GSSAPI Proxy initiative

Adamson, Andy William.Adamson at
Fri Nov 4 11:55:39 EDT 2011

On Nov 4, 2011, at 11:13 AM, Nico Williams wrote:

> On Thu, Nov 3, 2011 at 5:16 PM, Myklebust, Trond
> <Trond.Myklebust at> wrote:
>>> It is ok to use keyring if that's deemed the right place for session keys, but I
>>> think you already have structures where you currently store them so I don't
>>> thik you necessarily need to change that part of the kernel implementation.
>> No, but we still need to be able to do recovery of rpcsec_gss contexts once they are broken, and right now we have a major flaw due to the fact that recovery depends on a lot of small processes and data that is allowed to be swapped out at the moment when we need them the most (i.e. in a memory reclaim situation).
>> If the server reboots while our client is in the middle of writing back a file (or several files), then the client needs to recover those rpcsec_gss contexts that authenticate the processes which own any dirty pages that remain to be written out.
>> Key security is an irrelevant concern once your kernel deadlocks in an OOM state.
> Ah, this problem.  Hopefully the client has enough resources to thrash
> a lot in the process but still manage to recover.  A better solution
> (see below) is possible, but will require more protocol/mechanism
> work.
>>> Currently credential caches are stored in files, is there a problem with that
>>> model ? Do you need access to credential caches from the kernel when
>>> under memory pressure ?
>> Yes, there is a major problem with that model, and yes we do potentially need access to credential caches when in a recovery situation (which is a situation when we are usually under memory pressure).
> Ideally we could store in each RPCSEC_GSS context (not GSS context)
> enough state on the client side to recover quickly when the server
> reboots.  

You mean not to use the user Kerberos credential to re-establish the GSS context with the server?

> How would we do this?  Suppose the server gives the client a
> "ticket", and a key much like the Kerberos ticket session key is
> agreed upon or sent by the server -- that could be stored in the
> RPCSEC_GSS context and could be used to recover it quickly for
> recovery from server reboot.  I'm eliding a lot of details here, but I
> believe this is fundamentally workable.

So re-establish the RPCSEC_GSS session lost at the server on server reboot by storing enough additional info on the client? 

> A similar solution would be to store some GSS "sub-credential" in the
> RPCSEC_GSS context, but this would work for Kerberos and maybe not so
> well for other mechanisms -- and even with Kerberos, the service
> ticket might be expired when it comes time to recover.  So I prefer
> the RPCSEC_GSS-level solution I mentioned above.
> If you agree with me on this then this sub-thread will be best moved
> to the NFSv4 WG, particularly if we agree on a protocol-level
> solution.
> Nico
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