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This document describes the YAML format for ACL Policy definition files.

Multiple aclpolicy files can be stored in the same directory, helping the management of each set of rules. This reduces the complexity of each file. The default path is

  • RPM install: /etc/rundeck
  • Launcher install: $RDECK_BASE/etc

Policy files are parsed using YAML and while the structure is rigid, additional information can be added and safely ignored. So creating arbitrary elements for documentation or organizational purposes is gracefully parsed. The resulting file must be a valid yaml file.

For more information about the exact resources and actions you need to authorize for the Rundeck application, see the Administration Guide - Authorization.

Authorizing a certain action on a resource

The aclpolicy describes actions that are allowed or denied on certain resources.

The method for determining whether a user has access to perform such an action happens essentially in this way:

  1. Look for policies matching the username or group for the user
  2. Look for a context matching the environment of the given resource
    • either a specific project by name
    • or the application level
  3. Look for a Type rule for the type of resource
    • either a specific resource by its named type
    • or the generic "resource"
  4. Iterate through the rules for the type
    • if a rule matches, and allows the action, mark it and continue.
    • if a rule matches and denies the action, return DENIED, and stop
  5. If it was DENIED, return DENIED. If it was marked, return ALLOWED. Otherwise if no rules matched, return REJECTED.

Thus to allow an action, there has to be a matching rule that allows it, and no matching rule that denies it.


The YAML format has changed since version 1.2 to address several issues:

  1. Access control on resources other than Jobs can now be declared
  2. Project level access control is now supported
  3. "Deny" rules can now be declared
  4. Application level access control is also supported, replacing the Role mapping

The Rundeck server no longer uses role-mapping and instead defers to the aclpolicy for all authorizations.

In version 1.5

  • by clause username: and group: now support regular expression matching
  • legacy XML support has been removed
  • legacy rules: section in yaml support has been removed

In version 3.1

  • notBy clause as a negative variant of by clause

In version 3.4

  • Add support for urn: clause in by: and notBy:


Note: The XML format from Rundeck 1.3 and earlier is no longer supported. As well, the YAML format from 1.2 is now only partially supported.

If you are upgrading from Rundeck 1.3 or earlier, you will have to modify your *.aclpolicy files.

If you have XML formatted files, you will need to remove and replace them with a YAML document in the format described below. A full, admin-level ACL is described at the end of this document.

If you have YAML formatted files, you will also need to upgrade them slightly.

The aclpolicy markup by example

An example policy document.

description: Yaml Policy 1
context: # declares the context of the ACL
  project: '.*' # applies to projects matching a regex.
     - equals:
        kind: job
       allow: '*'
     - allow: '*'
     - match:
         group: 'group1/.*'
       deny: '*'

    username: 'yml_usr_1'
    group: ['yml_group_1','group2']
    urn: '_urn_'

An .aclpolicy supports multiple policy definitions in the form of YAML documents using the --- separator. There are four elements that make a policy definition: decription, context, for, by.

It's recommended that this description be short and descriptive as it appears in the log output.


The context section declares the scope of the ensuing policy description.

The context can contain one of two things:

  1. project
  2. application

Declaring a project: declares the name of the project(s) for which the policy applies. Its value is a String, and can be a regular expression, for which the project name must match to apply.

If you declare an application section, its only supported value is rundeck, as: context: application: 'rundeck'

This declares that the policy document describes access control at the application level, rather than for at a project level. You can then declare access control on actions such as creating Projects.

Note that to provide a full "admin" level access control for a user or group, then two policies must be defined, for application level as well as for project level.

NOTE if you are upgrading a yaml 1.2 format document, you will need to add a context section.


The for section declares a set of resource types, each containing a sequence of matching rules which allow or deny certain actions.

Resource types declare the type of a specific resource for the match, and the generic "resource" is used to declare rules for all resources of a certain type.

Inside for is an entry for any of these resource types:

  • job - a Rundeck Job
  • node - a Node resource
  • adhoc - an Ad-hoc execution
  • project - a Project
  • resource - indicates rules for all resources of a certain kind

Within each type section is a sequence of rules. Recall that in YAML, a sequence is defined using multiple - indicators, or within [ and ] and separated by commas.

