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Teleport

Configure Trusted Clusters

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As you learned in Core Concepts, a Teleport cluster consists of the Teleport Auth Service, the Teleport Proxy Service, and the Teleport services that manage access to resources in your infrastructure. With Teleport, you can also partition your infrastructure into multiple connected clusters to allow the users of one cluster—the root cluster—to connect to resources in another cluster—the leaf cluster—while authenticated using a single Teleport Auth Service.

After you establish a trust relationship between the root and leaf clusters, the leaf cluster can run behind a firewall without any inbound ports open. The leaf cluster creates an outbound reverse SSH tunnel to the root cluster and keeps the tunnel open. When a user tries to connect to any resource in the leaf cluster, the Teleport Auth Service on the leaf cluster connects to the root cluster through the reverse tunnel using the Teleport Proxy Service instance running on the root cluster.

Who uses trusted clusters?

Most organizations don't need to configure trusted clusters. In most cases, you can add multiple Teleport Proxy Service instances to enroll and manage thousands of resources without creating a new cluster.

However, there are a few specific scenarios where trusted clusters can be particularly useful. For example, if you have a large and widely-distributed infrastructure or must provide access to resources for external agencies, contractors, or clients, you might benefit from setting up a trusted cluster. The most common use cases for trusted clusters include:

  • Managed service providers (MSP) remotely managing the infrastructure of their clients.
  • Device manufacturers remotely maintaining computing appliances deployed on premises.
  • Large cloud software vendors managing multiple data centers using a common proxy.

How it works

In the following example, a managed service provider uses three independent clusters to provide access to clients in different regions:

  • Cluster msp-root.example.com is the root cluster. This cluster might have its own resources or be strictly used for collecting audit logs and authenticating users.
  • Clusters leaf-east.example.com and leaf-west.example.com are two independent leaf clusters to service clients in different regions.
  • Each cluster is an independent x.509 and SSH certificate authority and can operate autonomously.
  • Each leaf cluster dials back to the root cluster to establish a reverse tunnel. If you have multiple Proxy Service instances, you have multiple tunnels for high availability.

The following diagram provides a simplified view of the architecture:

Trusted cluster

As this diagram suggests, users can sign in to the root cluster to receive certificates signed by the root cluster certificate authority. They can then connect to leaf clusters either directly or through the root cluster acting as a bastion host. After users sign in, they can be recognized and trusted on the leaf clusters based on information in their certificate and on how their roles in the root cluster are mapped to roles on the leaf cluster.

The Teleport Auth Service on the leaf cluster determines the resources a user has permissions to access by checking the certificate for the following information:

  • The list of principals that the user is authorized to use. Principals are equivalent to the local logins that have been added to a Teleport user profile.
  • The signature of the certificate authority that issued the certificate. In a trusted cluster environment, the Teleport Auth Service on the root cluster signs the certificate.
  • The metadata certificate extensions that are provided by the Teleport Auth Service. Teleport uses the metadata to store the list of user roles and SSH options like permit-agent-forwarding.
  • The expiration date, or time-to-live (TTL) to ensure the certificate is still valid.

Based on the information in the certificate, the Teleport Auth Service performs the following actions:

  • Verifies that the certificate signature matches one of its trusted root clusters.
  • Applies role mapping to associate a role on the leaf cluster with one of the roles assigned to the user in the root cluster.
  • Checks if the local role allows the requested identity—the Unix login—to have access.
  • Verifies that the certificate has not expired. The TTL is set by the root cluster.

The following diagram provides a simplified view of the interaction between the services running on the leaf cluster and service running on the root cluster:

Service interaction in a trusted cluster

Note that trusted clusters only work in one direction. Users from the leaf cluster can't see or connect to resources in the root cluster.

