No More Backdoors: Know Who Has Access to What, Right Now
Jun 13
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Dynamic Kubernetes Cluster Registration

With dynamic Kubernetes cluster registration, you can manage the Kubernetes clusters connected to your Teleport cluster without needing to modify the configuration file of an individual Kubernetes Service instance.

Dynamic Kubernetes cluster registration is useful when you have deployed multiple Kubernetes Service instances or need to regularly reconfigure access to Kubernetes clusters in your infrastructure.

In this guide, we will show you how to set up dynamic Kubernetes cluster registration, then create, list, update, and delete Kubernetes clusters via tctl.

Prerequisites

  • A running Teleport cluster version 15.3.7 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.

    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.

  • A Linux host where you will install the Teleport Kubernetes Service.

    Our teleport-kube-agent Helm chart does not support dynamic Kubernetes cluster registration.

  • A Kubernetes cluster to join to your Teleport cluster. You must have permissions to create namespaces, secrets, service accounts, cluster roles, and cluster role bindings in the cluster.

  • 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 15.3.7

    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.

Step 1/3. Set up the Teleport Kubernetes Service

The Teleport Kubernetes Service proxies traffic from Teleport users to a Kubernetes API server so you can take advantage of passwordless authentication, role-based access controls, audit logging, and other Teleport features in order to manage access to Kubernetes.

In this step, you will install the Teleport Kubernetes Service on a Linux host and configure it to access any Kubernetes cluster you register with your Teleport cluster.

Get a join token

Establish trust between your Teleport cluster and your new Kubernetes Service instance by creating a join token:

tctl tokens add --type=kube --ttl=1h --format=text
abcd123-insecure-do-not-use-this

Copy the token and keep it somewhere safe so you can use it when running the Teleport Kubernetes Service.

Install the Teleport Kubernetes Service

Install the Teleport Kubernetes Service on your Linux host:

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.

Configure the Teleport Kubernetes Service

On the host where you will run the Teleport Kubernetes Service, run the following command to create a base configuration for your Teleport instance, assigning PROXY_SERVICE to the host and port of your Teleport Proxy Service or Teleport Cloud tenant and TOKEN to the join token we created earlier:

e.g., teleport.example.com:443

PROXY_SERVICE=proxy-addr

e.g., abcd123-insecure-do-not-use-this;

TOKEN=join-token;
sudo teleport configure \--proxy=${PROXY_SERVICE?} \--roles=kube \--token=${TOKEN?} \-o file

Edit your configuration file at /etc/teleport.yaml to include the following:

kubernetes_service:
  enabled: "yes"
  resources:
  - labels:
      "*": "*"

This configuration enables your Kubernetes Service instance to connect to any Kubernetes clusters you register with your Teleport cluster. This is because the resources[0].labels field includes the wildcard pattern ("*": "*"), which allows this Kubernetes Service instance to connect to Kubernetes cluster resources with any label key or value.

You can configure a Kubernetes Service instance to watch for a subset of Kubernetes clusters by including specific label keys and values instead of wildcard characters:

resources:
- labels:
    "env": "prod"
    "region": "us-east-2"
- labels:
    "env": "test"
    "region": "us-west-1"

For the Kubernetes Service to register a cluster, any of the items in resources must match the cluster's labels. For an item in resources to match, all of the labels entries within that item must match the cluster's labels.

For example, a cluster with the labels env:prod and region:us-west-1 would not match the configuration above, since it only matches the env:prod label in the first resources item and the region:us-west-1 label in the second resources item.

However, a cluster with env:test and region:us-west-1 would match, since it matches both labels given in the second resources item.

When you create dynamic Kubernetes cluster resources later in this guide, you can assign them labels to ensure that only specific Kubernetes Service instances will watch for them.

Run the Teleport Kubernetes Service

Configure the Teleport Kubernetes 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 Kubernetes Service.

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

sudo systemctl enable teleport
sudo systemctl start teleport

On the host where you will run the Teleport Kubernetes 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 Kubernetes Service with systemctl status teleport and view its logs with journalctl -fu teleport.

