Managing users and permissions

Starting with tsuru 0.13.0 a new mechanism for managing users and permissions was introduced. This new mechanism allows for fine-grained control on which actions are available for each user. While at the same time trying to allow broad permissions avoiding the need for interaction every time a new permission is available.

To achieve this goal some concepts will be explained below.



tsuru includes a fixed number of permissions that may change on each release. To list all available permissions the command tsuru permission-list should be used.

Permissions in tsuru work in a hierarchical fashion and are typically represented using a dot notation. Granting access to a top-level permission imply access to all permissions below it.

As an example, consider the following permissions:

  • app.update.env.set
  • app.update.env.unset
  • app.deploy

If a user have access only to app.update.env.set only this specific action is available to them. However, it’s also possible to grant access to the broader app.update permission which will allow users to both set and unset environment variables, but not deploy the applications. If we want to allow a user to execute all actions related to an application, the even broader permission app can be used.


When applying permissions to a user one do so in regard to a context. Each permission declares which contexts can be used and it’s possible see the available contexts using the command tsuru permission-list. When a permission is assigned to a user it needs a context and a value for the chosen context. Examples of available contexts are:

  • team
  • app
  • global

If a user have the app.deploy permission for the team named myteam it means that they can only deploy applications which myteam has access. The same way, it’s possible to assign the same app.deploy permission to a user with the context app for one application named myappname. This means the user can now deploy this specific application called myappname.

The global context is a special case. It’s available to all permissions and means that the permission always applies. In the previous scenario, if a user have the app.deploy permission with a global context it means that they can deploy any application.


To better manage permissions it’s not possible to directly assign permissions to users. First you have to create a role including wanted permissions and then apply this role in regard to a context value to one or more users.

The following commands are available to manage roles and permissions and assign them to users:

  • tsuru permission-list
  • tsuru role-add
  • tsuru role-remove
  • tsuru role-list
  • tsuru role-permission-add
  • tsuru role-permission-remove
  • tsuru role-assign
  • tsuru role-dissociate
  • tsuru role-info

More details about each command can be found in the client documentation.

An example of the typical scenario for adding a new role and assigning it to a user is the following:

$ tsuru role-add app_reader_restarter team
Role successfully created!
$ tsuru role-list
| Role                 | Context | Permissions |
| AllowAll             | global  | *           |
| app_reader_restarter | team    |             |
$ tsuru role-permission-add app_reader_restarter app.update.restart
Permission successfully added!
$ tsuru role-list
| Role                 | Context | Permissions        |
| AllowAll             | global  | *                  |
| app_reader_restarter | team    |           |
|                      |         | app.update.restart |
$ tsuru user-list
| User              | Roles            | Permissions |
| | AllowAll(global) | *(global)   |
|   |                  |             |
$ tsuru role-assign app_reader_restarter myteamname
Role successfully assigned!
$ tsuru user-list
| User              | Roles                                 | Permissions                         |
| | AllowAll(global)                      | *(global)                           |
|   | app_reader_restarter(team myteamname) | myteamname)           |
|                   |                                       | app.update.restart(team myteamname) |

From this moment the user named can read and restart all applications belonging to the team named myteamname.

Default roles

It’s possible to have default roles that are applied to a user when some event happens on tsuru. Example of such events are user-create and team-create. A list of all possible events can be found running the command tsuru role-default-list. Commands tsuru role-default-add and tsuru role-default-remove should be used to include or remove new roles in an event.

A common use for default roles would be replicating the behavior of tsuru on versions prior to 0.13.0. A new user would always be allowed to create a new team and would also be allowed to create new applications on the newly created team.

To achieve this with default roles first two roles need to be created, let’s call them team-creator and team-member. team-creator would use the global context and include the team.create permission. team-member would use the team context and include the app permission.

With these roles created we only need to add them as default on the appropriate event:

$ tsuru role-default-add --user-create team-creator --team-create team-member


When you already have an existing tsuru installation it will be necessary to create roles and assign them to all existing users, otherwise they will no longer be able to execute any action in tsuru.

To make this process easier we created a migration to help with the transition. The goal of this migration is to roughly give all existing users the same set of permissions they already had on tsuru. To accomplish this it’ll create 3 different roles: admin, team-member and team-creator.

The admin role will have a global context for the root permission and will be assigned to all users that are members to the admin-team described in tsuru.conf file. This users will be able to do anything, anywhere.

The team-member role will have a team context and the following permissions:

  • app
  • team
  • service-instance

And will be assigned to all users for each team name the user is a member of.

The team-creator role will only include the team.create permission with a global context and will also be assigned to all users.

Also the role team-creator will be assigned as a default role when a new user is created. And the team-member role will be the default role assigned to a user when they create a new team.

Running this migration is optional. If you choose execute it simply run:

$ tsurud [--config <path to tsuru.conf>] migrate --name migrate-roles


For a new tsuru installation the first user created should have a role with a root permission. To create this user a new command was created in the tsuru daemon application (tsurud) and should be executed right after its installation:

$ tsurud [--config <path to tsuru.conf>] root-user-create
# type a password and confirmation (only if using native auth scheme)