Use Cases#

To determine which scopes a role should have, one can follow these steps:

  1. Determine what actions the role holder should have/have not access to

  2. Match the actions against the JupyterHub’s APIs

  3. Check which scopes are required to access the APIs

  4. Combine scopes and subscopes if applicable

  5. Customize the scopes with filters if needed

  6. Define the role with required scopes and assign to users/services/groups/tokens

Below, different use cases are presented on how to use the RBAC framework.

Service to cull idle servers#

Finding and shutting down idle servers can save a lot of computational resources. We can make use of jupyterhub-idle-culler to manage this for us. Below follows a short tutorial on how to add a cull-idle service in the RBAC system.

  1. Install the cull-idle server script with pip install jupyterhub-idle-culler.

  2. Define a new service idle-culler and a new role for this service:

    # in = [
            "name": "idle-culler",
            "command": [
                sys.executable, "-m",
    c.JupyterHub.load_roles = [
            "name": "idle-culler",
            "description": "Culls idle servers",
            "scopes": ["read:users:name", "read:users:activity", "servers"],
            "services": ["idle-culler"],


    Note that in the RBAC system the admin field in the idle-culler service definition is omitted. Instead, the idle-culler role provides the service with only the permissions it needs.

    If the optional actions of deleting the idle servers and/or removing inactive users are desired, change the following scopes in the idle-culler role definition:

    • servers to admin:servers for deleting servers

    • read:users:name, read:users:activity to admin:users for deleting users.

  3. Restart JupyterHub to complete the process.

API launcher#

A service capable of creating/removing users and launching multiple servers should have access to:

  1. POST and DELETE /users

  2. POST and DELETE /users/:name/server or /users/:name/servers/:server_name

  3. Creating/deleting servers

The scopes required to access the API enpoints:

  1. admin:users

  2. servers

  3. admin:servers

From the above, the role definition is:

# in

c.JupyterHub.load_roles = [
        "name": "api-launcher",
        "description": "Manages servers",
        "scopes": ["admin:users", "admin:servers"],
        "services": [<service_name>]

If needed, the scopes can be modified to limit the permissions to e.g. a particular group with !group=groupname filter.

Group admin roles#

Roles can be used to specify different group member privileges.

For example, a group of students class-A may have a role allowing all group members to access information about their group. Teacher johan, who is a student of class-A but a teacher of another group of students class-B, can have additional role permitting him to access information about class-B students as well as start/stop their servers.

The roles can then be defined as follows:

# in

c.JupyterHub.load_groups = {
    'class-A': ['johan', 'student1', 'student2'],
    'class-B': ['student3', 'student4']

c.JupyterHub.load_roles = [
        'name': 'class-A-student',
        'description': 'Grants access to information about the group',
        'scopes': ['read:groups!group=class-A'],
        'groups': ['class-A']
        'name': 'class-B-student',
        'description': 'Grants access to information about the group',
        'scopes': ['read:groups!group=class-B'],
        'groups': ['class-B']
        'name': 'teacher',
        'description': 'Allows for accessing information about teacher group members and starting/stopping their servers',
        'scopes': [ 'read:users!group=class-B', 'servers!group=class-B'],
        'users': ['johan']

In the above example, johan has privileges inherited from class-A-student role and the teacher role on top of those.


The scope filters (!group=) limit the privileges only to the particular groups. johan can access the servers and information of class-B group members only.