Role relationships in a trusted cluster

Leaf clusters are autonomous in that they have their own state, roles, and local users. This autonomy enables leaf cluster administrators to decide how to map the identity of the external users to their local cluster roles. The following diagram provides a simplified view of how role mapping works using the same trusted cluster with msp-root.example.com as the root cluster and leaf-east.example.com as the leaf cluster:

In this example, the user Alice signs in to the msp-root.example.com root cluster. The root cluster is configured with a single sign-on identity provider that authenticates her identity and her group membership. Based on the information from the identity provider, the root cluster assigns Alice the full-access role and issues her a certificate. The mapping of single sign-on properties to Teleport roles is configured when you add an authentication connector to the Teleport cluster. To learn more about configuring single sign-on through an external identity provider, see Configure Single Sign-on.

Alice receives the certificate that specifies the roles assigned to her in the root cluster. This metadata about her roles is contained in the certificate extensions and is protected by the signature of the root cluster certificate authority so it can't be tampered with.

When Alice connects to a resource in the leaf cluster leaf-east.example.com, she's identified as an external user with a certificate signed by an external certificate authority. Based on the role mapping rules in the leaf cluster, Alice is assigned the stage-access role. This role allows her to access mongodb.stage.example.com but not mongodb.prod.example.com.

Role in the root clusterMapped role in the leaf cluster
full-accessstage-access

In this example, the leaf cluster leaf-east.example.com denies Alice access to the mongodb.prod.example.com resource because her full-access role in the root cluster is mapped to the stage-access role in this leaf cluster. With role mapping, leaf cluster administrators can control the privileges external users are granted. Although role mapping can be as simple as assigning users to the same roles in the root and leaf clusters, you can also use mapping to downgrade a user's privileges or restrict access to specific resources.

Now that you know what a trusted cluster is and how it works, you can use this guide to learn how to:

  • Identify root and leaf clusters.
  • Add trusted cluster resources.
  • Generate an invitation token to establish a trust relationship between a root and leaf cluster.
  • Establish permission mapping between clusters using Teleport roles.
  • Enable and disable trust between clusters.

Prerequisites

To complete the steps in this guide, verify your environment meets the following requirements:

  • Access to two Teleport cluster instances.

    The two clusters should be at the same version or, at most, the leaf cluster can be one major version behind the root cluster version.

  • The tctl admin tool and tsh client tool version >= 14.0.1.

    For Teleport Enterprise, Teleport Team, and Teleport Enterprise cloud, you should have the Enterprise version of tctl and tsh installed. You can verify the tools you have installed by running the following commands:

    tctl version

    Teleport Enterprise v14.0.1 go1.21


    tsh version

    Teleport v14.0.1 go1.21

    For more information about installing Teleport, see Installation.

  • A Teleport SSH server that is joined to the cluster you plan to use as the leaf cluster. For information about how to enroll a resource in your cluster, see Join Services to your Cluster.

When running Teleport in production, you should adhere to the following best practices to avoid security incidents:

  • Avoid using sudo in production environments unless it's necessary.
  • Create new, non-root, users and use test instances for experimenting with Teleport.
  • Run Teleport's services as a non-root user unless required. Only the SSH Service requires root access. Note that you will need root permissions (or the CAP_NET_BIND_SERVICE capability) to make Teleport listen on a port numbered < 1024 (e.g. 443).
  • Follow the principle of least privilege. Don't give users permissive roles when more a restrictive role will do. For example, don't assign users the built-in access,editor roles, which give them permissions to access and edit all cluster resources. Instead, define roles with the minimum required permissions for each user and configure access requests to provide temporary elevated permissions.
  • When you enroll Teleport resources—for example, new databases or applications—you should save the invitation token to a file. If you enter the token directly on the command line, a malicious user could view it by running the history command on a compromised system.

You should note that these practices aren't necessarily reflected in the examples used in documentation. Examples in the documentation are primarily intended for demonstration and for development environments.

Step 1/6. Prepare the leaf cluster environment

This guide demonstrates how to enable users of your root cluster to access a server in your leaf cluster with a specific user identity and role. For this example, the user identity you can use to access the server in the leaf cluster is visitor. Therefore, to prepare your environment, you first need to create the visitor user and a Teleport role that can assume this username when logging in to the server in the leaf cluster.

