Cluster and project roles define user authorization inside a cluster or project. You can manage these roles from the Global > Security > Roles page.

Membership and Role Assignment

The projects and clusters accessible to non-administrative users is determined by membership. Membership is a list of users who have access to a specific cluster or project based on the roles they were assigned in that cluster or project. Each cluster and project includes a tab that a user with the appropriate permissions can use to manage membership.

When you create a cluster or project, Rancher automatically assigns you as the Owner for it. Users assigned the Owner role can assign other users roles in the cluster or project.

Note: Non-administrative users cannot access any existing projects/clusters by default. A user with appropriate permissions (typically the owner) must explicitly assign the user membership.

Cluster Roles

Cluster roles are roles that you can assign to users, granting them access to a cluster. There are two primary cluster roles: Owner and Member.

  • Cluster Owner:

    These users have full control over the cluster and all resources in it.

  • Cluster Member:

    These users can view most cluster level resources and create new projects.

Custom Cluster Roles

Rancher lets you assign custom cluster roles to a user instead of the typical Owner or Member roles. These roles can be either a built-in custom cluster role or one defined by a Rancher administrator. They are convenient for defining narrow or specialized access for a user within a cluster. See the table below for a list of built-in custom cluster roles.

Cluster Role Reference

The following table lists each built-in custom cluster role available in Rancher and whether it is also granted by the Owner or Member role.

Custom Cluster Role Owner Member
Manage Cluster Members
Manage Nodes
Manage Storage
View All Projects
Create Project
View Cluster Members
View Nodes

Notes:

  • Each cluster role listed above, including Owner and Member, is comprised of multiple rules granting access to various resources. You can view the roles and their rules on the Global > Security > Roles page.
  • When viewing the resources associated with default roles created by Rancher, if there are multiple Kuberenetes API resources on one line item, the resource will have (Custom) appended to it. These are not custom resources but just an indication that there are multiple Kubernetes API resources as one resource.

Project Roles

Project roles are roles that can be used to grant users access to a project. There are three primary project roles: Owner, Member, and Read Only.

Custom Project Roles

Rancher lets you assign custom project roles to a user instead of the typical Owner, Member, or Read Only roles. These roles can be either a built-in custom project role or one defined by a Rancher administrator. They are convenient for defining narrow or specialized access for a user within a project. See the table below for a list of built-in custom project roles.

Project Role Reference

The following table lists each built-in custom project role available in Rancher and whether it is also granted by the Owner, Member, or Read Only role.

Custom Cluster Role Owner Member Read Only
Manage Project Members
Create Namespaces
Manage Config Maps
Manage Ingress
Manage Secrets
Manage Service Accounts
Manage Services
Manage Volumes
Manage Workloads
View Config Maps
View Ingress
View Project Members
View Secrets
View Service Accounts
View Services
View Volumes
View Workloads

Notes:

  • Each project role listed above, including Owner, Member, and Read Only, is comprised of multiple rules granting access to various resources. You can view the roles and their rules on the Global > Security > Roles page.
  • When viewing the resources associated with default roles created by Rancher, if there are multiple Kuberenetes API resources on one line item, the resource will have (Custom) appended to it. These are not custom resources but just an indication that there are multiple Kubernetes API resources as one resource.

Defining Custom Roles

As previously mentioned, custom roles can be defined for use at the cluster or project level. The context field defines whether the role will appear on the cluster member page, project member page, or both.

When defining a custom role, you can grant access to specific resources or specify roles from which the custom role should inherit. A custom role can be made up of a combination of specific grants and inherited roles. All grants are additive. This means that defining a narrower grant for a specific resource will not override a broader grant defined in a role that the custom role is inheriting from.

Default Cluster and Project Roles

By default, when a user creates a new cluster or project, they are automatically assigned an ownership role: either cluster owner or project owner. However, in some organizations, these roles may overextend administrative access. In this use case, you can change the default role to something more restrictive, such as a set of individual roles or a custom role.

There are two methods for changing default cluster/project roles:

  • Assign Custom Roles: Create a custom role for either your cluster or project, and then set the custom role as default.

  • Assign Individual Roles: Configure multiple cluster/project roles as default for assignment to the creating user.

    For example, instead of assigning a role that inherits other roles (such as cluster owner), you can choose a mix of individual roles (such as manage nodes and manage storage).

Note:

  • Although you can lock a default role, the system still assigns the role to users who create a cluster/project.
  • Only users that create clusters/projects inherit their roles. Users added to the cluster/project membership afterward must be explicitly assigned their roles.

Configuring Default Roles

You can change the cluster or project role(s) that are automatically assigned to the creating user.

  1. From the Global view, select Security > Roles from the main menu. Select either the Cluster or Project tab.

  2. Find the custom or individual role that you want to use as default. Then edit the role by selecting Ellipsis > Edit.

  3. Enable the role as default.

    1. From Clustor Creator Default, choose Yes: Default role for new cluster creation.
    2. Click Save.
    1. From Project Creator Default, choose Yes: Default role for new project creation.
    2. Click Save.

  4. If you want to remove a default role, edit the permission and select No from the default roles option.

Result: The default roles are configured based on your changes. Roles assigned to cluster/project creators display a check in the Cluster/Project Creator Default column.

Cluster Membership Revocation Behavior

When you revoke the cluster membership for a user that’s explicitly assigned membership to both the cluster and a project within the cluster, that user loses their cluster roles but retains their project roles. In other words, although you have revoked the user’s permissions to access the cluster and its nodes, the user can still:

If you want to completely revoke a user’s access within a cluster, revoke both their cluster and project memberships.