Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Hotfix Wiped Out My Roles

In this article we will see how the Default Identity Provider used with Identity Server learned a new behavior with role management when resolving users on sign in. This impacts Sitecore 10.2 when the cumulative hotfix 10.2.1 is installed.

Back Story

Here is how things played out for us. After we upgraded to Sitecore XM 10.2 we started to experience an issue on startup (typically after the application pool recycled) related to a concurrency issue when loading the IAR files. Specifically an ArgumentNullException is bubbled up to the Sitecore.Data.DataProviders.CompositeDataProvider which causes Sitecore to really struggle. Recycling the application pool once more generally resolves the issue. After opening a support ticket we learned the issue was recently resolved by a cumulative hotfix outlined here. Problem solved!

Unfortunately the hotfix revealed another issue which relates to how user membership is managed during the signin process. We found this during a deployment and users started to complain about not being able to do anything more than login. 

There exists a SignInProcessor which resolves the user, either by accessing the existing user or creating a new one. The hotfix includes a change to the internal code for this processor. Sitecore Support provided some additional details as to why things changed. I'll put into my own words the message they conveyed in the ticket:

The correct behavior for Federated Authentication is to allow the Identity Provider to control the user roles. The original implementation did not adhere to this and as such you could override the roles assigned to users from within Sitecore.

We are using ADFS and have things configured to require users to be in the Active Directory role "Sitecore-Users". We implemented a Sitecore.Owin.Authentication.Services.Transformation to override the claim roles and specifically only add Sitecore\Sitecore Client Users. You can read more about my implementation here. After the user performs an initial login, an Administrator can then assign roles from within Sitecore. This is super helpful as our corporate process for managing access is more tedious/slower than doing so in the Sitecore User/Role Manager.

The Fix

So imagine you are deploying a hotfix late at night and discover this issue. Opening a support ticket is great but obviously won't pull you out of this hole you just dug for you and the team. After a few minutes of poking around I narrowed the issue down to Sitecore.Owin.Authentication.Pipelines.CookieAuthentication.SignIn.ResolveUser where the new implementation wrecks our current process. Below is the implementation I extracted and used from the original 10.2 version.

Here's the code:

If you do come across this issue you may be on Sitecore XM 10.3+ and find that a new setting is available to restore the original functionality.


Let me know if this helps you out. Thanks for reading!


  • https://sitecore.stackexchange.com/questions/31725/how-to-configure-default-roles-when-using-identity-server-integrated-with-adfs-o
  • https://support.sitecore.com/kb?id=kb_article_view&sysparm_article=KB1001823