To add a user and role for accessing the trusted cluster:

  1. Open a terminal shell on the server running the Teleport agent in the leaf cluster.

  2. Add the local visitor user and create a home directory for the user by running the following command:

    sudo useradd --create-home visitor

    The home directory is required for the visitor user to access a shell on the server.

  3. Sign out of all user logins and clusters by running the following command:

    tsh logout
  4. Sign in to your leaf cluster from your administrative workstation using your Teleport username:

    tsh login --proxy=leafcluster.example.com --user=myuser

    Replace leafcluster.example.com with the Teleport leaf cluster domain and myuser with your Teleport username.

  5. Create a role definition file called visitor.yaml with the following content:

    kind: role
    version: v5
    metadata:
      name: visitor
    spec:
      allow:
        logins:
          - visitor
        node_labels:
          '*': '*'
    

    You must explicitly allow access to nodes with labels to SSH into the server running the Teleport agent. In this example, the visitor login is allowed access to any server.

  6. Create the visitor role by running the following command:

    tctl create visitor.yaml

    You now have a visitor role on your leaf cluster. The visitor role allows users with the visitor login to access nodes in the leaf cluster. In the next step, you must add the visitor login to your user so you can satisfy the conditions of the role and access the server in the leaf cluster.

Step 2/6. Prepare the root cluster environment

Before you can test access to the server in the leaf cluster, you must have a Teleport user that can assume the visitor login. Because authentication is handled by the root cluster, you need to add the visitor login to a user in the root cluster.

To add the login to your Teleport user:

  1. Sign out of all user logins and clusters by running the following command:

    tsh logout
  2. Sign in to your root cluster from your administrative workstation using your Teleport username:

    tsh login --proxy=rootcluster.example.com --user=myuser

    Replace rootcluster.example.com with the Teleport root cluster domain and myuser with your Teleport username.

  3. Create a file called user.yaml with your current user configuration by running a command similar to the following:

    tctl get user/myuser > user.yaml

    Replace myuser with your Teleport username.

  4. Open the user.yaml file in a text editor and add the visitor login:

       traits:
         logins:
    +    - visitor
         - ubuntu
         - root
    
  5. Apply your changes by running the following command:

    tctl create -f user.yaml

Step 3/6. Establish trust between clusters

Before users from the root cluster can access the server in the leaf cluster using the visitor role, you must define a trust relationship between the clusters. Teleport establishes trust between the root cluster and a leaf cluster using an invitation token.

To set up trust between clusters, you must first create the invitation token using the Teleport Auth Service in the root cluster. You can then use the Teleport Auth Service on the leaf cluster to create a trusted_cluster resource that includes the invitation token, proving to the root cluster that the leaf cluster is the one you expect to register.

To establish the trust relationship:

  1. Sign out of all user logins and clusters by running the following command:

    tsh logout
  2. Sign in to your root cluster from your administrative workstation using your Teleport username:

    tsh login --proxy=rootcluster.example.com --user=myuser

    Replace rootcluster.example.com with the Teleport root cluster domain and myuser with your Teleport username.

  3. Generate the invitation token by running the following command:

    tctl tokens add --type=trusted_cluster --ttl=5m
    The cluster invite token: abcd123-insecure-do-not-use-this

    This command generates a trusted cluster invitation token to allow an inbound connection from a leaf cluster. The token can be used multiple times. In this command example, the token has an expiration time of five minutes.

    Note that the invitation token is only used to establish a connection for the first time. Clusters exchange certificates and don't use tokens to re-establish their connection afterward.

