A Role is a function assumed by a Client when it accesses a Server. Roles are used to separate authentication (determining who a Client is) from authorization (determining what the Client is allowed to do). By separating these tasks Servers can allow centralized services to manage user identities and credentials while the Server only manages the Permissions on its Nodes assigned to Roles.

The set of Roles supported by a Server are published as components of the Roles Object defined in OPC 10000-5. Servers should define a base set of Roles and allow configuration Clients to add system specific Roles.

When a Session is created, the Server must determine what Roles are granted to that Session. This specification defines standard mapping rules which Servers may support. Servers may also use vendor specific mapping rules in addition to or instead of the standard rules.

The standard mapping rules allow Roles to be granted based on:

  • User identity;
  • Application identity;
  • Endpoint;

User identity mappings can be based on user names, user certificates or user groups. Well known groups include ‘AuthenticatedUser’ (any user with valid credentials) and ‘Anonymous’ (no user credentials provided).

Application identity mappings are based on the ApplicationUri specified in the Client Certificate. Application identity can only be enforced if the Client proves possession of a trusted Certificate by using it to create a Secure Channel or by providing a signature in ActivateSession (see OPC 10000-4).

Endpoint identity mappings are based on the URL used to connect to the Server. Endpoint identity can be used to restrict access to Clients running on particular networks.

OPC 10000-5 defines the Objects, Methods and DataTypes used to represent and manage these mapping rules in the Address Space.