILE.  
--dbusername USER Sets the database username to USER.  
--dbpassword PWD Sets the database password to PWD  
--vomshost HOST Sets the HOST where VOMS is running. This is the host from which MySQL will receive connections for the database.  
--dbname DBNAME Sets the VOMS database name to DBNAME.  


The voms-db-util command is used to manage the deployment and upgrade of the VOMS database tables, and to add/remove administrators without requiring VOMS Admin VOs to be active. As voms-db-util is invoked internally by voms-configure normally system administrators do not use it, but it can sometimes be of help.

The general invocation is

voms-db-util COMMAND [OPTIONS]

The commands for installing or removing the database are

  • check-connectivity check whether the database can be contacted
  • deploy deploys the database for a given VO
  • undeploy undeploys the database for a given VO
  • upgrade upgrades the database for a given VO

The commands for adding or removing administrators are

  • add-admin creates an administrator with full privileges for a given VO
  • remove-admin removes an administrator from a given VO
  • grant-read-only-access creates ACLs so that VO structure is readable for any authenticated user

The options are described in the following table

Option Description
--vo The VO for which database operations are performed
--dn The DN of the administrator certificate
--ca The DN of the CA that issued the administrator certificate
--email The EMAIL address of the administrator
--cert The x.509 CERTIFICATE of the administrator being created
--ignore-cert-email Ignores the email address in the certificate passed in with the –cert option

Configuration files

The VOMS server configuration lives in the /etc/voms/<VO_NAME> directory and is composed of two files:

  • voms.conf, which contains the configuration for the server
  • voms.pass, which contains the password to access the database

The VOMS Admin container configuration lives in the /etc/voms-admin directory and consists of the following files:

  • voms-admin-server.properties, which contains the main service configuration (host, port, certificates)
  • voms-admin-server.logback, which contains the logging configuration for the server

The VOMS Admin VO configuration lives in the /etc/voms-admin/<VO_NAME> direcotory and is composed of the following files:

  • service.properties, which contains the main VO configuration
  • database.properties, which contains database access and connection pool configuration for the VO
  • logback.xml, which controls logging of the VO application

Detailed information on configuration files can be found in the VOMS Services Configuration reference.

Information system  


Fix BDII default configuration on SL5

Run the following command to fix your BDII default configuration or you will get errors when starting the slapd service on the Scientific Linux 5 platform.

cat > /etc/sysconfig/bdii << EOF
Configure the info providers

The script voms-config-info-providers configures the providers for the resource bdii. Run

voms-config-info-providers -s SITENAME -e

giving the site name (which in the past went into the sitedef configuration file). If not deploying the administration service, skip the -e option.

Start the bdii service and check services are published. The query

ldapsearch -x -h localhost -p 2170 -b 'GLUE2GroupID=resource,o=glue' objectCLass=GLUE2Service

should return a service for each virtual organization.


You can use EMIR-SERP to publish VOMS information to EMIR. EMIR-SERP uses the information already available in the resource bdii and publish it to an EMIR DSR endpoint. You have to know the EMIR endpoint to do this, in the following example the EMI testbed EMIR endpoint is used.

Install emir-serp

yum install emir-serp

and edit the configuration file /etc/emi/emir-serp/emir-serp.ini, providing the url for the EMIR DSR and the url for the resource bdii

url = http://emitbdsr1.cern.ch:9126
resource_bdii_url = ldap://localhost:2170/GLUE2GroupID=resource,o=glue

See the configuration file documentation for other options. You for sure will want to change the validity (the time EMIR DSR is told to consider the information valid) and period (the interval at which emir-serp will check for change in the bdii and refresh the publishing) attributes

# Period of registration/update messages
# Mandatory configuration parameter
# Value is given in hours
period = 1

# Time of registration entry validity
# Mandatory configuration parameter
# Value is given in hours
validity = 1

Start emir-serp with

service emir-serp start

and check your EMIR deployment to make sure the endpoints are published. You can spot problems increasing the verbosity of the emir-serp logging by editing the configuration file

verbosity = debug

Service operation  

VOMS is made of two daemons, VOMS Core and VOMS Admin.

To start and stop all VOs on the machine, use the following commands:

service voms start
service voms-admin start

To start or stop a specific VO, use the following commands:

service voms start <vo>
service voms-admin start <vo> 

Log files locations

Service Directory Filename
VOMS core /var/log/voms voms.VO_NAME
VOMS admin /var/log/voms-admin voms-admin-VO_NAME.log
VOMS admin /var/log/voms-admin server.log

Logging verbosity configuration

VOMS core

The VOMS core service logging verbosity is set with the --loglevel option in the:


Log levels are numeric values which have the meaning defined in the following table:

Value Level name Meaning
1 LEV_NONE Do not log
2 LEV_ERROR Log only error messages
3 LEV_WARN Log warn error messages and above
4 LEV_INFO Log info messages and above
5 LEV_DEBUG Log debug messages and above


The --logtype flag controls which type of information is logged by the voms server. The default value for this option is 7 and should be left configured so.

VOMS admin

The VOMS admin service uses logback for logging configuration.

The container level logging configuration is maintained in the file:


while for a given VO is maintained in the file:


Instructions for configuring the logging can be found directly in the configuration files.

voms-db-util logging

To change the verbosity of the voms-db-util command, refer to the following logback configuration file:



In order to migrate VOMS to a different machine, the following items will need to be migrated:

  1. The configuration
  2. The database content. This holds only if VOMS was configured to access a local database instance. If a remote database is used for VOMS only the configuration will need to be migrated to the new installation.

Configuration migration

To migrate VOMS configuration, archive the contents of the following directories and move the archive to the new installation:


Database migration (MySQL)

In order to dump the contents of the VOMS datbase issue the following command on the original VOMS installation machine:

mysqldump -uroot -p<MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD> --all-databases --flush-privileges > voms_database_dump.sql

This database dump contains all the VOMS data and can be moved to the new VOMS installation machine.

To restore the database contents on the new VOMS installation machine, ensure that:

  1. mysql-server is up & running
  2. the password for the MySQL root account is properly configured (see the configuration section for more details)

The database content can then be restored using the following command:

mysql -uroot -p<PASSWORD> < voms_database_dump.sql


See the known issues page