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Teleport

Multi-region Blueprint

Introduction

This page describes how to deploy a Teleport cluster in multiple regions to improve resiliency and sustain regional failure. This is not a step-by-step guide but a blueprint on how to build a multi-region Teleport cluster. This blueprint must be adapted to work with your specific infrastructure and network constraints.

Important technical consideration

Before continuing, you must acknowledge the following warnings:

  • This setup is not required for most Teleport users and customers. Single-region multi-zone deployments provide the best availability/cost ratio. For example, Amazon SLAs are 99.99% for both DynamoDB and EC2.
  • This blueprint relies on many complex components. If you don't have the team capacity and expertise to deploy and operate such components, you will end up with a lower availability than a single-region multi-zone setup.
  • You are responsible for deploying and maintaining the Teleport dependencies including the database, object storage, container runtime, network plugins and anything else which is required.
Tip

For teams with limited bandwidth who need multi-region clusters, Teleport offers to host cross-region clusters. You can benefit from the setup described in this document without the operational costs and complexity, see the Teleport Enterprise Cloud page for more details.

Architecture overview

A multi-region Teleport deployment is composed of several regional Teleport deployments. Teleport stores its state in a multi-region backend and uses Proxy Peering to connect users to resources hosted in a different region.

The recommended multi-region backend is the CockroachDB backend available in Teleport Enterprise.

To run a multi-region Teleport deployment, you must have:

  • 3 regions. Teleport only needs 2, but CockroachDB needs 3 for its quorum mechanism.
  • Teleport Proxy Service instances able to dial each other by IP address. This means you have cross-region Pod/Instance connectivity. This is typically achieved with VPC peering and/or service mesh.
  • A multi-region object storage for session recordings.
  • GeoDNS to route users and Teleport agents to the closest Teleport cluster.
  • A multi-region CockroachDB cluster. You can use the CockroachDB core for testing purposes, but only CockroachDB Enterprise is recommended for production because of its multi-region features.

Implementing multi-region Teleport on Kubernetes

Teams with Kubernetes infrastructure will want to host Teleport in Kubernetes. This section describes this setup in more detail.

Teleport Dependencies

  • Create 3 peered regional VPCs (e.g., on AWS) or 1 global VPC (e.g., on GKE).
  • Create 1 Kubernetes cluster in each region, Pod CIDRs must not overlap.
  • Ensure pod mesh connectivity. Proxy pods must be able to dial each other on port 3021. The setup will vary based on your network and CNI plugin configuration:
    • If pods are using the native network layer (for example GKE, or AWS' vpc-cni addon) you can rely on pure VPC peering, routing, and firewall capabilities to connect pods from each Kubernetes cluster.
    • If pods are given non-native IP addresses, you can use the Cilium cluster-mesh capabilities to connect your pods. They provide a step-by-step guide on how to mesh clusters.
  • Set up a multi region object storage:
  • Setup a CockroachDB multi-region cluster

Teleport backend configuration

Create Teleport databases and user in CockroachDB:

CREATE DATABASE teleport_backend;
CREATE DATABASE teleport_audit;
CREATE USER teleport;
GRANT CREATE ON DATABASE teleport_backend TO teleport;
GRANT CREATE ON DATABASE teleport_audit TO teleport;
SET CLUSTER SETTING kv.rangefeed.enabled = true;

Then sign a certificate for the teleport user with the cockroach certs command.

You must end up with 3 files:

  • client.teleport.crt
  • client.teleport.key
  • ca.crt

For CockroachDB Enterprise you must declare both zones and regions to CockroachDB and configure regional fault tolerance on the database.

ALTER DATABASE teleport_backend SET PRIMARY REGION <region1>;
ALTER DATABASE teleport_backend ADD REGION IF NOT EXISTS <region2>;
ALTER DATABASE teleport_backend SET SECONDARY REGION <region2>;
ALTER DATABASE teleport_backend SURVIVE REGION FAILURE;

ALTER DATABASE teleport_audit SET PRIMARY REGION <region1>;
ALTER DATABASE teleport_audit ADD REGION IF NOT EXISTS <region2>;
ALTER DATABASE teleport_audit SET SECONDARY REGION <region2>;
ALTER DATABASE teleport_audit SURVIVE REGION FAILURE;
Impact of the CockroachDB regions

CockroachDB stores the Teleport data in two regions. If you only deploy two regional Teleport clusters, pick the same regions. If you deploy 3 Teleport clusters, the ones in the primary and secondary regions will experience lower database latency.

If the primary and secondary regions are far from each other (for example, on different continents) this will make CockroachDB write operations slower.

On CockroachDB core you must declare the physical regions as CockroachDB zones and configure zonal fault tolerance on the Teleport databases.

ALTER DATABASE teleport_backend SURVIVE ZONE FAILURE;
ALTER DATABASE teleport_audit SURVIVE ZONE FAILURE;
Note

CockroachDB core does not offer the regional features CockroachDB Enterprise does. The performance might be impacted. CockroachDB core is not recommended for production in multi-region setups.

Deploying Teleport

Once all Teleport dependencies are set up, you can deploy Teleport via the teleport-cluster Helm chart. You need to create one release per Kubernetes cluster. Here is an example of the values for one specific region:

chartMode: standalone
clusterName: teleport-multi-region.example.org
persistence:
  enabled: false
enterprise: true

auth:
  teleportConfig:
    # Configure CockroachDB
    teleport:
      storage:
        type: cockroachdb
        # regional CockroachDB URL, if you followed the Cockroach docs it looks like
        # cockroachdb-public.<region>.svc.cluster.local
        conn_string: postgres://teleport@cockroachdb-public.<region>.svc.cluster.local:26257/teleport_backend?sslmode=verify-full&pool_max_conns=20
        audit_events_uri:
          - "postgres://teleport@cockroachdb-public.<region>.svc.cluster.local:26257/teleport_audit?sslmode=verify-full"
        # replace this with the URI of your regional object storage (S3, GCS, MinIO)
        audit_sessions_uri: "uri://to-your-regional-bucket"
        ttl_job_cron: '*/20 * * * *'
    
    # Configure proxy peering
    auth_service:
      tunnel_strategy:
        type: proxy_peering
        agent_connection_count: 2

  # Mount the CockroachDB certs and have Teleport use them (via default env vars)
  extraVolumes:
    - name: db-certs
      secret:
        secretName: cockroach-certs
  extraVolumeMounts:
    - name: db-certs
      mountPath: /var/lib/db-certs
      readOnly: true
  extraEnv:
    - name: PGSSLROOTCERT
      value: /var/lib/db-certs/ca.crt
    - name: PGSSLCERT
      value: /var/lib/db-certs/client.teleport.crt
    - name: PGSSLKEY
      value: /var/lib/db-certs/client.teleport.key

# Pass the TLS certificate to be used by the proxy
# This can be omitted if you use cert-manager and set `highAvailability.certManager`
tls:
  existingSecretName: proxy-cert

highAvailability:
  replicaCount: 2

GeoDNS Setup

Finalize the deployment by setting up GeoDNS to route the users to the closest Teleport deployment. The setup will differ from one DNS provider to another. Use short TTLs to ensure you can steer traffic off a region if needed.

When possible, configure healthchecks on /v1/webapi/ping so a broken/faulty Teleport region is automatically removed from the DNS records and users are routed to the closest working Teleport deployment.

Update strategy

Updating Teleport on multi-region setups poses several challenges. Strictly following Teleport compatibility guarantees requires downscaling to a single auth before updating. In a multi-region setup, this requires:

  • relying on a single region for auth during the update
  • suspending two regions, or allowing proxies to connect to auths from a different region (this is not the case by default and requires a Cilium cross-cluster service and a custom join token for the Proxy Service).
Note

It's possible to do Auth rolling updates. In such case, multiple auth versions might be running concurrently. Newly introduced resource fields might not be properly set until all auths are rolled out.

This consistency/usability tradeoff can be acceptable if the rollout period is short and the version difference is minimal.

CockroachDB sizing

A 3x3 CockroachDB cluster (1 node per zone, 3 zones per region, 3 regions) whose nodes have 2 CPUs and 8GiB of memory can sustain a Teleport cluster with 10,000 SSH nodes.

The CockroachDB performance depends on the storage type. Make sure to store CockroachDB's state on SSDs. When running on Kubernetes, the default storage class might not be the one offering the best latency and throughput.

See the Teleport scaling page for more details on how to size Teleport.

Teleport load varies depending on the usage type (number of connected nodes, number of protected resources, number of roles, concurrent connections, and user activity), so you will need to test and adapt the sizing based on your specific needs.

Important

When running on Kubernetes, unless you are using the static CPU policy we don't recommend setting CPU limits on either Teleport or CockroachDB pods.

Due to the way CPU throttling is implemented, multi-threaded I/O-intensive applications such as Teleport and CockroachDB will degrade as soon as they reach the CPU limit. This will lead to a service disruption and very likely to a complete outage.

As a rule of thumb, most critical pods' resources section should look like this:

resources:
  requests:
    # cpu and memory requests set
    cpu: "2"
    memory: "8Gi"
  limits:
    # memory limit is set to the same value as memory request
    memory: "8Gi"
    # no cpu limit is set

Setting up multi-region AWS S3 replication

This section explains how to create a multi-region object storage with multiple regional S3 buckets and replication rules.

  1. Create 3 buckets, one in each region, with versioning enabled
  2. Create a multi-region access point containing the 3 buckets
  3. After its creation, in the "Replication and Failover" tab, choose "Create Replication Rule" and the template "Replicate objects among all specified buckets."

Alternatively, you can create individual replication rule with tools like Terraform. With 3 buckets bucketA, bucketB, bucketC you need 6 rules:

  • from bucketA to bucketB
  • from bucketA to bucketC
  • from bucketB to bucketA
  • from bucketB to bucketC
  • from bucketC to bucketA
  • from bucketC to bucketB
Note

If you want Teleport to automatically clean up session recordings, you must enable "Delete marker replication" in the replication rules.