Venafi

The Venafi Issuer types allows you to obtain certificates from Venafi as a Service (VaaS) and Venafi Trust Protection Platform (TPP) instances.

You can have multiple different Venafi Issuer types installed within the same cluster, including mixtures of Venafi as a Service and TPP issuer types. This allows you to be flexible with the types of Venafi account you use.

Automated certificate renewal and management are provided for Certificates using the Venafi Issuer.

Creating an Issuer resource

A single Venafi Issuer represents a single Venafi ‘zone’ so you must create one Issuer resource for each zone you want to use. A zone is a single entity that combines the policy that governs certificate issuance with information about how certificates are organized in Venafi to identify the business application and establish ownership.

You can configure your Issuer resource to either issue certificates only within a single namespace, or cluster-wide (using a ClusterIssuer resource). For more information on the distinction between Issuer and ClusterIssuer resources, read the Namespaces section.

Creating a Venafi as a Service Issuer

If you haven’t already done so, create your Venafi as a Service account on this page and copy the API key from your user preferences. Then you may want to create a custom CA Account and Issuing Template or choose instead to use defaults that are automatically created for testing (“Built-in CA” and “Default”, respectively). Lastly you’ll need to create an Application for establishing ownership of all the certificates requested by your cert-manager Issuer, and assign to it the Issuing Template.

Make a note of the Application name and API alias of the Issuing Template because together they comprise the ‘zone’ you will need for your Issuer configuration.

In order to set up a Venafi as a Service Issuer, you must first create a Kubernetes Secret resource containing your Venafi as a Service API credentials:

$ kubectl create secret generic \
       vaas-secret \
       --namespace='NAMESPACE OF YOUR ISSUER RESOURCE' \
       --from-literal=apikey='YOUR_VAAS_API_KEY_HERE'

Note: If you are configuring your issuer as a ClusterIssuer resource in order to serve Certificates across your whole cluster, you must set the --namespace parameter to cert-manager, which is the default Cluster Resource Namespace. The Cluster Resource Namespace can be configured through the --cluster-resource-namespace flag on the cert-manager controller component.

This API key will be used by cert-manager to interact with Venafi as a Service on your behalf.

Once the API key Secret has been created, you can create your Issuer or ClusterIssuer resource. If you are creating a ClusterIssuer resource, you must change the kind field to ClusterIssuer and remove the metadata.namespace field.

Save the below content after making your amendments to a file named vaas-issuer.yaml.

apiVersion: cert-manager.io/v1
kind: Issuer
metadata:
  name: vaas-issuer
  namespace: <NAMESPACE YOU WANT TO ISSUE CERTIFICATES IN>
spec:
  venafi:
    zone: "My Application\My CIT" # Set this to <Application Name>\<Issuing Template Alias>
    cloud:
      apiTokenSecretRef:
        name: vaas-secret
        key: apikey

You can then create the Issuer using kubectl create.

$ kubectl create -f vaas-issuer.yaml

Verify the Issuer has been initialized correctly using kubectl describe.

$ kubectl get issuer vaas-issuer --namespace='NAMESPACE OF YOUR ISSUER RESOURCE' -o wide
NAME           READY   STATUS                 AGE
vaas-issuer    True    Venafi issuer started  2m

You are now ready to issue certificates using the newly provisioned Venafi Issuer and Venafi as a Service.

Read the Issuing Certificates document for more information on how to create Certificate resources.

Creating a Venafi Trust Protection Platform Issuer

The Venafi Trust Protection Platform integration allows you to obtain certificates from a properly configured Venafi TPP instance.

The setup is similar to the Venafi as a Service configuration above, however some of the connection parameters are slightly different.

Note: You must allow “User Provided CSRs” as part of your TPP policy, as this is the only type supported by cert-manager at this time.

In order to set up a Venafi Trust Protection Platform Issuer, you must first create a Kubernetes Secret resource containing your Venafi TPP API credentials.

NOTE: For TPP >= 19.2 use Access Token Authentication and for older versions of TPP, use username / password authentication.

Access Token Authentication

Use access-token authentication if you are connecting to TPP >= 19.2.

  1. Set up token authentication.

    NOTE: Do not select “Refresh Token Enabled” and set a long “Token Validity (days)”.

