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Oracle® Database JDBC Developer's Guide,
11g Release 2 (11.2)

Part Number E16548-02
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10 Proxy Authentication

Oracle Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) provides proxy authentication, also called N-tier authentication. This feature is supported through both the JDBC Oracle Call Interface (OCI) driver and the JDBC Thin driver. This chapter contains the following sections:

Note:

Oracle Database supports proxy authentication functionality in three tiers only. It does not support it across multiple middle tiers.

About Proxy Authentication

Proxy authentication is the process of using a middletier for user authentication. You can design a middletier server to proxy clients in a secure fashion by using the following three forms of proxy authentication:

In all cases, an administrator must authorize the middletier server to proxy a client, that is, to act on behalf of the client. Suppose, the middletier server initially connects to the database as user scott and activates a proxy connection as user jeff, and then issues the following statement to authorize the middletier server to proxy a client:

ALTER USER jeff GRANT CONNECT THROUGH scott;

You can also:

Note:

In this chapter, a JDBC connection to a database is a user session in the database and vice versa.

You need to use the different fields and methods present in the oracle.jdbc.OracleConnection interface to set up the different types of proxy connections.

Types of Proxy Connections

You can create proxy connections using any one of the following options:

Note:

  • All the options can be associated with roles.

  • When opening a new proxied connection, a new session is started on the database server. Along with this session a new local transaction is created.

Creating Proxy Connections

A user, say jeff, has to connect to the database through another user, say scott. The proxy user, scott, should have an active authenticated connection. A proxy session is then created on this active connection, with the driver issuing a command to the server to create a session for the user, jeff. The server returns the new session ID, and the driver sends a session switch command to switch to this new session.

The JDBC OCI and Thin driver switch sessions in the same manner. The drivers permanently switch to the new session, jeff. As a result, the proxy session, scott, is not available until the new session, jeff, is closed.

Note:

You can use the isProxySession method from the oracle.jdbc.OracleConnection interface to check if the current session associated with your connection is a proxy session. This method returns true if the current session associated with the connection is a proxy session.

A new proxy session is opened by using the following method from the oracle.jdbc.OracleConnection interface:

void openProxySession(int type, java.util.Properties prop) throws SQLExceptionOpens

Where,

type is the type of the proxy session and can have the following values:

prop is the property value of the proxy session and can have the following values:

The following code snippet shows the use of the openProxySession method:

java.util.Properties prop = new java.util.Properties();
    prop.put(OracleConnection.PROXY_USER_NAME, "jeff");
    String[] roles = {"role1", "role2"};
    prop.put(OracleConnection.PROXY_ROLES, roles);
    conn.openProxySession(OracleConnection.PROXYTYPE_USER_NAME, prop);
    

Closing a Proxy Session

You can close the proxy session opened with the OracleConnection.openProxySession method by passing the OracleConnection.PROXY_SESSION parameter to the OracleConnection.close method in the following way:

OracleConnection.close(OracleConnection.PROXY_SESSION);

This is similar to closing a proxy session on a non-cached connection. The standard close method must be called explicitly to close the connection itself. If the close method is called directly, without closing the proxy session, then both the proxy session and the connection are closed. This can be achieved in the following way:

OracleConnection.close(OracleConnection.INVALID_CONNECTION);

Caching Proxy Connections

Proxy connections, like standard connections, can be cached. Caching proxy connections enhances the performance. To cache a proxy connection, you need to create a connection using one of the getConnection methods on a cache enabled OracleDataSource object.

A proxy connection may be cached in the connection cache using the connection attributes feature of the connection cache. Connection attributes are name/value pairs that are user-defined and help tag a connection before returning it to the connection cache for reuse. When the tagged connection is retrieved, it can be directly used without having to do a round-trip to create or close a proxy session. Implicit connection cache supports caching of any user/password authenticated connection. Therefore, any user authenticated proxy connection can be cached and retrieved.

It is recommended that proxy connections should not be closed without applying the connection attributes. If a proxy connection is closed without applying the connection attributes, the connection is returned to the connection cache for reuse, but cannot be retrieved. The connection caching mechanism does not remember or reset session state.

A proxy connection can be removed from the connection cache by closing the connection directly.

Limitations of Proxy Connections

Closing a proxy connection automatically closes every SQL Statement created by the proxy connection, during the proxy session or prior to the proxy session. This may cause unexpected consequences on application pooling or statement caching. The following code samples explain this limitation of proxy connections:

Example 1

....
public void displayName(String N)  // Any function using the Proxy feature
{
     Properties props = new Properties();
     props.put("PROXY_USER_NAME", proxyUser);
     c.openProxySession(OracleConnection.PROXYTYPE_USER_NAME, props);
     .......
     c.close(OracleConnection.PROXY_SESSION);
}
 
public static void main (String args[]) throws SQLException
{
    ............
    PreparedStatement pstmt = conn.prepareStatement("SELECT empname FROM EMP WHERE empno = ?");
    pstmt.setString(1, "28959");
    ResultSet rs = pstmt.executeQuery();
    while (rs.next())
    {
        displayName(rs.getString(1));
         if (rs.isClosed() // The ResultSet is already closed while closing the connection!
         {
             throw new Exception("Your ResultSet has been prematurely closed! 
Your Statement object is also dead now.");
         }
    }
}

In the preceding example, when you close the proxy connection in the displayName method, then the PreparedStatement object and the ResultSet object also get closed. So, if you do not check the status of the ResultSet object inside loop, then the loop will fail when the next method is called for the second time.

Example 2

....
    PreparedStatement pstmt = conn.prepareStatement("SELECT empname FROM EMP WHERE empno = ?");
    pstmt.setString(1, "28959");
    ResultSet rs = pstmt.executeQuery();
    while (rs.next())
    {
        ....
    }
 
    Properties props = new Properties();
    props.put("PROXY_USER_NAME", proxyUser);
 
    conn.openProxySession(OracleConnection.PROXYTYPE_USER_NAME, props);
    .......
    conn.close(OracleConnection.PROXY_SESSION);
 
    // Try to use the PreparedStatement again
    pstmt.setString(1, "28960");
// This line of code will fail because the Statement is already closed while closing the connection!
    rs = pstmt.executeQuery(); 

In the preceding example, the PreparedStatement object and the ResultSet object work fine before opening the proxy connection. But, if you try to execute the same PreparedStatement object after closing the proxy connection, then the statement fails.