Single cluster CIAM application reference architecture

The single cluster Access Gateway is an architecture representing the components required for protecting a single web resources using Access Gateway. It extends the simple Access Gateway instance architecture by introducing an Access Gateway cluster.

This architecture is designed to meet the following requirements:

  • Secure access to a single application - Accessible to the external internet.
  • 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
  • Relatively simple installation
  • Provides basic fault tolerance and capacity support
  • Can be expanded with additional workers as required to add capacity
  • Load balanced
  • Single virtual environment
  • Pre Access Gateway DMZ based load balancer must support session affinity (sticky sessions)



Location 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 in an Okta org, containing users outside other LDAP or Active Directory 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
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.

Pre Access Gateway load balancer Balances load between clients and the Access Gateway cluster.

Positioned between clients and the Access Gateway cluster.

Access Gateway Access Gateway instance, located in the DMZ is used to provide access to applications used by external internet clients.

Typically hosted in a virtual environment such as Amazon Web Services, MS Azure, Oracle OCI or something similar. See Manage Access Gateway deployment.

Internal application load balancer Balances load between the Access Gateway cluster and the protected applications. See Load balancing. 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