Vertica Analytics Platform Version 9.2.x Documentation

Generating Certificates and Keys for MC

A certificate signing request (CSR) is a block of encrypted text generated on the server on which the certificate is used. You send the CSR to a certificate authority (CA) to apply for a digital identity certificate. The CA uses the CSR to create your SSL certificate from information in your certificate; for example, organization name, common (domain) name, city, and country.

Management Console (MC) uses a combination of OAuth (Open Authorization), Secure Socket Layer (SSL), and locally-encrypted passwords to secure HTTPS requests between a user's browser and MC, and between MC and the agents. Authentication occurs through MC and between agents within the cluster. Agents also authenticate and authorize jobs.

The MC configuration process sets up SSL automatically, but you must have the openssl package installed on your Linux environment first.

When you connect to MC through a client browser, Vertica assigns each HTTPS request a self-signed certificate, which includes a timestamp. To increase security and protect against password replay attacks, the timestamp is valid for several seconds only, after which it expires.

To avoid being blocked out of MC, synchronize time on the hosts in your Vertica cluster, and on the MC host if it resides on a dedicated server. To recover from loss or lack of synchronization, resync system time and the Network Time Protocol.

Create a Certificate and Submit it for Signing

For production, you must use certificates signed by a certificate authority. You can create and submit a certificate and when the certificate returns from the CA, import the certificate into MC.

Use the openssl command to generate a new CSR, entering the passphrase "password" when prompted:

$ sudo openssl req -new -key /opt/vconsole/config/keystore.key -out server.csr
Enter pass phrase for /opt/vconsole/config/keystore.key: 

When you press Enter, you are prompted to enter information to be incorporated into your certificate request. Some fields contain a default value, which you should change for security reasons. Other fields you can leave blank, such as password and optional company name. To leave the field blank, type '.'.

The keystore.key value for the -key option creates private key for the keystore. If you generate a new key and import it using the Management Console interface, the MC process does restart properly. You must restore the original keystore.jks file and restart Management Console.

This information is contained in the CSR and shows both the default and replacement values:

Country Name (2 letter code) [GB]:USState or Province Name (full name) [Berkshire]:Massachusetts
Locality Name (eg, city) [Newbury]: Cambridge
Organization Name (eg, company) [My Company Ltd]:Vertica
Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) []:Information Management
Common Name (eg, your name or your server's hostname) []:console.vertica.com
Email Address []:mcadmin@vertica.com

The Common Name field is the fully qualified domain name of your server. Your entry must exactly match what you type in your web browser, or you receive a name mismatch error.

Self-Sign a Certificate for Testing

To test your new SSL implementation, you can self-sign a CSR using either a temporary certificate or your own internal CA, if one is available.

A self-signed certificate generates a browser-based error notifying you that the signing certificate authority is unknown and not trusted. For testing purposes, accept the risks and continue.

The following command generates a temporary certificate, which expires after 365 days:

$ sudo openssl x509 -req -days 365 -in server.csr -signkey /opt/vconsole/config/keystore.key -out server.crt
Enter passphrase for /opt/vconsole/config/keystore.key:
Enter same passphrase again:

The previous example prompts you for a passphrase. This is required for Apache to start. To implement a passphrase you must put the SSLPassPhraseDialog directive in the appropriate Apache configuration file. For more information see your Apache documentation.

This example shows the command's output to the terminal window:

Signature oksubject=/C=US/ST=Massachusetts/L=Cambridge/O=Vertica/OU=IT/
CN=console.vertica.com/emailAddress=mcadmin@vertica.com
Getting Private key

You can now import the self-signed key, server.crt, into Management Console.