On 14 Jan 2008, at 16:17, Jeff Blaine wrote:
> How are people approaching the creation of host/host.foo.com
> without human intervention?

There have been a couple of talks on this subject at recent AFS &
Kerberos Best Practices Workshops:
http://workshop.openafs.org/afsbpw05...kerb-auto.html (slides at
AFSWorkshop.pdf )

The first link describes what we do here in Informatics @ Edinburgh
University. We have a complex machine configuration system which
installs, and customises, the operating system. At the end of that
installation process, the machine prompts the user for a set of
administrative credentials, and then uses those to create a principal
for 'hostclient/machine.inf.ed.ac.uk'. The machine's configuration
system then uses this hostclient principal to fetch key material for
all service principals that the machine should have. Permissions over
which principals to fetch are controlled by our central configuration
database, which maintains a record of which services a machine runs,
and therefore which principals a machine may be allowed. In addition,
a hostclient/ principal may only fetch keys for */

This obviously requires attended installation - part of our
installation procedure is that a member of staff goes to each machine
once installation is complete, and checks its console, so this isn't
a huge burden for us.

We did design, but never deployed, an alternative system which used
the MAC address of the machine to control access to the initial key
material. In this scheme, an administrator would tell a central
daemon which machines were about to be installed - this would fetch
the configuration details of these machines from a central database.
As each machine completed installation, it would send a request to
the daemon for key material for the hostclient principal. Only one
request per machine would be permitted - multiple requests would be
reported as security violations, and requests would have to come from
the correct MAC address. This is obviously less secure than our
current solution, but has the advantage that it allows unattended
installation of large numbers of machines.

Hope that helps,