Yaml sequences:

    - a
    - b


    [ a, b ]

Type rules

Type rules are in the form:

 property: value
allow: actions
deny: actions

Each rule has one or more of these Action entries:

  • allow - (List or String) - the actions allowed
  • deny - (List or String) - the actions denied

It also has one or more of these "Matching" entries:

  • match - (List or String) - regular expression matches
  • equals - (String) - equality matches
  • contains - (List or String) - superset membership matches
  • subset - (List or String) - subset membership matches

Each Matching entry is composed of property: value, which declare what property of the resource to test, and what value or values to apply the matching rule to.

For example, to declare a rule for a resource with a "name" property of "bob" exactly, use equals:

      name: bob
    allow: [action1, action2]
    deny: action3

For regular expression matching, use match:

      name: 'bob|sam'

For set membership matches, such as matching a Node that must have three different tags, you can use contains

      tags: [a,b,c]

The match and contains allow a list of property values, and all of them must match the resource's property for the rule to match. This allows the basic boolean AND logic. For OR logic, you can simply declare another rule in the sequence since all rules are checked (except in the case of an explicit deny).

The subset match allows a list of property values, and will fail if the resource has any values not included in the subset.


Within by are username and group or urn entries that declare who or what the policy applies to.

Each entry can contain a single string, or a sequence of strings to define multiple entries.

Regular expressions are supported in the username or group.

A single match will result in further evaluation of the policy.


      username: 'bob'

    by: #using a regular expression
      username: 'dev\d+'

      group: [test,qa,prod]

    by: #using a regular expression
      group: 'dev_team_(alpha|beta|gamma)'

        - simon
        - frank

      urn: 'project:MyProject'

      urn: 'user:some.user'

      urn: ''

You can specify a username or group exact match (which will not evaluate as a Regular expression) with a urn using the supported URN formats:

  • group:GROUP - matches a group name exactly
  • user:USER - matches a username exactly

The other use for the urn is to define ACL Policies that apply to some subjects which do not correspond to users, the primary usage is to define a policy for a Project, using a URN format like:

  • project:NAME to match a Project by name


notBy is a variation of the by clause that only works on deny, it follow the same pattern using username and group and urn entries but in this case, the policy applies to any subject not matched.

Each entry can contain a single string, or a sequence of strings to define multiple entries.

Regular expressions are supported in the username or group. As above, a urn can be used for an exact match instead of a Regular Expression match for username or group.


      username: 'bob'

    notBy: #using a regular expression
      username: 'dev\d+'

      group: [test,qa,prod]

    notBy: #using a regular expression
      group: 'dev_team_(alpha|beta|gamma)'

        - simon
        - frank

        - user:simon
        - group:qa

actions element

The actions element can be either a single value, or a list of values. A single value takes the form:

actions: 'an_action'

And a list takes the form:

actions: ['an_action1','an_action2']

Note that the single tick marks are optional according to the yaml specification.

Possible values are limitless so it requires an understanding of the job definition you're trying to run. The best way to understand what the actions are is to look at the rundeck-audit.log. This will show all the options as they're being evaluated.

Example Admin policy

This document grants full permissions to an 'admin' group:

description: Admin project level access control. Applies to resources within a specific project.
  project: '.*' # all projects
    - equals:
        kind: job
      allow: [create] # allow create jobs
    - equals:
        kind: node
      allow: [read,create,update,refresh] # allow refresh node sources
    - equals:
        kind: event
      allow: [read,create] # allow read/create events
    - allow: [read,run,runAs,kill,killAs] # allow running/killing adhoc jobs
    - allow: [create,read,update,delete,run,runAs,kill,killAs] # allow create/read/write/delete/run/kill of all jobs
    - allow: [read,run] # allow read/run for nodes
  group: admin


description: Admin Application level access control, applies to creating/deleting projects, admin of user profiles, viewing projects and reading system information.
  application: 'rundeck'
    - equals:
        kind: project
      allow: [create] # allow create of projects
    - equals:
        kind: system
      allow: [read,enable_executions,disable_executions,admin] # allow read of system info, enable/disable all executions
    - equals:
        kind: system_acl
      allow: [read,create,update,delete,admin] # allow modifying system ACL files
    - equals:
        kind: user
      allow: [admin] # allow modify user profiles
    - match:
        name: '.*'
      allow: [read,import,export,configure,delete,admin] # allow full access of all projects or use 'admin'
    - match:
        name: '.*'
      allow: [read,create,update,delete,admin] # allow modifying project-specific ACL files
    - allow: [read,create,update,delete] # allow access for /ssh-key/* storage content

  group: admin