One of the biggest limitations with masterless Puppet is keeping Hiera data secure. Hiera is a great way for separating site-specific information (like credentials) from your Puppet modules without making a huge mess of your sites.pp. On a traditional Puppet master environment, this works well since the Puppet master controls access to the Hiera data and ensures that client servers only have access to credentials that apply to them.
With masterless puppet this becomes difficult since all clients have access to the full set of Hiera data, which means your webserver might have the ability to query the database server’s admin password – certainly not ideal.
Some solutions like Hiera-eyaml can still be used, but they require setting up different keys for each server (or group of servers) which is a pain with masterless, especially when you have one value you wish to encrypted for several different servers.
To solve this limitation for Pupistry users, I’ve added a feature “HieraCrypt” in Pupistry version 1.3.0 that allows the hieradata directory to be encrypted and filtered to specific hosts.
HieraCrypt works, by generating a cert on each node (server) you use with the
pupistry hieracrypt --generate parameter and saving the output into your puppetcode repository at
hieracrypt/nodes/HOSTNAME. This output includes a x509 cert made against the host’s SSH RSA host key and a JSON array of all the facter facts on that host that correlate to values inside the hiera.yaml file.
When you run Pupistry on your build workstation, it parses the hiera.yaml file for each environment and generates a match of files per-node. It then encrypts these files and creates an encrypted package for each node that only they can decrypt.
For example, if your hiera.yaml file looks like:
And your hieradata directory looks like:
hieradata/ hieradata/common.yaml hieradata/environments hieradata/nodes hieradata/nodes/testhost.yaml
When Pupistry builds the artifact, it will include the
common.yaml file for all nodes, however the
testhost.yaml file will only be included for node “testhost” and of course foobox.yaml will only be available on node “foobox”.
The selection of matching files is then encrypted against each host’s certificate and bundled into the artifact. The end result is that whilst all nodes have access to the same artifact, nodes can only decrypt the Hiera files relating to them. Provided you setup your Hiera structure properly, you can make sure your webserver can’t access your database server credentials and vice-versa.