  2. Create a new user with sufficient privileges to manage and revoke certificates in a particular policy folder (zone).

    E.g. k8s-xyz-automation

  3. Create a new application integration

    Create an application integration with name and ID cert-manager. Set the “API Access Settings” to Certificates: Read,Manage,Revoke.

    “Edit Access” to the new application integration, and allow it to be used by the user you created earlier.

  4. Generate an access token

    vcert getcred \
      --username k8s-xyz-automation \
      --password somepassword \
      -u https://tpp.example.com/vedsdk \
      --client-id cert-manager \
      --scope "certificate:manage,revoke"
    

    This will print an access-token to stdout. E.g.

    vCert: 2020/10/07 16:34:27 Getting credentials
    access_token:  I69n.............y1VjNJT3o9U0Wko19g==
    access_token_expires:  2021-01-05T15:34:30Z
    
  5. Save the access-token to a Secret in the Kubernetes cluster

$ kubectl create secret generic \
       tpp-secret \
       --namespace=<NAMESPACE OF YOUR ISSUER RESOURCE> \
       --from-literal=access-token='YOUR_TPP_ACCESS_TOKEN'

Username / Password Authentication

NOTE: username / password authentication is deprecated and should only be used when connecting to TPP < 19.2. It requires the username and password of a TPP user to be stored in the Kubernetes cluster and it does not allow scoped access to the API. This means that if these credentials are leaked an attacker may gain long term access to the TPP API and web UI.

$ kubectl create secret generic \
       tpp-secret \
       --namespace=<NAMESPACE OF YOUR ISSUER RESOURCE> \
       --from-literal=username='YOUR_TPP_USERNAME_HERE' \
       --from-literal=password='YOUR_TPP_PASSWORD_HERE'

Note: If you are configuring your issuer as a ClusterIssuer resource in order to issue Certificates across your whole cluster, you must set the --namespace parameter to cert-manager, which is the default Cluster Resource Namespace. The Cluster Resource Namespace can be configured through the --cluster-resource-namespace flag on the cert-manager controller component.

These credentials will be used by cert-manager to interact with your Venafi TPP instance. Username attribute must be adhere to the <identity provider>:<username> format. For example: local:admin.

Once the Secret containing credentials has been created, you can create your Issuer or ClusterIssuer resource. If you are creating a ClusterIssuer resource, you must change the kind field to ClusterIssuer and remove the metadata.namespace field.

Save the below content after making your amendments to a file named tpp-issuer.yaml.

apiVersion: cert-manager.io/v1
kind: Issuer
metadata:
  name: tpp-issuer
  namespace: <NAMESPACE YOU WANT TO ISSUE CERTIFICATES IN>
spec:
  venafi:
    zone: devops\cert-manager # Set this to the Venafi policy folder you want to use
    tpp:
      url: https://tpp.venafi.example/vedsdk # Change this to the URL of your TPP instance
      caBundle: <base64 encoded string of caBundle PEM file, or empty to use system root CAs>
      credentialsRef:
        name: tpp-secret

You can then create the Issuer using kubectl create -f.

$ kubectl create -f tpp-issuer.yaml

Verify the Issuer has been initialized correctly using kubectl describe.

$ kubectl describe issuer tpp-issuer --namespace='NAMESPACE OF YOUR ISSUER RESOURCE'

You are now ready to issue certificates using the newly provisioned Venafi Issuer and Trust Protection Platform.

Read the Issuing Certificates document for more information on how to create Certificate resources.

Issuer specific annotations

Custom Fields

Starting v0.14 you can pass custom fields to Venafi (TPP version v19.2 and higher) using the venafi.cert-manager.io/custom-fields annotation on Certificate resources. The value is a JSON encoded array of custom field objects having a name and value key. For example:

apiVersion: cert-manager.io/v1
kind: Certificate
metadata:
  name: example-com-certificate
  annotations:
    venafi.cert-manager.io/custom-fields: |-
      [
        {"name": "field-name", "value": "vield value"},
        {"name": "field-name-2", "value": "vield value 2"}
      ]      
...
Last modified August 4, 2021 : Updates for Venafi as a Service (a54b2a3)