Single Sign-on (SSO)

This document walks-through the important aspects of configuring any SAML 2.0 identity provider to be used with the Pulumi Cloud Console.

For a specific example, you can refer to one of our integration guides:


  • IdP stands for Identity Provider. An IdP is a service that acts as a user directory.
  • SP stands for Service Provider. A service provider relies on an identity provider for authentication.
  • IdP Metadata XML is the XML configuration document provided by your IdP. It contains public information about your user directory, which can be used by the service provider to make authentication requests.

Configuration Properties

The following are the only properties you will really be configuring when you setup SAML SSO with your IdP.

Name Other Names
Single sign on URL ACS URL
Entity ID Metadata or Audience URL
Default relay state Start or Application Start URL
Name identifier format Name Identifier, Name

Single Sign On URL

This value is required.

This is the URL where the IdP can POST SAML assertions. The URL format is always as follows:{orgName}/sso/saml/acs

{orgName} in the previous URL is where your Pulumi organization’s name must be entered. The org name is case-sensitive. This means, if your org’s Pulumi login name is ACME-corp, then you must use the name exactly as-is in the above URL as well. You can find your org’s Pulumi login name from the URL when you navigate to it in the Pulumi Console. (For example, from the URL

Entity ID

This value is required.

The (SP) entity ID is a URL where a service provider publishes public information about its SAML configuration. The metadata document published by the service provider shows its public certificate that can be used to verify the signature of authentication requests initiated from the service itself.

NOTE: The IdP also has an entity ID. However, the IdP’s entity ID is used to uniquely identify the specific tenant/organization within that IdP. When you are configuring the SAML SSO, the entity ID that you are asked to enter is almost always the SP entity ID, which will be specific to your organization in Pulumi.

(Default) Relay State

This value is optional.

The relay state is a URL, which itself is passed as a query-parameter in SSO requests initiated from the identity provider. This is also known as deep-linking. This allows a user to directly navigate to a downstream service simply by launching the application from the identity provider itself.

Name ID Format

This value is required.

The name ID format is one of the most important aspects of your SAML SSO configuration. It defines how an identity provider identifies a user to the downstream service. The value of the format defines what value would be used for the user’s Subject.

NOTE: Pulumi only accepts stable and persistent identifiers for users. Identity providers must be able to set either a persistent randomly unique identifier (urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:persistent) or the user’s email address (urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:1.1:nameid-format:emailAddress) as the user’s Subject value.

IMPORTANT: Once your name ID format is configured and your users have started to use the SSO, DO NOT change the name identifier. That will prevent your users from being able to sign-in.


Validation error while trying to save an IdP-provided metadata XML in the Pulumi Console

The Pulumi Console should typically show you the reason for the failure. The IdP-provided metadata XML contains several XML elements, of which, the element that is of concern to Pulumi is <IDPSSODescriptor>. In the IDPSSODescriptor, we expect to see a valid KeyDescriptor public key certificate, a NameIDFormat, an entity ID identifying your organization in the IdP, an SSO binding.

The failure is typically due to one of the following reasons:

  • Malformed XML
  • KeyDescriptor public key certificate in the IDPSSODescriptor has expired
  • KeyDescriptor public key certificate is missing n the IDPSSODescriptor
  • NameIDFormat does not have the expected value or is completely missing (see the next Troubleshooting topic for help regarding this)

TIP: OneLogin has a suite of free SAML-related tools here.

Name ID Format is invalid

As mentioned in the section about Name ID Format, Pulumi expects specific values in your IdP metadata XML. Use to pretty print your XML and look for <NameIDFormat> under the <IDPSSODescriptor> XML element.

If you cannot find an element called NameIDFormat, then add the following line immediately after the closing tag for KeyDescriptor:


Here’s a sample metadata XML (note that some values were removed for brevity):

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<md:EntityDescriptor xmlns:md="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:metadata" entityID="....">
  <md:IDPSSODescriptor WantAuthnRequestsSigned="false" protocolSupportEnumeration="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:protocol">
    <md:KeyDescriptor use="signing">
        In this example, all elements have a namespace of `md`. This is why the NameIDFormat has a prefix of `md:`.
        If the elements in your XML don't have the prefix, then you may skip that.
    <md:SingleSignOnService Binding="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:bindings:HTTP-POST" Location="...."/>
    <md:SingleSignOnService Binding="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:bindings:HTTP-Redirect" Location="...."/>

If your IdP does not support emailAddress Name ID Format identifier, but supports the persistent format identifier, then you may use the following:


The IdP signing certificate expired and I can’t login to Pulumi anymore

Please contact us for assistance with getting the IdP metadata XML updated.