Cisco DCNM Security Configuration Guide, Release 4.2
Configuring Keychain Management
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Configuring Keychain Management

Configuring Keychain Management

This chapter describes how to configure keychain management on a Cisco NX-OS device.


Note


The Cisco NX-OS release that is running on a managed device may not support all the features or settings described in this chapter. For the latest feature information and caveats, see the documentation and release notes for your platform and software release.


Information About Keychain Management

Keychains and Keychain Management

Keychain management allows you to create and maintain keychains, which are sequences of keys (sometimes called shared secrets). You can use keychains with features that secure communications with other devices by using key-based authentication. The device allows you to configure multiple keychains.

Some routing protocols that support key-based authentication can use a keychain to implement a hitless key rollover for authentication. For more information, see the Cisco DCNM Unicast Routing Configuration Guide, Release 4.2

Lifetime of a Key

To maintain stable communications, each device that uses a protocol that is secured by key-based authentication must be able to store and use more than one key for a feature at the same time. Based on the send and accept lifetimes of a key, keychain management provides a secure mechanism to handle key rollover. The device uses the lifetimes of keys to determine which keys in a keychain are active.

Each key in a keychain has two lifetimes, as follows:

Accept lifetime

The time interval within which the device accepts the key during a key exchange with another device.

Send lifetime

The time interval within which the device sends the key during a key exchange with another device.

You define the send and accept lifetimes of a key using the following parameters:

Start-time

The absolute time that the lifetime begins.

End-time

The end time can be defined in one of the following ways:


  • The absolute time that the lifetime ends

  • The number of seconds after the start time that the lifetime ends

  • Infinite lifetime (no end-time)

During a key send lifetime, the device sends routing update packets with the key. The device does not accept communication from other devices when the key sent is not within the accept lifetime of the key on the device.

We recommend that you configure key lifetimes that overlap within every keychain. This practice avoids failure of neighbor authentication due to the absence of active keys.

Virtualization Support for Keychain Management

The following information applies to keychains used in virtual device contexts (VDCs):


  • Keychains are unique per VDC. You cannot use a keychain that you created in one VDC in a different VDC.

  • Because keychains are not shared by VDCs, you can reuse keychain names in different VDCs.

  • The device does not limit keychains on a per-VDC basis.

Licensing Requirements for Keychain Management

This table shows the licensing requirements for keychain management.

Product

License Requirement

DCNM

Keychain management requires a LAN Enterprise license. For a complete explanation of the DCNM licensing scheme and how to obtain and apply licenses, see the Cisco DCNM Fundamentals Configuration Guide, Release 4.2.

Cisco NX-OS

Keychain management requires no license. Any feature not included in a license package is bundled with the Cisco NX-OS system images and is provided at no extra charge to you. For a complete explanation of the NX-OS licensing scheme, see the Cisco Nexus 7000 Series NX-OS Licensing Guide, Release 4.2.

Prerequisites for Keychain Management

Keychain management has no prerequisites.

Guidelines and Limitations for Keychain Management

Keychain management has the following configuration guideline and limitation:


  • Changing the system clock impacts when the keys are active.

Configuring Keychain Management

This figure shows the Key Chain content pane.


Figure 1. Key Chain Content Pane

Creating a Keychain

You can create a keychain on the device. A new keychain contains no keys.

Procedure
Step 1   From the Feature Selector pane, choose Routing > Gateway Redundancy > Key Chain.

The available devices appear in the Summary pane.

Step 2   From the Summary pane, click the device that you want to configure with a keychain.
Step 3   From the menu bar, choose Actions > Key Chain.

A new row appears in the Summary pane.

Step 4   Enter a name for the keychain. Valid keychain names are alphanumeric and can be up to 63 characters long.
Step 5   (Optional) From the menu bar, choose File > Deploy to apply your changes to the device.

Related Tasks

Removing a Keychain

You can remove a keychain on the device.


Note


Removing a keychain removes any keys within the keychain.


Before You Begin

If you are removing a keychain, ensure that no feature uses it. If a feature is configured to use a keychain that you remove, that feature is likely to fail to communicate with other devices.


Procedure
Step 1   From the Feature Selector pane, choose Routing > Gateway Redundancy > Key Chain.

The available devices appear in the Summary pane.

Step 2   From the Summary pane, double-click the device that has a keychain that you want to delete.

Keychains on the device appear in the Summary table.

Step 3   Click the keychain you want to delete.
Step 4   From the menu bar, choose Actions > Delete.

The keychain disappears from the Summary table.

Step 5   (Optional) From the menu bar, choose File > Deploy to apply your changes to the device.

Related Tasks

Configuring a Key

You can configure a key for a keychain. A new key contains no text (shared secret). The default accept and send lifetimes for a new key are infinite.

Procedure
Step 1   From the Feature Selector pane, choose Routing > Gateway Redundancy > Key Chain.

The available devices appear in the Summary pane.

Step 2   From the Summary pane, double-click the device that you want to configure with a key.

Keychains on the device appear in the Summary table.

Step 3   Double-click the keychain that you want to configure with a key.
Step 4   (Optional) To create a new key, from the menu bar, choose Actions > Key Chain Entry.

A new row appears below the keychain.

Step 5   Double-click the Key Chain Name/ID entry for the key that you want to configure. If you are creating a new key, the entry is blank.
Step 6   Enter an identifier for the key. The identifier must be a whole number between 0 and 65535.
Step 7   (Optional) From the menu bar, choose File > Deploy to apply your changes to the device.

