TLS Introduction

Depending on your deployment’s security requirements, you might be required to encrypt network traffic. TripleO helps you accomplish this by supporting various TLS deployment options. Let’s start by understanding the different ways we can deploy TLS.

The first option is to only encrypt traffic between clients and public endpoints. This approach results in fewer certificates to manage, and we refer to it as public TLS. Public endpoints, in this sense, are endpoints only exposed to end-users. Traffic between internal endpoints is not encrypted.

The second option leverages TLS for all endpoints in the entire deployment, including the overcloud, undercloud, and any systems that natively support TLS. We typically refer to this approach as TLS-everywhere because we use TLS everywhere we can, encrypting as much network traffic as possible. Certificate management automation is critical with this approach because the number of certificates scales linearly with the number of services in your deployment. TripleO uses several components to help ease the burden of managing certificates. This option is desirable for deployments susceptible to industry regulation or those who have a higher security risk. Healthcare, telecommunications, and the public sector are but a few industries that make extensive use of TLS-everywhere. You can think of public TLS as a subset of what TLS-everywhere offers.

TripleO uses the following components to implement public TLS and TLS-everywhere.


Certmonger is a daemon that helps simplify certificate management between endpoints and certificate authorities (CAs). You can use it to generate key pairs and certificate signing requests (CSRs). It can self-sign CSRs or send them to external CAs for signing. Certmonger also tracks the expiration of each certificate it manages. When a certificate is about to expire, Certmonger requests a new certificate, updates it accordingly, and may restart a service. This automation keeps the node enrolled as a client of the certificate authority so that you don’t have to update hundreds, or thousands, of certificates manually. Certmonger runs on each node that provides an endpoint in your deployment.


FreeIPA is a multi-purpose system that includes a certificate authority (DogTag Certificate System), LDAP (389 Directory Server), MIT Kerberos, NTP server, and DNS. TripleO uses all of these subsystems to implement TLS across OpenStack. For example, if you use FreeIPA in your deployment, you can sign CSRs with DogTag, as opposed to self-signing CSRs with certmonger locally.

FreeIPA runs on a supplemental node in your deployment, and it is kept separate from other infrastructure.

Installing FreeIPA

Similar to setting up the undercloud node, you need to set the hostname properly for the FreeIPA server. For this example, let’s assume we’re using as the domain name for the deployment.:

sudo hostnamectl set-hostname ipa.example.come
sudo hostnamectl set-hostname --transient

Collect and install the FreeIPA packages:

sudo yum install -y ipa-server ipa-server-dns

Configure FreeIPA:

sudo ipa-server-install --realm EXAMPLE.COM /
--admin-password $ADMIN_PASSWORD /
--hostname /
--setup-dns /
--auto-forwarders /
--auto-reverse /

By default, FreeIPA does not public it’s Certificate Revocation List (CRL) on startup. As the CRL is retrieved when the overcloud nodes retrieve certificates from FreeIPA, we should configure it to do so and restart FreeIPA.:

sed -i -e \
's/ca.crl.MasterCRL.publishOnStart=.*/ca.crl.MasterCRL.publishOnStart=true/' \
systemctl restart ipa

Finally, if your IPA server is not at 4.8.5 or higher, you will need to add an ACL to allow for the proper generation of certificates with a IP SAN.:

cat << EOF | ldapmodify -x -D "cn=Directory Manager" -w $DIRECTORY_MANAGER_PASSWORD
dn: cn=dns,dc=example,dc=com
changetype: modify
add: aci
aci: (targetattr = "aaaarecord || arecord || cnamerecord || idnsname || objectclass || ptrrecord")(targetfilter = "(&(objectclass=idnsrecord)(|(aaaarecord=*)(arecord=*)(cnamerecord=*)(ptrrecord=*)(idnsZoneActive=TRUE)))")(version 3.0; acl "Allow hosts to read DNS A/AAA/CNAME/PTR records"; allow (read,search,compare) userdn = "ldap:///fqdn=*,cn=computers,cn=accounts,dc=example,dc=com";)

Please refer to ipa-server-install --help for specifics on each argument or reference the FreeIPA documentation. The directions above are only a guide. You may need to adjust certain values and configuration options to use FreeIPA, depending on your requirements.


Novajoin is a vendor data service that extends nova’s config drive functionality and you use it when you want to deploy TLS-everywhere. When the undercloud creates new nodes for the overcloud, novajoin creates a host entry in FreeIPA to enable the overcloud node to enroll as a FreeIPA client.

If you want to use novajoin, you must have nova deployed in your undercloud. Novajoin isn’t supported for deployments Using Already Deployed Servers.

Novajoin was introduced in the Queens release and is supported through Train. The tripleo-ipa project, described below, effectively replaced novajoin in the Train release.


tripleo-ipa is a collection of Ansible roles used to integrate FreeIPA into TripleO deployments and you use it when you want to deploy TLS-everywhere. These playbooks support deployments using nova and ironic in the undercloud as well as Using Already Deployed Servers. This project was introduced in Train and effectively replaces the novajoin metadata service.

We recommend using tripleo-ipa for all TLS-everywhere deployments as of the Train release. In a future release, we will update TripleO to only support tripleo-ipa as the default method for configuring and deploying TLS-everywhere.