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Securing Redis Client Connections

If you configure it, Redis Enterprise Pack (RP) can use industry-standard encryption to protect your data in transit between a Redis client and RP. This is commonly referred to as transport layer security (TLS) or secure socket layer (SSL) technology. While SSL is a common industry term, RP actually supports the more secure TLS standard, but you will see both names used interchangeably here and in RP. Just know that it is TLS. For more about TLS version info, please see the bottom of this page.

To enable SSL/TLS you must configure the RP cluster nodes, the database, and the client, as detailed below.

Configuration of the RP nodes

By default, each cluster node has a different set of self-signed certificates. These certificates can be replaced with your own certificate, preferably a certificate issued by an intermediate certificate authority (CA). For additional details, refer to Updating SSL/TLS certificates.

Configuration of the database

To encrypt the connection to the database endpoint with SSL, enter the contents the client certificate
to the SSL client authentication field.

Note: Once SSL/TLS encryption is enabled for the database endpoint, the database will not accept non-SSL connections.

Note: SSL/TLS encryption can significantly impact database throughput and latency.

Adding SSL/TLS CA signed certificates to the proxy

Background

  1. The proxy is responsible for terminating the SSL/TLS connection
  2. Server certificate and key are located on /etc/opt/redislabs:proxy_cert.pem – server certificate thatproxy_key.pem – server certificate key*any update on these require a proxy restart
  3. Enabling of SSL/TLS is done via “ssl authentication” field in the UI. You are required to add a client-side certificate as a SSL/TLS connection is done via client certificate authentication (not just server side authentication).

Installing CA signed certificates high-level steps

  1. Replace the RP server certificates on all nodes and key with the CA signed certificate and restart proxy

    Note: A certificate for the databases’ endpoint should be assigned for the same domain as the cluster name. For example, for a cluster with the name “redislabs.com” the certificate should be for “redis-*.redislabs.com”.

  2. Add the SSL/TLS client certificates in the UI including CA certificates and any intermediate certificates by chaining the certificate into one file (you can use a cat command to chain the certs).

    Note: CA signed certificates and chains will only work in UI using version 4.4 and above. For a lower version, it’s possible to insert it via API but the UI will not have the option.

  3. On the client side make sure to import and trust the CA and intermediate certificates (you can chain the CA cert with intermediate as one file to use and import)

Client configuration

To connect to a database configured with SSL/TLS encryption, either use one of the Redis clients that inherently support SSL encryption, or use any Redis client and create a secured tunnel between the client machine and the RP nodes.

To learn which clients inherently support SSL/TLS, refer to this blog post.

To create a secure tunnel between the client machine and the RP nodes, use tools that enable this functionality, such as spiped or stunnel. An example of how to use stunnel is detailed below.

Note: For security reasons, RP supports only the TLS protocol. Therefore, ensure that the Redis client or secured tunnel solution you use supports TLS, preferably TLS v1.2.

When using self-signed certificates on the cluster nodes, make sure to copy these certificates to the client machines as well, thereby enabling the client to validate the cluster nodes.

When using a certificate issued by an intermediate certificate authority (CA) on the cluster nodes, ensure that the CA root certificate is installed on the client machines.

Example how to secure client connection with SSL/TLS using stunnel

The instructions below explain how to use stunnel for setting up a secure tunnel between a client machine and the RP nodes when the client is running on Ubuntu, using the default RP nodes’ self-signed certificates, and a self-signed certificate on the client machine.

  1. Install stunnel version 5 or higher on the client machine. Older versions of stunnel do not support the TLS protocol.
  2. Create a self-signed certificate on the client machine:
    1. Generate a private key by running the following commands:sudo su –
      openssl genrsa -out /etc/stunnel/keyclient.pem 4096
    2. Generate a client certificate by running the following commands:openssl req -new -x509 -key /etc/stunnel/keyclient.pem -out
      /etc/stunnel/cert.pem -days 1826

    When prompted, enter the appropriate configuration details for the certificate.

  3. Copy the RP nodes certificates from all nodes to the client machine. The certificates are saved in a file named proxy_cert.pem, which is stored in /etc/opt/redislabs in each node. For additional details, refer to Updating SSL/TLS certificates.
  4. Rename the certificate files fetched from the RP nodes as certsvr.pem. For example: certsvr1.pem, certsvr2.pem.
  5. Create a single file for all of the server certificates on the client machine, by running the following command from the OS CLI. For example:cat /etc/stunnel/certsvr1.pem /etc/stunnel/certsvr2.pem > /etc/stunnel/servercerts.pem
  6. Configure stunnel for the connection to RP by using the steps below:
    1. Create a redislabs.conf file in /etc/stunnel folder.
    2. Ensure that the certificates that have been generated exist in the following folder: /etc/stunnel.
    3. Edit the redislabs.conf content to look as follows:cert = /etc/stunnel/cert.pem
      key = /etc/stunnel/keyclient.pem
      cafile = /etc/stunnel/servercerts.pem
      verify = 2
      delay = yes
      output = /tmp/stunnel.log
      pid = /tmp/stunnel.pid[redislabs]
      client = yes
      accept = 127.0.0.1:6379
      connect = [database endpoint value]Where [database endpoint value] is the database endpoint as can be retrieved from RP.

      Note: The value for the accept parameter is the local IP and port that will be used for redirecting the traffic through the secure tunnel to the database endpoint configured in the connect parameter.

  7. Copy the contents of the client certificate from cert.pem and enter them in the SSL Client Authentication field, in the RP UI, of the database you would like to secure. When done, be sure to save the change.
  8. Start the stunnel service by running the following command:service stunnel restart

    Note: Any change made to the stunnel configuration requires restarting the stunnel service.

    Check the stunnel log file to verify that the connection is working properly. The log file is created under the root folder within the configuration mentioned above.

  9. Test the connection to the Redis database from the client machine. You can use redis-cli to run commands on the client machine, and the commands will be redirected from the local machine’s port 6379 to the RP database endpoint. Note that the connection to the Redis database is done through the local port; do not try to connect directly to the database endpoint.

TLS version information

RP fully supports TLS v1.2, but the version of TLS used depends on the connecting Redis client. If the client supports TLS v1.2, that version will be used. If the client does not support TLS v1.2, you may end up using an older TLS version against RP. Therefore it is considered best practice to stay current on your client libraries for the most up to date security.