Configuring Text for a Key

You can configure the text for a key. The text is the shared secret. The device stores the text in a secure format.

By default, accept and send lifetimes for a key are infinite, which means that the key is always valid. After you configure the text for a key, configure the accept and send lifetimes for the key.

Before You Begin

Determine the text for the key. The text string can be up to 63 alphanumeric, case-sensitive characters, including special characters.


Procedure
Step 1   From the Feature Selector pane, choose Routing > Gateway Redundancy > Key Chain.

The available devices appear in the Summary pane.

Step 2   From the Summary pane, double-click the device that has the key that you want to configure.

Keychains on the device appear in the Summary table.

Step 3   Double-click the keychain that has the key that you want to configure.

Keys in the keychain appear in the Summary table.

Step 4   Double-click the Key String entry for the key that you want to configure.

The field becomes a drop-down list.

Step 5   Use the drop-down list to configure the text string, including whether the text string that you enter is unencrypted or encrypted. The text string can be up to 63 alphanumeric, case-sensitive characters. It also supports special characters.
Step 6   (Optional) From the menu bar, choose File > Deploy to apply your changes to the device.

Configuring Accept and Send Lifetimes for a Key

You can configure the accept lifetime and send lifetime for a key.


Note


We recommend that you configure the keys in a keychain to have overlapping lifetimes. This practice prevents loss of key-secured communication due to moments where no key is active.


Before You Begin

By default, accept and send lifetimes for a key are infinite, which means that the key is always valid.


Procedure
Step 1   From the Feature Selector pane, choose Routing > Gateway Redundancy > Key Chain.

The available devices appear in the Summary pane.

Step 2   From the Summary pane, double-click the device that has the key that you want to configure.

Keychains on the device appear in the Summary table.

Step 3   Double-click the keychain that has the key that you want to configure.

Keys in the keychain appear in the Summary table.

Step 4   Under Accept Life Time, double-click the Start entry for the key that you want to configure.

The field becomes a drop-down list.

Step 5   Use the drop-down list to configure the start date and time for the accept lifetime.
Step 6   Under Accept Life Time, double-click the End entry.

The field becomes a drop-down list.

Step 7   Use the drop-down list to configure when the accept lifetime ends.

You can specify the end of the accept lifetime as a specific date and time, as the duration in seconds of the lifetime, or as unending (infinite).

Step 8   Under Send Life Time, double-click the Start entry for the key that you want to configure.

The field becomes a drop-down list.

Step 9   Use the drop-down list to configure the start date and time for the send lifetime.
Step 10   Under Send Life Time, double-click the End entry.

The field becomes a drop-down list.

Step 11   Use the drop-down list to configure when the send lifetime ends.

You can specify the end of the send lifetime as a specific date and time, as the duration in seconds of the lifetime, or as unending (infinite).

Step 12   (Optional) From the menu bar, choose File > Deploy to apply your changes to the device.

Related Concepts

Where to Go Next

For information about routing features that use keychains, see the Cisco DCNM Unicast Routing Configuration Guide, Release 4.2 .

Field Descriptions for Keychain Management

Keychain Object

Table 1 Keychain Object

Field

Description

Key Chain Name/ID

Name assigned to the keychain. Valid names are 1 to 63 alphanumeric characters.

Keychain Entry Object

Table 2 Keychain Entry Object

Field

Description

Key Chain Name/ID

Identification number assigned to the keychain. Valid identifier numbers are whole numbers from 0 to 65535.

Key String

Text string that is the shared secret of the key. Entries in this field are masked for security. Valid entries are alphanumeric, case-sensitive text strings, including special characters. The minimum length is one character. The maximum length is 63 characters.

Accept Life Time

Start

Date and time, in UTC, that the accept lifetime becomes active. If you specify no start date and time, the accept lifetime is always valid.

End

When the accept lifetime becomes inactive. You can specify the end of the accept lifetime in one of the following ways:


  • Specific—The date and time when the accept lifetime becomes inactive.

  • Duration—The length in seconds of the accept lifetime. The maximum length is 2147483646 seconds (approximately 68 years).

  • Infinite—After the start time, the accept lifetime is always active.

Send Life Time

Start

Date and time, in UTC, that the send lifetime becomes active. If you specify no start date and time, the send lifetime is always active.

End

When the send lifetime becomes inactive. You can specify the end of the send lifetime in one of the following ways:


  • Specific—The date and time when the send lifetime becomes inactive.

  • Duration—The length in seconds of the send lifetime. The maximum length is 2147483646 seconds (approximately 68 years).

  • Infinite—After the start time, the send lifetime is always active.

Related Fields

For information about fields that configure key chains, see the Cisco DCNM Unicast Routing Configuration Guide, Release 4.2.

Additional References for Keychain Management

Related Documents

Related Topic

Document Title

Gateway Load Balancing Protocol

Cisco DCNM Unicast Routing Configuration Guide, Release 4.2

Standards

Standards

Title

No new or modified standards are supported by this feature, and support for existing standards has not been modified by this feature.

Feature History for Keychain Management

This table lists the release history for this feature.
Table 3 Feature History for Keychain Management

Feature Name

Releases

Feature Information

Keychain management

4.2(1)

No change from Release 4.1.