Step 2/3. Authorize your user

To enable dynamic Kubernetes cluster registration in Teleport, you will need to authorize your user to access the Kubernetes clusters you want to register with Teleport. We will configure this access in this step, both in Teleport and on your Kubernetes cluster.

Allow access to your Kubernetes cluster

Ensure that you are in the correct Kubernetes context for the cluster you would like to enable access to.

Retrieve all available contexts:

kubectl config get-contexts

Switch to your context, replacing CONTEXT_NAME with the name of your chosen context:

kubectl config use-context CONTEXT_NAME
Switched to context CONTEXT_NAME

To authenticate to a Kubernetes cluster via Teleport, your Teleport user's roles must allow access as at least one Kubernetes user or group.

  1. Retrieve a list of your current user's Teleport roles. The example below requires the jq utility for parsing JSON:

    CURRENT_ROLES=$(tsh status -f json | jq -r '.active.roles | join ("\n")')
  2. Retrieve the Kubernetes groups your roles allow you to access:

    echo "$CURRENT_ROLES" | xargs -I{} tctl get roles/{} --format json | \ jq '.[0].spec.allow.kubernetes_groups[]?'
  3. Retrieve the Kubernetes users your roles allow you to access:

    echo "$CURRENT_ROLES" | xargs -I{} tctl get roles/{} --format json | \ jq '.[0].spec.allow.kubernetes_users[]?'
  4. If the output of one of the previous two commands is non-empty, your user can access at least one Kubernetes user or group, so you can proceed to the next step.

  5. If both lists are empty, create a Teleport role for the purpose of this guide that can view Kubernetes resources in your cluster.

    Create a file called kube-access.yaml with the following content:

    kind: role
    metadata:
      name: kube-access
    version: v7
    spec:
      allow:
        kubernetes_labels:
          '*': '*'
        kubernetes_resources:
          - kind: '*'
            namespace: '*'
            name: '*'
            verbs: ['*']
        kubernetes_groups:
        - viewers
      deny: {}
    
  6. Apply your changes:

    tctl create -f kube-access.yaml
  7. Assign the kube-access role to your Teleport user by running the appropriate commands for your authentication provider:

    1. Retrieve your local user's roles as a comma-separated list:

      ROLES=$(tsh status -f json | jq -r '.active.roles | join(",")')
    2. Edit your local user to add the new role:

      tctl users update $(tsh status -f json | jq -r '.active.username') \ --set-roles "${ROLES?},kube-access"
    3. Sign out of the Teleport cluster and sign in again to assume the new role.

    1. Retrieve your github authentication connector:

      tctl get github/github --with-secrets > github.yaml

      Note that the --with-secrets flag adds the value of spec.signing_key_pair.private_key to the github.yaml file. Because this key contains a sensitive value, you should remove the github.yaml file immediately after updating the resource.

    2. Edit github.yaml, adding kube-access to the teams_to_roles section.

      The team you should map to this role depends on how you have designed your organization's role-based access controls (RBAC). However, the team must include your user account and should be the smallest team possible within your organization.

      Here is an example:

        teams_to_roles:
          - organization: octocats
            team: admins
            roles:
              - access
      +       - kube-access
      
    3. Apply your changes:

      tctl create -f github.yaml
    4. Sign out of the Teleport cluster and sign in again to assume the new role.

    1. Retrieve your saml configuration resource:

      tctl get --with-secrets saml/mysaml > saml.yaml

      Note that the --with-secrets flag adds the value of spec.signing_key_pair.private_key to the saml.yaml file. Because this key contains a sensitive value, you should remove the saml.yaml file immediately after updating the resource.

    2. Edit saml.yaml, adding kube-access to the attributes_to_roles section.

      The attribute you should map to this role depends on how you have designed your organization's role-based access controls (RBAC). However, the group must include your user account and should be the smallest group possible within your organization.

