CDM Authentication and Authorization

AIMMS CDM possesses a role-based security model that is designed to work together with the security model implemented by AIMMS PRO.

When a CDM-enabled application is deployed through an AIMMS PRO installation, you as an app developer can create authorization profiles in which you assign particular permissions on categories in your model to CDM roles which are associated in a one-to-one fashion with AIMMS PRO groups. You can subsequently assign an authorization profile to every branch in your application database. In this manner you can provide fine-grained access to every branch within every category.

When you create a new CDM application database, it will initially be configured to provide full access to all branches on all categories. Before you actually deploy to your end-users, you should set up and assign a collection of authorization profiles that fits your security requirements.

The system branch and category

AIMMS CDM possesses two special entities with respect to assigning authorizations:

  • the system branch
  • the system category
  • the All role

The system branch

The system branch is a predefined branch in any CDM database. It is used to register administrative modifications such as creation and updates of categories defined within the model or authorization related changes. Regular user actions such as reading and writing data or creating branches are not registered on the system branch.

With respect to authorization profiles, user action-related permissions within authorization profiles assigned to the system branch, will be valid for any other branch as well.

The system category

The system category is predefined, non-modifiable category in any CDM database, holding no data. With respect to authorization profiles, permissions within authorization profiles assigned to the system category on a given branch, will be valid for any other category as well.

The All role

The All role, is a pre-defined role held by any user connected to a CDM database. Any permission assigned to the All role for a particular category or branch, will be applied to every user. When connecting to a CDM database from an app that is not deployed from within AIMMS PRO, the All role will be the only role held by the connecting user.

Assignable permissions

The following table lists the permissions that you can set system wide, per category, per branch or per specific category/branch combination.

Application area   System wide Per category Per branch Specific
Permission Description Type system/system category/system system/branch category/branch
ReadDB Access to application database User x      
DeleteDB Delete application database Admin x      
CreateCategory Create/update category Admin x      
ReadCategory Create/update category User x x    
UpdateCategory Update category Admin x x    
CreateBranch Create new branch on branch User x   x  
ReadBranch Read data from branch User x x x x
WriteBranch Write data to branch User x x x x
WriteAuthorization Create authorization profile Admin x      
WriteAuthorization Update authorization profile Admin x   x  

The minimal set of permissions all users should have system wide are ReadDB and ReadCategory, and ReadBranch for every branch they need to be able to access. This will provide read-only access to the data in the application database. Each user that should be able to commit to a branch should have the WriteBranch permission on that branch.

Creating authorization profiles

The authorization system of AIMMS CDM is built around authorization profiles, i.e., collections of permissions assigned to combinations of roles and categories. Subsequently, an authorization profile is assigned to every branch in the CDM database, which will allow the CDM service to determine which permissions a user holding particular roles will have on that particular branch.

When a new CDM database is created it comes with a single authorization profile FullAccess, with all permissions set for the All role and system category, and both the system and master branch have been assigned the FullAccess authorization profile. These initial settings, effectively, will give every connecting user all administrative and user permissions system wide.

You can view all defined authorization profiles in the Authorization page of the CDM library, as displayed below.


Creating new authorization profiles

To create a new authorization profile, select an existing authorization profile and press the Clone button. This will ask the user about a new profile name, and clone the the role-category specific permissions from the selected profile currently selected authorization profile. After changing the permissions for the new profile, pressing the Add to DB button will actually save the newly created authorization profile in the CDM database. You can add new authorization profiles to the CDM database, only when you have the WriteAuthorization permission on system branch.

Creating authorization profiles programmatically

You can also create authorization profiles programmatically: the set cdm::AuthorizationProfiles contains all defined authorization profiles, and the permissions set for each profile are stored in the parameter cdm::AuthorizationProfile. The procedure cdm::AddAuthorizationProfile will add a new authorization profile to the CDM database.

Assigning authorization profiles to branches

You can assign an authorization profile to any branch in your CDM database in the Authorization page of the CDM library.


Note, that you can only change this, if you have the WriteAuthorization permission on the branch for which you want to change the settings.

Setting authorization profiles on the system branch

When assigning an authorization profile to the system branch, please remember that the authorization profile of the system branch serves two purposes:

  • setting system wide permissions for administrative tasks
  • setting permissions that will apply to all data branches for regular user tasks

Thus you should make sure that the authorization profile that you assign to the system branch at least has the WriteAuthorization permission set on the system category for any administrative role you hold. Failure to do so, will lock you out from making any further system wide authorization changes.

Reversely, you should be quite careful with setting administrative permissions to non-administrative roles on the system category, as this may give regular users administrative permissions you do not want them to have.

Changing authorization profiles on branches programmatically

You can change branch authorizations programmatically by calling the function cdm::SetBranchAuthorization().