    You can copy the token for later use. If you need to display the token again, run the following command against your root cluster:

    tctl tokens ls
    Token Type Labels Expiry Time (UTC)-------------------------------------------------------- --------------- -------- ---------------------------abcd123-insecure-do-not-use-this trusted_cluster 28 Apr 22 19:19 UTC (4m48s)
  4. Create a resource configuration file called trusted_cluster.yaml with the following content:

    kind: trusted_cluster
    version: v2
    metadata:
      name: rootcluster.example.com
    spec:
      enabled: true
      token: abcd123-insecure-do-not-use-this
      tunnel_addr: rootcluster.example.com:443
      web_proxy_addr: rootcluster.example.com:443
      role_map:
        - remote: "access"
          local: ["visitor"]
    

    In this file:

    • Set metadata.name to the name of your root cluster.
    • Set spec.token to the invitation token you generated previously.
    • Set spec.tunnel_addr to the reverse tunnel address of the Teleport Proxy Service in the root cluster.
    • Set spec.web_proxy_addr to the address of the Teleport Proxy Service on the root cluster.
    • Set spec.role_map to map Teleport roles from the root cluster to roles in the leaf cluster.

    Look up cluster addresses

    If you aren't sure of what values to use for cluster settings such as the tunnel_addr or web_proxy_addr, you can often look up the information using command-line tools that parse and extract machine-readable data from JSON files. One of the most common of these tools is jq. You can download jq for most operating systems from the jqlang website.

    To get cluster addresses using jq:

    1. Set the PROXY environment variable to retrieve information about your Teleport cluster by replacing teleport.example.com with your Teleport cluster domain:

      PROXY=teleport.example.com
    2. Extract the tunnel_addr for your cluster by running the following command:

      curl https://$PROXY/webapi/ping | jq 'if .proxy.tls_routing_enabled == true then .proxy.ssh.public_addr else .proxy.ssh.ssh_tunnel_public_addr end'
    3. Extract the web_proxy_addr for your cluster by running the following command:

      curl https://$PROXY/webapi/ping | jq .proxy.ssh.public_addr

    Map root cluster roles to leaf cluster roles

    You use the role_map setting in the trusted_cluster resource configuration to define how roles from the root cluster map to roles on the leaf cluster. In this example, users assigned the access role for the root cluster are granted the visitor role when they attempt to log in to a server in the leaf cluster. This role mapping enables you to restrict access to resources in the leaf cluster.

    If your Teleport user is assigned the access role on the root cluster, you can use this role mapping to test access to the server in the leaf cluster. If your Teleport user isn't assigned the access role, change access in the role_map to one of your user's roles.

    Role mapping can be quite powerful for managing access in trusted clusters. For more information about how to use role mapping to restrict access to leaf clusters and examples of the accepted syntax, see Role mapping syntax and expressions.

  5. Sign out of the root cluster by running the following command:

    tsh logout

Step 4/6. Create the trusted cluster resource

You're now ready to create the trusted cluster resource in the leaf cluster.

To create the trusted cluster resource:

  1. Sign in to your leaf cluster from your administrative workstation using your Teleport username:

    tsh login --proxy=leafcluster.example.com --user=myuser

    Replace leafcluster.example.com with the Teleport leaf cluster domain and myuser with your Teleport username.

  2. Create the trusted cluster resource from the resource configuration file by running the following command:

    tctl create trusted_cluster.yaml

    You can also configure leaf clusters directly in the Teleport Web UI. For example, you can select Management, then click Trusted Clusters to create a new trusted_cluster resource or manage an existing trusted cluster.

  3. Sign out of the leaf cluster and sign back in to the root cluster.

  4. Verify the trusted cluster configuration by running the following command:

    tsh clusters

    This command should list the root cluster and the leaf cluster with output similar to the following:

    Cluster Name                Status Cluster Type Labels Selected 
    --------------------------- ------ ------------ ------ -------- 
    rootcluster.example.com     online root                *        
    leafcluster.example.com     online leaf                         
    

Step 5/6. Manage access to the trusted cluster

When you created a trusted_cluster resource on the leaf cluster, the Teleport Auth Service on the leaf cluster sends a request to the Teleport Proxy Service on the root cluster to validate the trusted cluster. After validating the request, the root cluster creates a remote_cluster resource to represent the trusted leaf cluster.

You can add labels to the remote_cluster resource on the root cluster to manage access to the leaf cluster. You can't manage labels on the leaf clusters themselves. Leaf clusters propagating their own labels could create problems with rogue clusters updating their labels to unexpected values.