      Here is an example:

        attributes_to_roles:
          - name: "groups"
            value: "my-group"
            roles:
              - access
      +       - kube-access
      
    3. Apply your changes:

      tctl create -f saml.yaml
    4. Sign out of the Teleport cluster and sign in again to assume the new role.

    1. Retrieve your oidc configuration resource:

      tctl get oidc/myoidc --with-secrets > oidc.yaml

      Note that the --with-secrets flag adds the value of spec.signing_key_pair.private_key to the oidc.yaml file. Because this key contains a sensitive value, you should remove the oidc.yaml file immediately after updating the resource.

    2. Edit oidc.yaml, adding kube-access to the claims_to_roles section.

      The claim you should map to this role depends on how you have designed your organization's role-based access controls (RBAC). However, the group must include your user account and should be the smallest group possible within your organization.

      Here is an example:

        claims_to_roles:
          - name: "groups"
            value: "my-group"
            roles:
              - access
      +       - kube-access
      
    3. Apply your changes:

      tctl create -f oidc.yaml
    4. Sign out of the Teleport cluster and sign in again to assume the new role.

  8. Configure the viewers group in your Kubernetes cluster to have the built-in view ClusterRole. When your Teleport user assumes the kube-access role and sends requests to the Kubernetes API server, the Teleport Kubernetes Service impersonates the viewers group and proxies the requests.

    Create a file called viewers-bind.yaml with the following contents, binding the built-in view ClusterRole with the viewers group you enabled your Teleport user to access:

    apiVersion: rbac.authorization.k8s.io/v1
    kind: ClusterRoleBinding
    metadata:
      name: viewers-crb
    subjects:
    - kind: Group
      # Bind the group "viewers", corresponding to the kubernetes_groups we assigned our "kube-access" role above
      name: viewers
      apiGroup: rbac.authorization.k8s.io
    roleRef:
      kind: ClusterRole
      # "view" is a default ClusterRole that grants read-only access to resources
      # See: https://kubernetes.io/docs/reference/access-authn-authz/rbac/#user-facing-roles
      name: view
      apiGroup: rbac.authorization.k8s.io
    
  9. Apply the ClusterRoleBinding with kubectl:

    kubectl apply -f viewers-bind.yaml

Authorize your user to manage Kubernetes clusters

Teleport tracks Kubernetes clusters in your infrastructure via dynamic kube_cluster resources. To manage access to Kubernetes clusters with Teleport, your user will need permissions to manage these resources.

In the previous section, you authorized your user to access all Kubernetes clusters registered in your Teleport cluster. Now that you can access these clusters, create a role that enables you to manage them.

Create a role definition called kube-manager.yaml with the following content:

kind: role
metadata:
  name: kube-manager
spec:
  allow:
    rules:
    - resources:
      - kube_cluster
      verbs:
      - list
      - create
      - read
      - update
      - delete
version: v5

Create the role:

tctl create -f kube-manager.yaml

Assign the kube-manager role to your Teleport user by running the appropriate commands for your authentication provider:

  1. Retrieve your local user's roles as a comma-separated list:

    ROLES=$(tsh status -f json | jq -r '.active.roles | join(",")')
  2. Edit your local user to add the new role:

    tctl users update $(tsh status -f json | jq -r '.active.username') \ --set-roles "${ROLES?},kube-manager"
  3. Sign out of the Teleport cluster and sign in again to assume the new role.

  1. Retrieve your github authentication connector:

    tctl get github/github --with-secrets > github.yaml

    Note that the --with-secrets flag adds the value of spec.signing_key_pair.private_key to the github.yaml file. Because this key contains a sensitive value, you should remove the github.yaml file immediately after updating the resource.

  2. Edit github.yaml, adding kube-manager to the teams_to_roles section.

    The team you should map to this role depends on how you have designed your organization's role-based access controls (RBAC). However, the team must include your user account and should be the smallest team possible within your organization.

    Here is an example:

      teams_to_roles:
        - organization: octocats
          team: admins
          roles:
            - access
    +       - kube-manager
    
  3. Apply your changes:

    tctl create -f github.yaml
  4. Sign out of the Teleport cluster and sign in again to assume the new role.

