[openstack-dev] Incubation Request for Barbican

Jarret Raim jarret.raim at RACKSPACE.COM
Wed Dec 4 13:58:23 UTC 2013

> While I am all for adding a new program, I think we should only add one
>if we 
> rule out all existing programs as a home. With that in mind why not add
> to the  keystone program? Perhaps that may require a tweak to keystones
> statement, but that is doable. I saw a partial answer to this somewhere
>but not a full one.

>From our point of view, Barbican can certainly help solve some problems
related to identity like SSH key management and client certs. However,
there is a wide array of functionality that Barbican will handle that is
not related to identity.

Some examples, there is some additional detail in our application if you
want to dig deeper [1].

* Symmetric key management - These keys are used for encryption of data at
rest in various places including Swift, Nova, Cinder, etc. Keys are
resources that roll up to a project, much like servers or load balancers,
but they have no direct relationship to an identity.

* SSL / TLS certificates - The management of certificate authorities and
the issuance of keys for SSL / TLS. Again, these are resources rather than
anything attached to identity.

* SSH Key Management - These could certainly be managed through keystone
if we think that¹s the right way to go about it, but from Barbican¹s point
of view, these are just another type of a key to be generated and tracked
that roll up to an identity.

* Client certificates - These are most likely tied to an identity, but
again, just managed as resources from a Barbican point of view.

* Raw Secret Storage - This functionality is usually used by applications
residing on an Cloud. An app can use Barbican to store secrets such as
sensitive configuration files, encryption keys and the like. This data
belongs to the application rather than any particular user in Keystone.
For example, some Rackspace customers don¹t allow their application dev /
maintenance teams direct access to the Rackspace APIs.

* Boot Verification - This functionality is used as part of the trusted
boot functionality for transparent disk encryption on Nova.

* Randomness Source - Barbican manages HSMs which allow us to offer a
source of true randomness.

In short (ha), I would encourage everyone to think of keys / certificates
as resources managed by an API in much the same way we think of VMs being
managed by the Nova API. A consumer of Barbican (either as an OpenStack
service or a consumer of an OpenStack cloud) will have an API to create
and manage various types of secrets that are owned by their project.

Keystone plays a critical role for us (as it does with every service) in
authenticating the user to a particular project and storing the roles that
the user has for that project. Barbican then enforces these restrictions.
However, keys / secrets are fundamentally divorced from identities in much
the same way that databases in Trove are, they are owned by a project, not
a particular user.

Hopefully our thought process makes some sense, let me know if I can
provide more detail.


[1] https://wiki.openstack.org/wiki/Barbican/Incubation
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