To manage access to the leaf cluster:

  1. Verify that you are signed in as a Teleport user on the root cluster by running the following command:

    tsh status
  2. Retrieve the remote_cluster resource by running the following command:

    tctl get rc

    This command displays output similar to the following:

    kind: remote_cluster
    metadata:
      id: 1651261581522597792
      name: leafcluster.example.com
    status:
      connection: online
      last_heartbeat: "2022-04-29T19:45:35.052864534Z"
    version: v3
    
  3. Add a label to the leaf cluster by running a command similar to the following:

    tctl update rc/leafcluster.example.com --set-labels=env=demo

    After you run this command, you must be given explicit permission to access clusters with the label you just set. If a trusted cluster has a label, the Teleport Auth Service won't return any information about the cluster unless you are assigned a role that allows access to clusters with the label that's been set.

  4. Create a role configuration file called demo-cluster-access.yaml that allows access to clusters with the env: demo label:

    kind: role
    metadata:
      name: demo-cluster-access
    spec:
      allow:
        cluster_labels:
          'env': 'demo'
    version: v5
    
  5. Create the role by running the following command:

    tctl create demo-cluster-access.yaml
  6. Assign the demo-cluster-access role to your Teleport user by running the appropriate commands for your authentication provider:

    1. Retrieve your local user's configuration resource:

      tctl get users/$(tsh status -f json | jq -r '.active.username') > out.yaml
    2. Edit out.yaml, adding demo-cluster-access to the list of existing roles:

        roles:
         - access
         - auditor
         - editor
      +  - demo-cluster-access 
      
    3. Apply your changes:

      tctl create -f out.yaml
    4. 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 demo-cluster-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
      +       - demo-cluster-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 demo-cluster-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
      +       - demo-cluster-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 demo-cluster-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
      +       - demo-cluster-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.

  7. Confirm that the leaf cluster has been updated with the label you set by running the following command:

    tctl get rc

    Because you now have a role with permission to access a cluster with the env: demo label, the command displays the updated resource information:

    kind: remote_cluster
    metadata:
      id: 1651262381521336026
      labels:
        env: demo
      name: leafcluster.example.com
    status:
      connection: online
      last_heartbeat: "2022-04-29T19:55:35.053054594Z"
    version: v3
    

Step 6/6. Access a server in the leaf cluster

With the trusted_cluster resource you created earlier, you can log in to the server in your leaf cluster as a user of your root cluster.

To test access to the server:

  1. Verify that you are signed in as a Teleport user on the root cluster by running the following command:

    tsh status
  2. Confirm that the server running the Teleport agent is joined to the leaf cluster by running a command similar to the following:

    tsh ls --cluster=leafcluster.example.com

    This command displays output similar to the following:

    Node Name       Address        Labels
    --------------- -------------- ------------------------------------
    ip-172-3-1-242  127.0.0.1:3022 hostname=ip-172-3-1-242                                                                    
    ip-172-3-2-205  ⟵ Tunnel      hostname=ip-172-3-2-205
    
  3. Open a secure shell connection using the visitor login:

    tsh ssh --cluster=leafcluster.example.com visitor@ip-172-3-2-205
  4. Confirm you are logged in with as the user visitor on the server in the leaf cluster by running the following commands:

    pwd
    /home/visitor
    uname -a
    Linux ip-172-3-2-205 5.15.0-1041-aws #46~20.04.1-Ubuntu SMP Wed Jul 19 15:39:29 UTC 2023 aarch64 aarch64 aarch64 GNU/Linux

Role mapping syntax and expressions

In this guide, you saw a simple example of role mapping. However, you can define more sophisticated role mapping for trusted clusters using wildcards, regular expressions, role template variables, shared user traits, and labels. The next sections provide additional details about role mapping in trusted clusters and provide examples for using more complex role mapping syntax.