  1. Retrieve your saml configuration resource:

    tctl get --with-secrets saml/mysaml > saml.yaml

    Note that the --with-secrets flag adds the value of spec.signing_key_pair.private_key to the saml.yaml file. Because this key contains a sensitive value, you should remove the saml.yaml file immediately after updating the resource.

  2. Edit saml.yaml, adding kube-manager to the attributes_to_roles section.

    The attribute you should map to this role depends on how you have designed your organization's role-based access controls (RBAC). However, the group must include your user account and should be the smallest group possible within your organization.

    Here is an example:

      attributes_to_roles:
        - name: "groups"
          value: "my-group"
          roles:
            - access
    +       - kube-manager
    
  3. Apply your changes:

    tctl create -f saml.yaml
  4. Sign out of the Teleport cluster and sign in again to assume the new role.

  1. Retrieve your oidc configuration resource:

    tctl get oidc/myoidc --with-secrets > oidc.yaml

    Note that the --with-secrets flag adds the value of spec.signing_key_pair.private_key to the oidc.yaml file. Because this key contains a sensitive value, you should remove the oidc.yaml file immediately after updating the resource.

  2. Edit oidc.yaml, adding kube-manager to the claims_to_roles section.

    The claim you should map to this role depends on how you have designed your organization's role-based access controls (RBAC). However, the group must include your user account and should be the smallest group possible within your organization.

    Here is an example:

      claims_to_roles:
        - name: "groups"
          value: "my-group"
          roles:
            - access
    +       - kube-manager
    
  3. Apply your changes:

    tctl create -f oidc.yaml
  4. Sign out of the Teleport cluster and sign in again to assume the new role.

Step 3/3. Manage dynamic Kubernetes cluster resources

Now that your Teleport user has permissions to manage Kubernetes cluster resources, we will show you how to create, list, update, and delete them.

Create a kubeconfig

In this section, you will create a Kubernetes Config resource, or kubeconfig, that your Teleport cluster will use to authenticate to your Kubernetes cluster.

When you signed into Teleport earlier in this guide, tsh may have changed your Kubernetes context to one based on your Teleport cluster, so make sure you update your Kubernetes context to match the cluster you would like to connect to Teleport:

kubectl config get-contexts

Assign CONTEXT_NAME to your chosen context

kubectl config use-context CONTEXT_NAME

On your workstation, download Teleport's get-kubeconfig.sh script, which you will use to generate the kubeconfig:

curl -OL \https://raw.githubusercontent.com/gravitational/teleport/v15.3.7/examples/k8s-auth/get-kubeconfig.sh

The script creates a service account for the Teleport Kubernetes Service that can get Kubernetes pods as well as impersonate users, groups, and other service accounts. The Teleport Kubernetes Service uses this service account to manage access to resources in your Kubernetes cluster. The script also ensures that there is a Kubernetes Secret in your cluster to store service account credentials.

get-kubeconfig.sh creates a namespace called teleport for the resources it deploys, though you can choose a different name by assigning the TELEPORT_NAMESPACE environment variable in the shell where you run the script.

After creating resources, get-kubeconfig.sh writes a new kubeconfig to a file called kubeconfig in the directory where you run the script.

Run the get-kubeconfig.sh script:

bash get-kubeconfig.sh

The script is successful if you see this message:

Done!

Ignore the script's instructions to copy the generated kubeconfig file to the Teleport Proxy Service. In the next section, we will show you how to use the kubeconfig file when creating a dynamic kube_cluster resource.

Create a Kubernetes cluster resource

Define a kube_cluster resource with the following content in a file called kube_cluster.yaml:

kind: kube_cluster
version: v3
metadata:
  name: mycluster
spec:
  kubeconfig: |

The spec.kubeconfig field in the snippet above begins a multi-line string. Below, you will include the contents of the kubeconfig file as its value.

