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Database Access with Self-Hosted MongoDB

Setting up Teleport Database Access for MongoDB

Setting up Teleport Database Access for MongoDB

Length: 12:54

Teleport can provide secure access to MongoDB via the Teleport Database Service. This allows for fine-grained access control through the Teleport RBAC system.

The Teleport Database Service proxies traffic from database clients to self-hosted databases in your infrastructure. Teleport maintains a certificate authority for database clients. You configure your database to trust the Teleport database client CA, and the Teleport Database Service presents certificates signed by this CA when proxying user traffic. With this setup, there is no need to store long-lived credentials for self-hosted databases.

Meanwhile, the Teleport Database Service verifies self-hosted databases by checking their TLS certificates against either the Teleport database CA or a custom CA chosen by the user.

In this guide, you will:

  1. Configure your MongoDB database for Teleport access.
  2. Add the database to your Teleport cluster.
  3. Connect to the database via Teleport

How it works

The Teleport Database Service authenticates to your self-hosted MongoDB database using mutual TLS. MongoDB trusts the Teleport certificate authority for database clients, and presents a certificate signed by either the Teleport database CA or a custom CA. When a user initiates a database session, the Teleport Database Service presents a certificate signed by Teleport. The authenticated connection then proxies client traffic from the user.

Prerequisites

  • A running Teleport cluster version 16.0.0 or above. If you want to get started with Teleport, sign up for a free trial or set up a demo environment.

  • The tctl admin tool and tsh client tool.

    Visit Installation for instructions on downloading tctl and tsh.

  • MongoDB cluster (standalone or replica set) version 3.6 or newer.

    Note

    Teleport database access supports MongoDB 3.6 and newer. Older versions have not been tested and are not guaranteed to work. MongoDB 3.6 was released in November 2017 and reached EOL in April 2021 so if you're still using an older version, consider upgrading.

  • To check that you can connect to your Teleport cluster, sign in with tsh login, then verify that you can run tctl commands using your current credentials. tctl is supported on macOS and Linux machines.

    For example:

    tsh login --proxy=teleport.example.com --user=[email protected]
    tctl status

    Cluster teleport.example.com

    Version 16.0.0

    CA pin sha256:abdc1245efgh5678abdc1245efgh5678abdc1245efgh5678abdc1245efgh5678

    If you can connect to the cluster and run the tctl status command, you can use your current credentials to run subsequent tctl commands from your workstation. If you host your own Teleport cluster, you can also run tctl commands on the computer that hosts the Teleport Auth Service for full permissions.

  • A certificate authority for MongoDB Replica Set, and the public certificate for that CA, in PEM format: /path/to/your/ca.crt. You can also configure Teleport to trust this CA for standalone MongoDB instances.

    Distributed databases like MongoDB Replica Set use mTLS for node-to-node communication. Teleport requires that you have your own CA to issue certificates for node-to-node mTLS communication.

    Teleport uses a split-CA architecture for database access. The Teleport db CA issues server certificates and the db_client CA issues client certificates.

    Databases are configured to trust the Teleport db_client CA for client authentication, but not the db CA. Additionally, Teleport only issues ephemeral db_client CA certificates.

    When a MongoDB Replica Set node connects to another MongoDB Replica Set node, it must present a certificate that the other node trusts for client authentication. Since Teleport does not issue long-lived db_client certificates, the node needs to have a long-lived certificate issued by another CA that its peer node trusts.

    The split db and db_client CA architecture was introduced as a security fix in Teleport versions: 13.4.17, 14.3.7, and 15.

    See Database CA Migrations for more information.