Wildcard characters

In role mappings, the asterisk (*) is a wildcard character that you can use to match any number of characters in a string. For example, if you want to let any user from the root cluster connect to the leaf cluster, you can use a wildcard * in the role_map like this:

role_map:
  - remote: "*"
    local: [access]

The following example illustrates mapping any roles on the root cluster that begin with cluster- to the role clusteradmin on the leaf cluster:

role_map:
   - remote: 'cluster-*'
     local: [clusteradmin]

Regular expressions

You can also use regular expressions to map user roles from one cluster to another. The regular expression syntax enables you to use part of a remote role name that matches a regular expression in the corresponding local role. In the following example, remote users with a remote role called remote-one are mapped to a local role called local-one, remote-two becomes local-two, and so on:

  - remote: "^remote-(.*)$"
    local: [local-$1]

Regular expression matching is activated only when the expression starts with ^ and ends with $.

Regular expressions use Google's re2 syntax. For more information, see the re2 syntax guide.

Sharing user traits between trusted clusters

You can share user SSH logins, Kubernetes users and groups, and database users and names between trusted clusters. For example, assume you have a root cluster with a role named root and the following allow rules:

logins: ["root"]
kubernetes_groups: ["system:masters"]
kubernetes_users: ["alice"]
db_users: ["postgres"]
db_names: ["dev", "metrics"]

When setting up the trusted cluster relationship, the leaf cluster can choose to map this root cluster role to its own admin role:

role_map:
- remote: "root"
  local: ["admin"]

The role admin of the leaf cluster can now be set up to use the root cluster's role logins, Kubernetes groups, and other traits using the following variables:

logins: ["{{internal.logins}}"]
kubernetes_groups: ["{{internal.kubernetes_groups}}"]
kubernetes_users: ["{{internal.kubernetes_users}}"]
db_users: ["{{internal.db_users}}"]
db_names: ["{{internal.db_names}}"]

User traits that come from an identity provider—such as OIDC claims or SAML attributes—are also passed to the leaf clusters and can be used in role templates using the external variable prefix. For example:

logins: ["{{internal.logins}}", "{{external.logins_from_okta}}"]
node_labels:
  env: "{{external.env_from_okta}}"

Update role mappings

You can update role mappings for a trusted cluster resource by modifying the role_map field in the trusted_cluster.yaml resource configuration file. After you update the resource configuration file, you can update the trusted cluster by signing in to the leaf cluster and running the following command:

tctl create --force trusted_cluster.yaml

Role mapping and cluster-level labels

In this guide, you learned how you can combine role mapping and labels to manage access to leaf cluster resources. You should note that you can use a certificate issued for a root cluster to connect directly to a leaf cluster because the leaf cluster inherently trusts the root cluster. In most cases, the trust relationship between the root and leaf clusters provides the desired behavior.

However, this trust relationship can also be exploited if you use cluster labels to enforce authorization restrictions. Because the leaf cluster trusts the certificate authority of the root cluster, that certificate can be used to bypass any leaf-specific cluster_labels settings that might be intended to restrict access to the leaf cluster. For example, assume you assign the leaf cluster a label using the following command:

tctl update rc/leaf --set-labels=env=prod

This label can't prevent direct access to the leaf cluster if a user has a certificate signed by the root cluster. You should use role mapping as the primary way to restrict access to leaf clusters and use cluster_labels for filtering and limiting the visibility of leaf cluster resources.

Temporarily disable a trusted cluster

You can temporarily disable the trust relationship for a cluster by logging in to the leaf cluster and editing the trusted_cluster resource configuration files that you previously created.

To temporarily disable trust:

  1. Sign in to your leaf cluster from your administrative workstation using your Teleport username:

    tsh login --proxy=leafcluster.example.com --user=myuser

    Replace leafcluster.example.com with the Teleport leaf cluster domain and myuser with your Teleport username.

  2. Retrieve the resource configuration by running the following command:

    tctl get trusted_cluster/rootcluster.example.com > trusted_cluster.yaml
  3. Set the spec.enabled field to false:

     spec:
    -  enabled: true
    +  enabled: false
       role_map:
       - local:
         - visitor
    
  4. Update the trusted cluster configuration by running the following command:

    tctl create --force trusted_cluster.yaml

    This command closes the reverse tunnel between your leaf cluster and your root cluster. It also deactivates the root cluster's certificate authority on the leaf cluster.

