Teleport 16: Advancing Infrastructure Defense in Depth with Device Trust, MFA, and VNET
Jul 25
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Deploying Machine ID on GitLab CI

In this guide, you will use Teleport Machine ID to allow a GitLab pipeline to securely connect to a Teleport SSH node without the need for long-lived secrets.

Machine ID for GitLab works with GitLab's cloud-hosted option and with self-hosted GitLab installations. The minimum supported GitLab version is 15.7.

This mitigates the risk of long-lived secrets such as passwords or SSH private keys being exfiltrated from your GitLab organization and provides many of the other benefits of Teleport such as auditing and finely-grained access control.


Machine ID for GitLab is available starting from Teleport v12.2.

  • A running Teleport cluster version 16.1.0 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.

  • 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 --user=[email protected]
    tctl status


    Version 16.1.0

    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 GitLab project to connect to Teleport. This can either be on GitLab's cloud-hosted offering ( or on a self-hosted GitLab instance. When using a self-hosted GitLab instance, your Teleport Auth Server must be able to connect to your GitLab instance and your GitLab instance must be configured with a valid TLS certificate.

Step 1/4. Create a Bot

Next, you need to create a Bot. A Bot is a Teleport identity for a machine or group of machines. Like users, bots have a set of roles and traits which define what they can access.

Create bot.yaml:

kind: bot
version: v1
  # name is a unique identifier for the Bot in the cluster.
  name: example
  # roles is a list of roles to grant to the Bot. Don't worry if you don't know
  # what roles you need to specify here, the Access Guides will walk you through
  # creating and assigning roles to the already created Bot.
  roles: []

Make sure you replace example with a unique, descriptive name for your Bot.

Use tctl to apply this file:

tctl create bot.yaml

Step 2/4. Create a join token

To allow GitLab CI to authenticate to your Teleport cluster, you'll first need to create a join token. A GitLab join token contains allow rules that describe which pipelines can use that token in order to join the Teleport cluster. A rule can contain multiple fields, and any pipeline that matches all the fields within a single rule is granted access.

In this example, you will create a token with a rule that grants access to any GitLab CI job within a specific GitLab project. Determine the fully qualified path of your GitLab project. This will include your username (or group) and the name of your project, e.g my-user/my-project.

Create a file named bot-token.yaml. Ensure you substitute any values as suggested by the comments in this example:

kind: token
version: v2
  name: example-bot
  # The Bot role indicates that this token grants access to a bot user, rather
  # than allowing a node to join. This role is built in to Teleport.
  roles: [Bot]
  join_method: gitlab
  # The bot_name indicates which bot user this token grants access to. This
  # should match the name of the bot that you created in step 1.
  bot_name: example
    # domain should be the domain of your GitLab instance. If you are using
    # GitLab's cloud hosted offering, omit this field entirely.
    # allow specifies rules that control which GitLab tokens will be accepted
    # by Teleport. Tokens not matching any allow rule will be denied.
        # project_path should be the fully qualified path of your GitLab
        # project that you determined earlier. This will grant access to any
        # GitLab CI run in that project.
      - project_path: my-user/my-project

You can find a full list of the token configuration options for GitLab joining on the GitLab CI reference page.

Apply this to your Teleport cluster using tctl:

tctl create -f bot-token.yaml

Step 3/4. Configure a GitLab Pipeline

With the bot and join token created, you can now configure a GitLab pipeline that sets up tbot to use these.

To configure tbot, a YAML file will be used. In this example we'll store this within the repository itself, but this could be generated or created by the CI pipeline itself.

Create tbot.yaml within your repository:

version: v2
  join_method: gitlab
  token: example-bot
oneshot: true
  type: memory
# outputs will be filled in during the completion of an access guide.
outputs: []


  • with the address of your Teleport Proxy or Auth Server. Prefer using the address of a Teleport Proxy.
  • example-bot with the name of the token you created in the second step

Now, the GitLab CI pipeline can be defined. Before the pipeline can use tbot, it must be available within the environment. For this example, we'll show downloading tbot as part of the CI step, but in a production implementation you may wish to build a docker image that contains this binary to avoid depending on the Teleport CDN.

Create .gitlab-ci.yml within your repository:

  - deploy

  stage: deploy
  # id_tokens configures ID Tokens that GitLab will automatically inject into
  # the environment of your GitLab run.
  # See
  # for further explanation of the id_tokens configuration in GitLab.
      # aud for TBOT_GITLAB_JWT must be configured with the name of your
      # Teleport cluster. This is not necessarily the address of your Teleport
      # cluster and will not include a port or scheme (http/https)
      # This helps the Teleport Auth Server know that the token is intended for
      # it, and not a different service or Teleport cluster.
    - cd /tmp
    - 'curl -O'
    - tar -xvf teleport-v16.1.0-linux-amd64-bin.tar.gz
    - sudo ./teleport/install
    - 'TELEPORT_ANONYMOUS_TELEMETRY=1 tbot start -c tbot.yaml'

Replace with the name of your Teleport cluster. This is not necessarily the address of your Teleport cluster and will not include a port or scheme (e.g. http/https).

TELEPORT_ANONYMOUS_TELEMETRY enables the submission of anonymous usage telemetry. This helps us shape the future development of tbot. You can disable this by omitting this.

Commit and push these two files to the repository.

Check your GitLab CI status, and examine the log results from the commit for failure.

Step 4/4. Configure outputs

You have now prepared the base configuration for tbot. At this point, it identifies itself to the Teleport cluster and renews its own credentials but does not output any credentials for other applications to use.

Follow one of the access guides to configure an output that meets your access needs.

Further steps