Step 1/3. Install and configure Teleport

Set up the Teleport Database service

The Database Service requires a valid join token to join your Teleport cluster. Run the following tctl command and save the token output in /tmp/token on the server that will run the Database Service:

tctl tokens add --type=db --format=text

Install and configure Teleport where you will run the Teleport Database Service:

Install Teleport on your Linux server:

  1. Assign edition to one of the following, depending on your Teleport edition:

    EditionValue
    Teleport Enterprise Cloudcloud
    Teleport Enterprise (Self-Hosted)enterprise
    Teleport Community Editionoss
  2. Get the version of Teleport to install. If you have automatic agent updates enabled in your cluster, query the latest Teleport version that is compatible with the updater:

    TELEPORT_DOMAIN=example.teleport.com
    TELEPORT_VERSION="$(curl https://$TELEPORT_DOMAIN/v1/webapi/automaticupgrades/channel/default/version | sed 's/v//')"

    Otherwise, get the version of your Teleport cluster:

    TELEPORT_DOMAIN=example.teleport.com
    TELEPORT_VERSION="$(curl https://$TELEPORT_DOMAIN/v1/webapi/ping | jq -r '.server_version')"
  3. Install Teleport on your Linux server:

    curl https://goteleport.com/static/install.sh | bash -s ${TELEPORT_VERSION} edition

    The installation script detects the package manager on your Linux server and uses it to install Teleport binaries. To customize your installation, learn about the Teleport package repositories in the installation guide.

On the host where you will run the Teleport Database Service, start Teleport with the appropriate configuration.

Note that a single Teleport process can run multiple different services, for example multiple Database Service agents as well as the SSH Service or Application Service. The step below will overwrite an existing configuration file, so if you're running multiple services add --output=stdout to print the config in your terminal, and manually adjust /etc/teleport.yaml.

Generate a configuration file at /etc/teleport.yaml for the Database Service:

sudo teleport db configure create \ -o file \ --token=/tmp/token \ --proxy=teleport.example.com:443 \ --name=example-mongo \ --protocol=mongodb \ --uri=mongodb://mongo.example.com:27017 \ --labels=env=dev
sudo teleport db configure create \ -o file \ --token=/tmp/token \ --proxy=mytenant.teleport.sh:443 \ --name=example-mongo \ --protocol=mongodb \ --uri=mongodb://mongo.example.com:27017 \ --labels=env=dev

Configure the Teleport Database Service to start automatically when the host boots up by creating a systemd service for it. The instructions depend on how you installed the Teleport Database Service.

On the host where you will run the Teleport Database Service, enable and start Teleport:

sudo systemctl enable teleport
sudo systemctl start teleport

On the host where you will run the Teleport Database Service, create a systemd service configuration for Teleport, enable the Teleport service, and start Teleport:

sudo teleport install systemd -o /etc/systemd/system/teleport.service
sudo systemctl enable teleport
sudo systemctl start teleport

You can check the status of the Teleport Database Service with systemctl status teleport and view its logs with journalctl -fu teleport.

Teleport provides Helm charts for installing the Teleport Database Service in Kubernetes Clusters.

Set up the Teleport Helm repository.

Allow Helm to install charts that are hosted in the Teleport Helm repository:

helm repo add teleport https://charts.releases.teleport.dev

Update the cache of charts from the remote repository so you can upgrade to all available releases:

helm repo update

Install the Teleport Kube Agent into your Kubernetes Cluster with the Teleport Database Service configuration.

JOIN_TOKEN=$(cat /tmp/token)
helm install teleport-kube-agent teleport/teleport-kube-agent \ --create-namespace \ --namespace teleport-agent \ --set roles=db \ --set proxyAddr=teleport.example.com:443 \ --set authToken=${JOIN_TOKEN?} \ --set "databases[0].name=example-mongo" \ --set "databases[0].uri=mongodb://mongo.example.com:27017" \ --set "databases[0].protocol=mongodb" \ --set "databases[0].static_labels.env=dev" \ --version 16.0.0

Install the Teleport Kube Agent into your Kubernetes Cluster with the Teleport Database Service configuration.