Since spec.kubeconfig must be a base64-encoded string, convert the kubeconfig file to base64, then indent it and add it to the kube_cluster.yaml resource definition using the following command:

printf " %s" $(cat kubeconfig | base64) >> kube_cluster.yaml

You can add labels to the kube_cluster resource, allowing you to manage access to specific clusters from your Teleport roles or Kubernetes Service instances.

Labels can either be static or dynamic. Static labels are key/value pairs. This example defines the env=prod and team=dev labels:

kind: kube_cluster
version: v3
metadata:
  name: mycluster
  labels:
    env: prod
    team: dev
spec:
  kubeconfig: KUBECONFIG

You can also add dynamic labels, which define shell commands that a Kubernetes Service instance will execute in order to generate labels. To do so, edit the spec.dynamic_labels field of a kube_cluster resource.

This example runs the python3 get_region.py command to fetch the region in which the Kubernetes Service is deployed and assign the result to the region key:

kind: kube_cluster
version: v3
metadata:
  name: mycluster
spec:
  kubeconfig: KUBECONFIG
  dynamic_labels:
    region:
      period: "24h"
      command: ["python3", "get_region.py"]

When defining a dynamic label, the key within the spec.dynamic_labels field behaves the same as keys within the metadata.labels field, indicating the key of the label.

The Kubernetes Service obtains a value for that key by running the command given in command every period. command is an array of strings, where the first element indicates the command to execute and each subsequent element indicates an argument.

period is a Go duration string, which includes a number and a unit of time. Supported units are ns, us (or µs), ms, s, m, and h. The example above configures the Kubernetes Service to run the command every day.

To create the kube_cluster resource, run the following command:

tctl create kube_cluster.yaml
kubernetes cluster "mycluster" has been created

Access your new Kubernetes cluster

Instances of the Teleport Kubernetes Service watch for newly created or updated kube_cluster resources. When you create the kube_cluster resource, any Kubernetes Service instances you have configured to track that cluster's labels will register that cluster and enable access to it via Teleport.

As a result, you should now see the cluster you registered above when you run tsh kube ls:

tsh kube ls
Kube Cluster Name Labels Selected ----------------- --------------------------- -------- mycluster teleport.dev/origin=dynamic

The teleport.dev/origin=dynamic label indicates that the cluster was registered dynamically.

You can also log in to the cluster you just registered:

tsh kube login mycluster
Logged into kubernetes cluster "mycluster". Try 'kubectl version' to test theconnection.

List Kubernetes cluster resources

You can list kube_cluster resources with the following command:

tctl get kube_clusters

Update a Kubernetes cluster resource

To update the kube_cluster resource you created earlier, execute the following command to retrieve the resource as it exists on the Auth Service's backend:

tctl get kube_clusters/mycluster > kube_cluster.yaml

Edit the kube_cluster.yaml file to add a label to your kube_cluster:

  kind: kube_cluster
  metadata:
    id: 9999999999999999999
    labels:
      teleport.dev/origin: dynamic
+     env: test
    name: mycluster
  spec:
    aws: {}
    azure: {}
    kubeconfig: KUBECONFIG
  version: v3

Update the resource:

tctl create -f kube_cluster.yaml
kubernetes cluster "mycluster" has been updated

You should now see the updated labels:

tsh kube ls
Kube Cluster Name Labels Selected ----------------- ------------------------------------ -------- mycluster env=test teleport.dev/origin=dynamic *

If the updated kube_cluster resource's labels no longer match the ones a Teleport Kubernetes Service instance is configured to watch, the instance will unregister and stop proxying the Kubernetes cluster.

Delete Kubernetes cluster resources

To delete the kube_cluster resource you created earlier, run the following command:

tctl rm kube_clusters/mycluster
kubernetes cluster "mycluster" has been deleted

This will unregister the Kubernetes cluster from Teleport:

tsh kube ls
Kube Cluster Name Labels Selected----------------- ------ --------

Next steps

In this guide, we showed you how to manage kube_cluster resources using tctl. If you are interested in other ways you can manage access to Kubernetes clusters via Teleport, check out the following guides: