Scaling Privileged Access for Modern Infrastructure: Real-World Insights
Apr 25
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Database Access with ClickHouse

The Teleport Clickhouse integration allows you to enroll ClickHouse databases with Teleport.

The Teleport Database Service authenticates to ClickHouse using x509 certificates, which are available for the ClickHouse HTTP and Native (TCP) interfaces. The Teleport Database Service can communicate in both the ClickHouse Native (TCP) and HTTP protocols, and you can select which protocol to use when configuring the Teleport Database Service.

Teleport audit logs for query activity are only supported for the ClickHouse HTTP interface. Teleport support for ClickHouse's native interfaces does not include audit logs for database query activity.

This guide will help you to:

  • Install and configure a Teleport database agent.
  • Set up Teleport to access your self-hosted ClickHouse database.
  • Connect to your database through Teleport.

Prerequisites

  • A running Teleport cluster. 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 version >= 15.2.2.

    On Teleport Enterprise, you must use the Enterprise version of tctl, which you can download from your Teleport account workspace. Otherwise, visit Installation for instructions on downloading tctl and tsh for Teleport Community Edition.

  • Either a Linux host or Kubernetes cluster where you will run the Teleport Database Service.

You will also need the following, depending on the ClickHouse protocol you choose:

  • A self-hosted deployment of ClickHouse Server v22.3 or later.
  • A self-hosted deployment of ClickHouse Server v23.3 or later.
  • The clickhouse-client installed and added to your user's PATH environment variable.

Step 1/5. Create a Teleport token and user

The Database Service requires a valid auth token to connect to the cluster. Generate one by running the following command against your Teleport Auth Service and save it in /tmp/token on the node that will run the Database Service:

tctl tokens add --type=db
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 and MongoDB databases.

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

Step 2/5. Create a certificate/key pair

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.

If you are using Teleport Cloud, your Teleport user must be allowed to impersonate the system role Db in order to be able to generate the database certificate.

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

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

Export Teleport's certificate authority and a generated certificate/key pair for host db.example.com with a 1-year validity period:

tctl auth sign --format=db --host=clickhouse.example.com --out=server --ttl=8766h
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.

This command will create three files:

  • server.cas: Teleport's certificate authority
  • server.key: a generated private key
  • server.crt: a generated host certificate

Step 3/5. Configure ClickHouse

Use the generated secrets to enable mutual TLS in your clickhouse-server/config.xml configuration file:

<openSSL>
    <server>
       <privateKeyFile>/path/to/server.key</privateKeyFile>
       <caConfig>/path/to/server.cas</caConfig>
       <certificateFile>/path/to/server.crt</certificateFile>
       <verificationMode>strict</verificationMode>
    </server>
</openSSL>

Additionally, your ClickHouse database user accounts must be configured to require a valid client certificate:

CREATE USER alice IDENTIFIED WITH ssl_certificate CN 'alice';

By default, the created user may not have access to anything and won't be able to connect, so let's grant it some permissions:

GRANT ALL ON *.* TO alice;

Step 4/5. Configure and start the Database Service

Install and configure Teleport on the host or Kubernetes cluster 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.

Note

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.

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

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

teleport db configure create \ -o file \ --token=/tmp/token \ --proxy=teleport.example.com:443 \ --name=example-clickhouse \ --protocol=clickhouse-http \ --uri=clickhouse.example.com:8443 \ --labels=env=dev
teleport db configure create \ -o file \ --token=/tmp/token \ --proxy=teleport.example.com:443 \ --name=example-clickhouse \ --protocol=clickhouse \ --uri=clickhouse.example.com:9440 \ --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-clickhouse" \ --set "databases[0].uri=clickhouse.example.com:8443" \ --set "databases[0].protocol=clickhouse-http" \ --set "labels.env=dev" \ --version 15.2.2
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-clickhouse" \ --set "databases[0].uri=clickhouse.example.com:9440" \ --set "databases[0].protocol=clickhouse" \ --set "labels.env=dev" \ --version 15.2.2
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.

Step 5/5. Connect

Once the Database Service has joined the cluster, log in to see the available databases:

Log in to Teleport and list the databases you can connect to. You should see the ClickHouse database you enrolled earlier:

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

Name Description Allowed Users Labels Connect

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

example-clickhouse-http [*] env=dev

Create an authenticated proxy tunnel so you can connect to ClickHouse via a GUI database client, or send a request via curl:

tsh proxy db --db-user=alice --tunnel example-clickhouse-http

Started authenticated tunnel for the Clickhouse (HTTP) database "clickhouse-http" in cluster "teleport.example.com" on 127.0.0.1:59215.

To avoid port randomization, you can choose the listening port using the --port flag.

Use the following command to connect to the database or to the address above using other database GUI/CLI clients:

$ curl http://localhost:59215/

To test the connection you can run the following command:

echo 'select currentUser();' | curl http://localhost:59215/ --data-binary @-

alice

To log out of the database and remove credentials:

Remove credentials for a particular database instance.

tsh db logout example-clickhouse-http

Remove credentials for all database instances.

tsh db logout

Log in to Teleport and list the databases you can connect to. You should see the ClickHouse database you enrolled earlier:

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

Name Description Allowed Users Labels Connect

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

example-clickhouse [*] env=dev

Connect to the database:

tsh db connect --db-user=alice example-clickhouse

ClickHouse client version 22.7.2.1.

Connecting to localhost:59502 as user default.

Connected to ClickHouse server version 23.4.2 revision 54462.

350ddafd1941 :) select 1;

SELECT 1

Query id: 327cfd34-2fec-4e04-a185-79fc840aa5cf

┌─1─┐

│ 1 │

└───┘

↓ Progress: 1.00 rows, 1.00 B (208.59 rows/s., 208.59 B/s.) (0.0 CPU, 9.19 KB RAM)

1 row in set. Elapsed: 0.005 sec.

350ddafd1941 :)

To log out of the database and remove credentials:

Remove credentials for a particular database instance.

tsh db logout example-clickhouse

Remove credentials for all database instances.

tsh db logout

Next steps

  • Take a look at the YAML configuration reference.