JOIN_TOKEN=$(cat /tmp/token)
helm install teleport-kube-agent teleport/teleport-kube-agent \ --create-namespace \ --namespace teleport-agent \ --set roles=db \ --set proxyAddr=mytenant.teleport.sh:443 \ --set authToken=${JOIN_TOKEN?} \ --set "databases[0].name=example-mongo" \ --set "databases[0].uri=mongodb://mongo.example.com:27017" \ --set "databases[0].protocol=mongodb" \ --set "databases[0].static_labels.env=dev" \ --version 15.4.0

Make sure that the Teleport agent pod is running. You should see one teleport-kube-agent pod with a single ready container:

kubectl -n teleport-agent get pods
NAME READY STATUS RESTARTS AGEteleport-kube-agent-0 1/1 Running 0 32s
Tip

A single Teleport process can run multiple services, for example multiple Database Service instances as well as other services such the SSH Service or Application Service.

You can specify either a single connection address or a MongoDB connection string as a URI. For example, when connecting to a replica set:

--uri="mongodb://mongo1.example.com:27017,mongo2.example.com:27017/?replicaSet=rs0"

By default, Teleport will connect to the primary replica set member. If you'd like to connect to a secondary instead, Teleport will respect readPreference connection string setting:

--uri="mongodb://mongo1.example.com:27017,mongo2.example.com:27017/?replicaSet=rs0&readPreference=secondary"

Create a Teleport user

Tip

To modify an existing user to provide access to the Database Service, see Database Access Access Controls

Create a local Teleport user with the built-in access role:

tctl users add \ --roles=access \ --db-users="*" \ --db-names="*" \ alice

Create a local Teleport user with the built-in access and requester roles:

tctl users add \ --roles=access,requester \ --db-users="*" \ --db-names="*" \ alice
FlagDescription
--rolesList of roles to assign to the user. The builtin access role allows them to connect to any database server registered with Teleport.
--db-usersList of database usernames the user will be allowed to use when connecting to the databases. A wildcard allows any user.
--db-namesList of logical databases (aka schemas) the user will be allowed to connect to within a database server. A wildcard allows any database.
Warning

Database names are only enforced for PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and Cloud Spanner databases.

For more detailed information about database access controls and how to restrict access see RBAC documentation.

If you opt for a stricter selection of database names for your user, which differs from the wildcard approach illustrated in this guide, it is essential to include the admin database. This ensures MongoDB clients won't have issues while connecting and executing operations such as retrieving server information, listing databases, and aborting transactions.

Step 2/3. Configure MongoDB

Create a MongoDB user

Teleport will use X.509 authentication when connecting to a MongoDB instance. Users authenticating with client certificates must be created in the $external MongoDB authentication database.

MongoDB treats the entire Subject line of the client certificate as a username. When connecting to a MongoDB server, say as a user alice, Teleport will sign an ephemeral certificate with the CN=alice subject.

To create this user in the database, connect to it using the mongosh or mongo shell and run the following command:

db.getSiblingDB("$external").runCommand(
  {
    createUser: "CN=alice",
    roles: [
      { role: "readWriteAnyDatabase", db: "admin" }
    ]
  }
)

Update the roles accordingly to grant the user appropriate database permissions.

Set up mutual TLS

Teleport uses mutual TLS authentication with self-hosted databases. These databases must be configured with Teleport's certificate authority to be able to verify client certificates. They also need a certificate/key pair that Teleport can verify.

To use issue certificates from your workstation with tctl, your Teleport user must be allowed to impersonate the system role Db.

Include the following allow rule in in your Teleport user's role:

allow:
  impersonate:
    users: ["Db"]
    roles: ["Db"]

When connecting to standalone MongoDB, sign the certificate for the hostname over which Teleport will be connecting to it.

For example, if your MongoDB server is accessible at mongo.example.com hostname, run:

tctl auth sign --format=mongodb --host=mongo.example.com --out=mongo --ttl=2190h
TTL

We recommend using a shorter TTL, but keep mind that you'll need to update the database server certificate before it expires to not lose the ability to connect. Pick the TTL value that best fits your use-case.

