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Installing the Centralized Discovery Service

This section describes the Centralized Discovery Service, which is primarily intended for use by identity federations and other large groups wishing to providing a backstop discovery service. Outside this scope, it is very limited. Individual service providers, in particular, are recommended to install the Embedded Discovery Service.

Before You Begin

The first question you should ask is whether you need to install the DiscoveryService. If you're working in a non-Java environment, you may find it easier to build a selection page in a more native fashion.  The SP also supports the Embedded Discovery Service which is usually a better choice for SPs which need to implement discovery.

If you do decide to install this service, you'll need to collect the metadata sources that will contain the IdPs that users will select from. If you're planning to use SAML 2.0 or other protocols not supported by the old WAYF model, you may also need to provide metadata about your SPs to enable the DS to safely interact with the SP.

Which Protocol?

The Discovery Service will automatically handle both the legacy Shibboleth AuthnRequest message (so-called "WAYF mode") and the full Discovery Service Protocol.

No explicit configuration is required to select the right protocol.

Performing the Install

The Shibboleth Discovery Service, version 1.2.1, is a standard Java web application.

  1. Download and decompress the Discovery Service package from the Shibboleth Download site.
  2. Change into the newly created distribution directory.
  3. Endorse Xerces and Xalan by copying the contents of the endorsed directory to the appropriate place on the web Server (for tomcat this is $TOMCAT_ROOT\common\endorsed).
  4. Run either install.sh (on Unix systems) or install.bat (on Windows systems) as a suitably authorized user. This user must have the ability to create the Discovery Service home directory identified in the previous step.
  5. Configure the Discovery Service to point to the metadata sources you identified above as described here.
  6. Deploy the Discovery Service .WAR file, located in the Discovery Service's Home directory.
  7. Further configuration is described here.
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