Centrally manage sudoers rules with IPA Part I – Preparation

One of the features of IPA is its facility to centrally manage sudoers rules. This rules can be based on user, group memberships etc. and be constrained to one or more servers.

One of the benefits you get is: You are able to define stricter sudoers rules without annoying the users. At the end your systems are more secure and more convenient for the users.

Lets start.

Unfortunately, sudoers via LDAP does not just work out of the box, some configuration on the clients needs to be done. Those can be equal on all hosts and distributed via configuration management such as puppet or RHN Satellite.

IPA has a user called “sudo”. We first need to set a password for it:

[root@ipa1 ~]# ldappasswd -x -S -W -h ipa1.example.com -ZZ -D "cn=Directory Manager" uid=sudo,cn=sysaccounts,cn=etc,dc=example,dc=com
New password: 
Re-enter new password: 
Enter LDAP Password: 
[root@ipa1 ~]# 

We need to set this password later on as the bind password in the LDAP configuration.

Next we need to edit the /etc/nsswitch.conf file:

[root@ipaclient1 ~]# echo sudoers:  files ldap >> /etc/nsswitch.conf

Lets configure the sudoers-ldap file

root@ipaclient1 ~]# cat << EOF > /etc/sudo-ldap.conf
binddn uid=sudo,cn=sysaccounts,cn=etc,dc=example,dc=com
bindpw redhat
ssl start_tls
tls_cacertfile /etc/ipa/ca.crt
tls_checkpeer yes
uri ldap://ipa1.example.com ldap://ipa2.example.com
sudoers_base ou=SUDOers,dc=example,dc=com
root@ipaclient1 ~]#

The bindpw (in this example “redhat” is that one you previously set with ldappasswd, change it accordingly. The paramter “uri” should contain two IPA servers (as FQDN, no IP Address or shortname) for redundancy. The “binddn” and “sudoers_base” of course should match your environment.

Remember netgroups? Old school stuff from the time when NIS was used. I thought I’ll never get in touch with NIS anymore. Unfortunately sudo uses netgroups, so we need to set a proper NIS domainname.

cat << EOF >> /etc/rc.d/rc.local
nisdomainname example.com

The following files are needed to be configured on each host using IPA for sudoers rules:

  • /etc/nsswitch.conf
  • /etc/sudo-ldap.conf
  • /etc/rc.d/rc.local

Expect part two of this in the next few days.

Have fun 🙂

Why journalctl is cool and syslog will survive for another decade

There was a recent discussion going on if Fedora 20 should drop rsyslog and just using systemd journal. A lot of people are afraid of systemd and its journal, this a pity.

Well, there are pros and cons about this kind of logging. For System administrators daily use, journalctl is a powerful tool simplifying the hunt for log file entries.

On the other hand, there are AFAIK no monitoring tools (yet) that can work with journalctl. Those first need to be developed. A Nagios plug-in should be implemented quite quickly.

Why makes journalctl the life easier?
Instead of grepping trough thousands of lines in /var/log/messages you simply can filter the messages and work on them.

journalctl has auto completion (just hit the tab key) showing you the options to use. I.e.

fedora:~# journalctl  < TAB > 
_AUDIT_SESSION=              _PID=
_BOOT_ID=                    PRIORITY=
_CMDLINE=                    __REALTIME_TIMESTAMP=
CODE_FILE=                   _SELINUX_CONTEXT=
CODE_LINE=                   SYSLOG_FACILITY=
_COMM=                       SYSLOG_IDENTIFIER=
COREDUMP_EXE=                SYSLOG_PID=
__CURSOR=                    _SYSTEMD_CGROUP=
ERRNO=                       _SYSTEMD_OWNER_UID=
_EXE=                        _SYSTEMD_SESSION=
_GID=                        _SYSTEMD_UNIT=
_HOSTNAME=                   _TRANSPORT=
_MACHINE_ID=                 _UDEV_SYSNAME=
MESSAGE=                     _UID=
fedora:~# journalctl 

Quite some filtering options available here. Most of this options are self-explanatory.

If you just want to see the entries made by a particular command, issue journalctl _COMM= and the TAB key.

fedora:~# journalctl _COMM=
abrtd            dnsmasq          mtp-probe        sh               tgtd
anacron          gnome-keyring-d  network          smartd           udisksd
avahi-daemon     hddtemp          polkit-agent-he  smbd             umount
bash             journal2gelf     polkitd          sshd             userhelper
blueman-mechani  kdumpctl         pulseaudio       sssd_be          yum
chronyd          krb5_child       qemu-system-x86  su               
colord           libvirtd         sealert          sudo             
crond            logger           sendmail         systemd          
dbus-daemon      mcelog           setroubleshootd  systemd-journal  
fedora:~# journalctl _COMM=

If you enter journalctl _COMM=sshd you will just see the messages created by sshd.

fedora:~# journalctl _COMM=sshd 
-- Logs begin at Tue 2013-07-23 08:46:28 CEST, end at Wed 2013-07-24 11:10:01 CEST. --
Jul 23 09:48:45 fedora.example.com sshd[2172]: Server listening on port 22.
Jul 23 09:48:45 fedora.example.com sshd[2172]: Server listening on :: port 22.

