Multi-cluster CIAM application reference architecture

The multi-cluster Access Gateway architecture represents the components required for protecting multiple sets of web resources, with different requirements, using Access Gateway. It extends the single cluster Access Gateway architecture by using multiple Access Gateway clusters distributed across multiple virtual environments.
This architecture is designed to meet the following requirements:

  • Secure access to multiple applications - Accessible to the external internet.
  • Provide support for applications, with diverse and varying load conditions, distributed over multiple areas or geographies.
  • Provide fault tolerance - Providing additional instances of Access Gateway, as cluster workers, such that if one is unavailable the cluster continues to perform normally.
  • Manage capacity - Providing additional instances of Access Gateway to handle expected load.

Benefits and drawbacks

Benefits Drawbacks
  • Supports multiple applications, with varying needs over multiple geographies
  • Provides basic fault tolerance and capacity support
  • Can be expanded with additional workers as required to add additional capacity
  • Load balanced
  • Very complex
  • Multiple virtual environments
  • Requires multiple load balancers
  • Pre Access Gateway DMZ based load balancer must support session affinity (sticky sessions)




Component Description
External internet Web client

Traditional client browser accessing Access Gateway using known as [appN|consumer-app1] URLs.

Okta org

Your Okta org, providing identity services.

Okta org Universal Directory

Okta universal directory, housed within an Okta org, containing users outside other LDAP/AD implementations. Typically these include other customer accounts, partner accounts and more.

Firewall External internet to DMZ Traditional firewall between the external internet and the DMZ hosting Access Gateway.
Internal network
Pre Access Gateway load balancer Balances load between clients and the Access Gateway cluster.
Positioned between clients and Access Gateway cluster.
Access Gateway admin Access Gateway admin node, in any of the data centers handling configuration, configuration backups, log forwarding and similar activities.
Access by administrators within the internal network.
Access Gateway environment one Access Gateway instances, located in the DMZ, used to serve CIAM application 1.
Access Gateway environment two Access Gateway instances, located in the DMZ is used to serve CIAM application 2.
Access Gateway environment three Access Gateway instances, located in the DMZ is used to serve CIAM application 3 and 4.
Typically hosted in a virtual environment such as Amazon Web Services, MS Azure, Oracle OCI or something similar. See Manage Access Gateway deployment.
Pre internal Access Gateway application load balancers Access Gateway as a load balancer between Access Gateway cluster and the protected applications.
Configured per CIAM application.
See Load balancing. (not shown) URL representing one of the applications a web client would enter to access one of the applications secured by Access Gateway. Typically all URLs of this nature are served by, and resolve to, the Access Gateway instance.
Protected application
The set of protected web resources, accessed using the URLs. The traditional or historic application Access Gateway interacts with using the Protected Web Resource field within each application definition.

Other considerations

DNS is typically split between external and internal domains. All external URLs, such as [appN|consumer-app1], would be served externally and point to the Access Gateway instance. Internal URLs, used by Access Gateway such as [protd-N|consumer-app1], would be served by internal DNS.

Most architectures forward log events to an external syslog component. Okta strongly recommends that a logging server be configured for all Access Gateway environments. See Configure log forwarders.

Not shown in this architecture are the data centers housing architecture components.

Related topics

Common Access Gateway flows

DNS use

High availability

About Access Gateway prerequisites