January 2010 Archives

ALUI/WCI SSO Login Sequence and Log Files

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sequence.gifYou can't trust your web server logs to tell you how many pages your portal users view. When logging in, especially under SSO, the login sequence generates several "GET /portal/server.pt " lines. I dug into this today, and the results may be helpful as you look to infer portal usage from log files.

Yesterday I turned to IIS logs to determine some usage patterns in the portals I work with where users can enter through two different SSO systems. I started my search by looking at how many times SSOLogin.aspx occurred for each SSO system (hosted on different servers). When the results appeared material, today I wondered whether the load for the systems are different. Do the users of one SSO system have a more engaged portal session?

First I counted simply "GET /portal/server.pt" in the log files, and I though one set of users had far more pages per session than did the other. However, I then realized that gateway images were returned by my search pattern, so I added a space: "GET /portal/server.pt " This made the traffic look much more similar.

But I still didn't know how many actual pages the user sees. What happens in the login sequence?

What I found was:

* It is hard to identify actual pages per visit because the IIS log sometimes shows 3 and sometimes 4 requests per login.
* A user's login generates three lines in the IIS log with "GET /<virtualdirectory>/server.pt/ "  when the user enters the portal through http(s)://<portalhost>/
* A user's login generates four lines in the IIS log with "GET /<virtualdirectory>/server.pt/ "  when the user enters the portal through http(s)://<portalhost>/<virtualdirectory>/server.pt

The login sequence as found in IIS logs looks similar to this:

1. The unidentified user enters without specifying the <virtualdirectory>/server.pt, then redirects to the SSO login


2. The SSO-authenticated user is redirected to the portal from the WSSO login
/portal/server.pt 

3. The SSO-authenticated user is directed to the portal's SSOLogin sequence to process the SSO token and become portal-authenticated
/portal/sso/SSOLogin.aspx 

4. The portal-authenticated user runs a login sequence to determine the proper home page behavior
/portal/server.pt open=space&name=Login&dljr= 

5. The user lands on the proper home page
/portal/server.pt/community/superstuff/204 

I hope that's helpful.