Usually one is just interested in messages within a particular time range.

fedora:~# journalctl _COMM=crond --since "10:00" --until "11:00"
-- Logs begin at Tue 2013-07-23 08:46:28 CEST, end at Wed 2013-07-24 11:23:25 CEST. --
Jul 24 10:20:01 fedora.example.com CROND[28305]: (root) CMD (/usr/lib64/sa/sa1 1 1)
Jul 24 10:50:01 fedora.example.com CROND[28684]: (root) CMD (/usr/lib64/sa/sa1 1 1)

And why will rsyslog stay another decade or even longer?

There are a lot of tools and scripts which are in place since a long time, some of them even come from a time before Linux was born.

Most of those scripts must be rewritten or at least change its behaviour. I.e taking input from STDIN instead of a log file, so those tools can digest the output from journalctl|your-super-duper-scipt.pl

For log digesting tools that are needed to be compatible between different Unix and Linux Systems they probably wont be changed. In this case syslogd will survive until the last of those systems is decommissioned.

Further reading

Creating and managing iSCSI targets

If you want to create and manage iSCSI targets with Fedora or RHEL, you stumble upon tgtd and tgtadm. This tools are easy to use but have some obstacles to take care of. This is a quick guide on how to use tgtd and tgtadm.

iSCSI terminology
In the iSCSI world, we not taking about server and client, but iSCSI-Targets, which is the server and iSCSI-Initiators which are the clients

Install the tool set
It is just one package to install, afterwards enable the service:

target:~# yum install scsi-target-utils
target:~# chkconfig tgtd on
target:~# service tgtd start

Or Systemd style:

target:~# systemctl start tgtd.service
target:~# systemctl enable tgtd.service

Online configuration vs. configuration file
There are basically two ways of configuring iSCSI targets:

  • Online configuration with tgtadm, changes are getting available instantly, but not consistent over reboots
  • Configuration files. Changes are presistent, but not instantly available

Well, there is the dump parameter for tgtadm but i.e. passwords are replaced with “PLEASE_CORRECT_THE_PASSWORD” which makes tgtadm completely useless if you are using CHAP authentication.

If you do not use CHAP authentication and use IP based ACLs instead, tgtadm can help you, just dump the config to /etc/tgt/conf.d

Usage of tgtadm

After you have created the storage such as a logical volume (used in this example), a partition or even a file, you can add the first target:

target:~# tgtadm --lld iscsi --op new --mode target --tid 1 --targetname iqn.2013-07.com.example.storage.ssd1

Then you can add a LUN (logical Unit) to the target

target:~# tgtadm --lld iscsi --op new --mode logicalunit --tid 1 --lun 1 --backing-store /dev/vg_storage_ssd/lv_storage_ssd

It is always a good idea to restrict access to your iSCSI targets. There are two ways to do so: IP based and user (CHAP Authentication) based ACL.

In this example we first add two addresses and later on remove one of them again just as a demo

target:~# tgtadm --lld iscsi --mode target --op bind --tid 1 --initiator-address=
target:~# tgtadm --lld iscsi --mode target --op bind --tid 1 --initiator-address=

Go to both initiators where the IPs and check if the Targets are visible:

iscsiadm --mode discovery --type sendtargets --portal

Lets remove the ACL for the IP address

target:~# tgtadm --lld iscsi --mode target --op unbind --tid 1 --initiator-address=

Test if the Target is still visible on the host with IP address, it is not anymore.

If you want to use CHAP authentication, please be aware that tgtadm –dump does not save password, so initiators will not be able to login after a restart of the tgtd.

To add a new user:

target:~# tgtadm --lld iscsi --op new --mode account --user iscsi-user --password secret

And add the ACL to the target:

target:~# tgtadm --lld iscsi --op bind --mode account --tid 2 --user iscsi-user

To remove an account for the target:

target:~# tgtadm --lld iscsi --op unbind --mode account --tid 2 --user iscsi-user

As a wrote further above, configurations done by tgtadm are not persistent over reboot or restart of tgtd. For basic configurations as descibed above, the dump parameter is working fine. As configuration files in /etc/tgt/conf.d/ are automatically included, you just dump the config into a separate file.

target:~# tgt-admin --dump |grep -v default-driver > /etc/tgt/conf.d/my-targets.conf

The other way round
If you are using more sophisticated configuration, you probably want to manage your iSCSI configration the other way round.

You can edit your configuration file(s) in /etc/tgt/conf.d and invoke tgt-admin with the respective parameters to update the config instantly.

tgt-admin (not to be mistaken as tgtadm) is a perl script which basically parses /etc/tgt/targets.conf and updates the targets by invoking tgtadm.

To update your Target(s) issue:

tgt-admin --update ALL --force

For all your targets, incl. active ones (–force) or

tgt-admin --update --tid=1 --force

For updating Target ID 1

SIGKILL is nasty but sometimes needed
tgtd can not be stopped as usual daemons, you need to do a sledgehammer operation and invoke kill -9 to the process followed by service tgtd start command.

How the start up and stop process is working in a proper workaround way is being teached by Systemd, have a look at /usr/lib/systemd/system/tgtd.service which does not actually stop tgtd but just removes the targets.

tgtadm can be help- and sometimes harmful. Carefully consider what is the better way for you, creating config files with tgtadm or update the configuration files and activate them with tgt-admin.