Using an Ansible Tower Inventory from Command Line Ansible

In an earlier post, I wrote about using the OpenStack Ansible inventory helper when calling and Ansible command line tools. However, When developing an playbook, often there is more information pulled from the inventory than just the set of hosts. Often, the inventory also collects variables that are used in common across multiple playbooks. For this reason, and many more, I want to be able to call an Ansible playbook or Ad-Hoc command from the command line, but use the inventory as defined by an Ansible Tower instance. It turns out this is fairly simple to do, using the REST API.

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Command line VPN connection

I need to connect to my office via VPN. Fedora has a point and click interface, but I am trying to minimize mouse usage. So, instead I have a small bash function that does it for me.

I has an OTP that I need to enter in, so I have nmcli prompt me.

$ cat `which vpn_up `
nmcli --ask c up "Raleigh (RDU2)"

Recursive DNS and FreeIPA

DNS is essential to Kerberos. Kerberos Identity for servers is based around host names, and if you don’t have a common view between client and server, you will not be able to access your remote systems. Since DNS is an essential part of FreeIPA, BIND is one of the services integrated into the IPA server.

When a user wants to visit a public website, like this one, they click a link or type that URL into their browsers navigation bar. The browser then requests the IP address for the hostname inside the URL from the operating system via a library call. On a Linux based system, the operating system makes the DNS call to the server specified in /etc/resolv.conf. But what happens if the DNS server does not know the answer? It depends on how it is configured. In the simple case, where the server is not allowed to make additional calls, it returns a response that indicates the record is not found.

Since IPA is supposed to be the one-source-of-truth for a client system, it is common practice to register the IPA server as the sole DNS resolver. As such, it cannot just short-circuit the request. Instead, it performs a recursive search to the machines it has set up as Forwarders. For example, I often will set up a sample server that points to the google resolver at 8.8.8.8. Or, now CloudFlare has DNS privacy enabled, I might use that.

This is fine inside controlled environments, but is sub-optimal if the DNS portion of the IPA server is accessible on the public internet. It turns out that forwarding requests allows a DNS server to be used to attack these DNS servers via a distributed denial of service attack. In this attack, the attackers sends the request to all DNS servers that are acting as forwarders, and these forwarders hammer on the central DNS servers.

If you have set up a FreeIPA server on the public internet, you should plan on disabling Recursive DNS queries. You do this by editing the file /etc/named.conf and setting the values:

allow-recursion {"none";};
recursion no;

And restarting the named service.

And then everything breaks. All of your IPA clients can no longer resolve anything except the entries you have in your IPA server.

The fix for that is to add the (former) DNS forward address as a nameserver entry in /etc/resolv.conf on each machine, including your IPA server. Yes, it is a pain, but it limits the query capacity to only requests local to those machines. For example, if my IPA server is on 10.10.2.1 (yes I know this is not routable, just for example) my resolve.conf would look like.

search younglogic.com
nameserver 10.10.2.1
nameserver 1.1.1.1

If you wonder if your Nameserver has this problem, use this site to test it.

Ansible, Azure, and Managed Disks

Many applications have a data directory, usually due to having an embedded database. For the set I work with, this includes Red Hat IdM/FreeIPA, CloudForms/ManageIQ, Ansible Tower/AWX, and OpenShift/Kubernetes. Its enough of a pattern that I have Ansible code for pairing a set of newly allocated partitions with a set of previously built virtual machines.

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Java on Port 443

I’ve been working on setting up a Java based SAML provider. This means that the application needs to handle request and response over HTTPS. And, since often this is deployed in data centers where non-standard ports are blocked, it means that the HTTPS really needs to be supported on the proper port, which is 443. Here are the range of options.
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