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Understanding the SAML authentication workflow

Last Updated:

Applies to

  • ONTAP System Manager 9.3 and later
  • Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML)


The following is the SAML workflow and error messages seen during the setup/configuration of SAML in ONTAP System Manager.

SAML/OCSM Workflow

Understanding the SAML authentication workflow


  1. The administrator connects to a NetApp cluster using ONTAP System Manager.   
  2. ONTAP System Manager looks up the configured IdP for the cluster.
  3. ONTAP System Manager redirects the administrator’s browser to the IdP.
  4. The IdP prompts the administrator for credentials. The IdP is responsible for multiple authentication factors.
  5. The IdP verifies the administrator’s credentials in Active Directory.
  6. The IdP issues a SAML assertion and redirects the administrator’s web browser back to ONTAP System Manager .
  7. ONTAP System Manager processes the SAML assertion, and then looks up the authorization role from its internal database.
  8. The session is established and ONTAP System Manager returns a SAML session token to the administrator’s web browser in the Set-Cookie header. From this point on, the administrator is allowed access to ONTAP System Manager using a secure SAML token.


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