The command will create two files: mongo.cas with Teleport's certificate authority and mongo.crt with the generated certificate and key pair. You will need these files to enable mutual TLS on your MongoDB server.

If your MongoDB instance already has a CA that it uses to sign certificates , you only need to export a Teleport CA certificate for MongoDB to authenticate traffic from the Teleport Database Service.

  1. Replace example.teleport.sh:443 with the host and web port of the Teleport Proxy Service in your cluster. Run the following command on your workstation:

    tctl auth export --type=db-client --auth-server=example.teleport.sh:443 > server.cas

    The command creates 1 file, server.cas.

  2. Generate a certificate and key pair for MongoDB to present to Teleport by retrieving them from the CA you use for MongoDB. Append them to a single file, mongo.crt.

  3. Modify the Teleport Database Service to trust your MongoDB CA:

      databases:
      - name: "example-mongodb"
        protocol: "mongodb"
        uri: "mongodb.example.com:27017"
        static_labels:
          "env": "example"
        tls:
          ca_cert_file: "/path/to/your/ca.crt"
    

    Now the Teleport Database Service will trust certificates presented by your MongoDB.

Export the Teleport Database Client CA from Teleport, and then add it as an additional trusted CA by concatenating it with your CA's certificate:

tctl auth export --type=db-client > db-client-ca.crt
cat /path/to/your/ca.crt db-client-ca.crt > /etc/certs/mongo.cas

When MongoDB is configured to trust these CAs, it will trust the Teleport Database Client CA and allow access via Teleport, while still allowing MongoDB replication over TLS using your CA's certs for peer verification.

Modify the Teleport Database Service to trust your MongoDB Replica Set CA:

  databases:
  - name: "example-mongodb"
    protocol: "mongodb"
    uri: "mongodb.example.com:27017"
    static_labels:
      "env": "example"
    tls:
      ca_cert_file: "/path/to/your/ca.crt"

Now the Teleport Database Service will trust certificates presented by your MongoDB Replica Set.

Use the generated secrets to enable mutual TLS in your mongod.conf configuration file and restart the database:

net:
  ssl:
    mode: requireSSL
    PEMKeyFile: /etc/certs/mongo.crt
    CAFile: /etc/certs/mongo.cas
net:
  tls:
    mode: requireTLS
    certificateKeyFile: /etc/certs/mongo.crt
    CAFile: /etc/certs/mongo.cas

When configuring a replica set, make sure to do it for each member and use secrets generated for the particular server.

Once mutual TLS has been enabled, you will no longer be able to connect to the cluster without providing a valid client certificate. You can use the net.tls.allowConnectionsWithoutCertificates setting to allow connections from clients that do not present a certificate.

See Configure TLS/SSL in the MongoDB documentation for more details.

Step 3/3. Connect

Log in to your Teleport cluster and see available databases:

tsh login --proxy=teleport.example.com --user=alice
tsh db ls

Name Description Labels

------------- --------------- --------

example-mongo Example MongoDB env=dev

tsh login --proxy=mytenant.teleport.sh --user=alice
tsh db ls

Name Description Labels

------------- --------------- --------

example-mongo Example MongoDB env=dev

To retrieve credentials for a database and connect to it:

tsh db connect --db-user=alice --db-name dev example-mongo
Supported MongoDB clients

Either the mongosh or mongo command-line clients should be available in PATH in order to be able to connect. The Database Service attempts to run mongosh first and, if mongosh is not in PATH, runs mongo.

Teleport 9.0 added support for mongosh and made it the default Mongo DB client.

To log out of the database and remove credentials:

Remove credentials for a particular database instance.

tsh db logout example-mongo

Remove credentials for all database instances.

tsh db logout

Next steps

  • Take a look at the YAML configuration reference.