IT has evolved in recent years: thanks to low-code and no-code (LCNC) technologies, an increasing number of people with varying backgrounds require access to tools and platforms that were previously a prerogative to more tech-savvy individuals in the company, such as engineers or developers.
Out of those LCNC technologies, we have recently announced Amazon SageMaker Canvas, a visual point-and-click interface for business analysts to build machine learning (ML) models and generate accurate predictions without writing code or having any previous ML experience.
To enable agility for those new users while ensuring security of the environments, many companies have chosen to adopt single sign-on technology, such as AWS Single Sign-On. AWS SSO is a cloud-based single sign-on service that makes it easy to centrally manage SSO access to all your AWS accounts and cloud applications. It includes a user portal where end-users can find and access all their assigned AWS accounts and cloud applications in one place, including custom applications that support Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) 2.0.
In this post, we walk you through the necessary steps to configure Canvas as a custom SAML 2.0 application in AWS SSO, so that your business analysts can seamlessly access Canvas with their credentials from AWS SSO or other existing identity providers (IdPs), without the need to do so via the AWS Management Console.
To establish a connection from AWS SSO to the Amazon SageMaker Studio domain app, you must complete the following steps:
- Create a user profile in Studio for every AWS SSO user that should access Canvas.
- Create a custom SAML 2.0 application in AWS SSO and assign it to the users.
- Create the necessary AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) SAML provider and AWS SSO role.
- Map the necessary information from AWS SSO to the SageMaker domain via attribute mappings.
- Access the Canvas application from AWS SSO.
To connect Canvas to AWS SSO, you must have the following prerequisites set up:
Create a Studio domain user profile
In a Studio domain, every user has their own user profile. Studio apps like Studio IDE, RStudio, and Canvas can be created by these user profiles, and are bound to the user profile that has created them.
For AWS SSO to access the Canvas app for a given user profile, you have to map the user profile name to the user name in AWS SSO. This way, the AWS SSO user name—and therefore the user profile name—can be passed automatically by AWS SSO to Canvas.
In this post, we assume that AWS SSO users are already available, created during the prerequisites of onboarding to AWS SSO. You need a user profile for each AWS SSO user that you want to onboard to your Studio domain and therefore to Canvas.
To retrieve this information, navigate to the Users page on the AWS SSO console. Here you can see the user name of your user, in our case
With this information, you can now go to your Studio domain and create a new user profile called exactly
If you have another IdP, you can use any information provided by it to name your user profile, as long as it’s unique for your domain. Just make sure you map it correctly according to AWS SSO attribute mapping.
Create the custom SAML 2.0 application in AWS SSO
The next step is to create a custom SAML 2.0 application in AWS SSO.
- On the AWS SSO console, choose Applications in the navigation pane.
- Choose Add a new application.
- Choose Add a custom SAML 2.0 application.
- Download the AWS SSO SAML metadata file, which you use during IAM configuration.
- For Display name, enter a name, such as
SageMaker Canvasfollowed by your Region.
- For Description, enter an optional description.
- For Application start URL, leave as is.
- For Relay state, enter
- For Session duration, choose your session duration. We suggest 8 hours.
The Session duration value represents the amount of time you want the user session to last before authentication is required again. One hour is the most secure, whereas more time means less need for interaction. We choose 8 hours in this case, equivalent to one work day.
- For Application ACS URL, enter https://signin.aws.amazon.com/saml.
- For Application SAML audience, enter
After your settings are saved, your application configuration should look similar to the following screenshot.
You can now assign your users to this application, so that the application appears in their AWS SSO portal after login.
- On the Assigned users tab, choose Assign users.
- Choose your users.
Optionally, if you want to enable a lot of data scientists and business analysts in your company to use Canvas, the fastest and easiest way is to use AWS SSO groups. To do so, we create two AWS SSO groups:
data-scientists. We assign the users to these groups according to their roles, and then give access to the application to both groups.
Configure your IAM SAML provider and AWS SSO role
To configure your IAM SAML provider, complete the following steps:
- On the IAM console, choose Identity providers in the navigation pane.
- Choose Add provider.
- For Provider type, select SAML.
- For Provider name, enter a name, such as
- Upload the metadata document you downloaded earlier.
- Note the ARN to use in a later step.
We also need to create a new role for AWS SSO to use to access the application.
- On the IAM console, choose Roles in the navigation pane.
- Choose Create role.
- For Trusted entity type, select SAML 2.0 federation.
- For SAML 2.0-based provider, choose the provider you created (
- Don’t select either of the two SAML 2.0 access methods.
- For Attribute, choose SAML:sub_type.
- For Value, enter
- Choose Next.
We need to give AWS SSO the permission to create a Studio domain presigned URL, which we need to perform the redirect to Canvas.
- On the Permissions policies page, choose Create policy.
- On the Create policy tab, choose JSON and enter the following code:
- Choose Next:Tags and provide tags if needed.
- Choose Next:Review.
- Name the policy, for example
- Choose Create policy.
- Return to the Add permissions page and search for the policy you created.
- Select the policy, then choose Next.
- Name the role, for example
AWS_SSO_Canvas_Role, and provide an optional description.
- On the review page, edit the trust policy to match the following code:
- Save the changes, then choose Create role.
- Note the ARN of this role as well, to use in the following section.
Configure the attribute mappings in AWS SSO
The final step is to configure the attribute mappings. The attributes you map here become part of the SAML assertion that is sent to the application. You can choose which user attributes in your application map to corresponding user attributes in your connected directory. For more information, refer to Attribute mappings.
- On the AWS SSO console, navigate to the application you created.
- On the Attribute mappings tab, configure the following mappings:
|User attribute in the application||Maps to this string value or user attribute in AWS SSO|
||<ARN OF THE SAML PROVIDER FROM IAM>, <ARN OF THE CANVAS SSO ROLE FROM IAM>|
Access the Canvas application from AWS SSO
On the AWS SSO console, note down the user portal URL. We suggest you log out of your AWS account first, or open an incognito browser window. Navigate to the user portal URL, log in with the credentials you set for the AWS SSO user, then choose your Canvas application.
You’re automatically redirected to the Canvas application.
In this post, we discussed a solution to enable business analysts to experience no-code ML via Canvas in a secured and unified way through a single sign-on portal. To do this, we configured Canvas as a custom SAML 2.0 application within AWS SSO. Business analysts are now one click away from using Canvas and solving new challenges with no-code ML. This enables the security needed by cloud engineering and security teams, while allowing for the agility and independence of business analysts teams. A similar process can be replicated in any IdP by reproducing these steps and adapting them to the specific SSO.
To learn more about Canvas, check out Announcing Amazon SageMaker Canvas – a Visual, No Code Machine Learning Capability for Business Analysts. Canvas also enables easy collaboration with data science teams. To learn more, see Build, Share, Deploy: how business analysts and data scientists achieve faster time-to-market using no-code ML and Amazon SageMaker Canvas. For IT administrators, we suggest checking out Setting up and managing Amazon SageMaker Canvas (for IT administrators).
About the Author
Davide Gallitelli is a Specialist Solutions Architect for AI/ML in the EMEA region. He is based in Brussels and works closely with customer throughout Benelux. He has been a developer since very young, starting to code at the age of 7. He started learning AI/ML in his later years of university, and has fallen in love with it since then.