You can repeat these steps to change spec.enabled to true if you want to reestablish the trust relationship between the leaf cluster and the root cluster.

Remove a trusted leaf cluster

If you want to completely remove a leaf cluster without the possibility of restoring it later, you must run commands on both the leaf cluster and the root cluster.

To remove a leaf cluster completely:

  1. Sign in to your leaf cluster from your administrative workstation using your Teleport username:

    tsh login --proxy=leafcluster.example.com --user=myuser

    Replace leafcluster.example.com with the Teleport leaf cluster domain and myuser with your Teleport username.

  2. Disable and remove the leaf cluster by running the following command:

    tctl rm trusted_cluster/rootcluster.example.com

    This command sets spec.enabled to false for the trusted_cluster resource and removes the trusted cluster resource from the Teleport Auth Service backend.

  3. Sign in to your root cluster from your administrative workstation using your Teleport username:

    tsh login --proxy=rootcluster.example.com --user=myuser

    Replace rootcluster.example.com with the Teleport root cluster domain and myuser with your Teleport username.

  4. Delete the certificate authorities associated with the remote cluster and remove the remote_cluster resource from the Teleport Auth Service backend by running the following command

    tctl rm rc/leafcluster.example.com

    If you run this command without removing the trust relationship from the leaf cluster, the leaf cluster will continue to try to ping the root cluster, but won't be able to connect. To reestablish the trusted cluster relationship, you must recreate the trusted cluster from the leaf cluster.

Troubleshooting

The most common problems you might encounter when configuring a trust relationship fall into the following categories:

  • HTTPS configuration issues.
  • Connectivity problems.
  • Access problems.

HTTPS configuration issues

The most common HTTPS configuration issues stem from a root cluster that uses a self-signed or invalid HTTPS certificate. If the web_proxy_addr endpoint of the root cluster uses a self-signed or invalid HTTPS certificate, you are likely to see an error similar to the following: The trusted cluster uses misconfigured HTTP/TLS certificate.

For ease of testing, you can start the teleport daemon on the leaf cluster with the --insecure command-line options to accept self-signed certificates. However, you should ensure that you configure HTTPS properly to resolve the issue, then remove the --insecure before running Teleport in a production environment.

Connectivity problems

If a leaf cluster doesn't show up in the output when you run the tsh clusters command on the root cluster, it might indicate network connectivity issues or problems communicating with the Teleport Auth Service.

To troubleshoot connectivity problems, enable verbose output for the Teleport Auth Service on both the root and leaf clusters. Usually, this can be done by adding the --debug flag to the command to start the teleport service:

teleport start --debug`

You can also enable verbose output by updating the configuration file for both Auth Services. Open the /etc/teleport.yaml configuration file and add DEBUG to the log configuration section:

# Snippet from /etc/teleport.yaml
teleport:
  log:
    output: stderr
    severity: DEBUG

On systemd-based distributions, you can watch the log output by running the following command:

journalctl -fu teleport

Most of the time you will find out that either a invitation token is mismatched/expired, or the network addresses for tunnel_addr or web_proxy_addr cannot be reached due to pre-existing firewall rules or how your network security groups are configured on AWS.

Access problems

If users from the root cluster get Access denied error messages when trying to connect to nodes on the leaf cluster, it might indicate problems with their role assignment, role mapping, or allowed logins. However, troubleshooting Access denied messages can be quite challenging. To troubleshoot, you should start by checking the following information for the user being denied access:

  • The roles assigned to the user on the root cluster when signing in with the tsh login command. You can inspect the certificate and assigned roles by running the tsh status command on the client.

  • The roles assigned to the user on the leaf cluster when the role mapping takes place. You can check the role mapping in the Teleport audit log.

    If you manage Teleport on your own network, the default location for audit log is /var/lib/teleport/log on the server where the Teleport Auth Service for the cluster runs.

    If you use Teleport as a managed cloud-based service, you can access the audit log from the Teleport Web UI by selecting Management, then clicking Audit Log in the Activity section.