pki-server nuxwdog(8) Command-Line Interface for enabling CS instances to start using nuxwdog.


pki-server [CLI options] nuxwdog
pki-server [CLI options] nuxwdog-enable
pki-server [CLI options] nuxwdog-disable


When a Certificate System (CS) instance starts, it reads a plain text configuration file ( /etc/pki/<instance_name>/password.conf) to obtain passwords needed to initialize the server. This could include passwords needed to access server keys in hardware or software cryptographic modules, or passwords to establish database connections.

While this file is protected by file and SELinux permissions, it is even more secure to remove this file entirely, and have the server prompt for these passwords on startup. This means of course that it will not be possible to start the CS instance unattended, including on server reboots.

nuxwdog is a daemon that will launch the CS instance and prompt the administrator for the relevant passwords. These passwords will be cached securely in the kernel keyring. If the CS instance crashes unexpectedly, nuxwdog will attempt to restart the instance using the cached passwords.

CS instances need to be reconfigured to use nuxwdog to start. Not only are changes required in instance configuration files, but instances need to use a different systemd unit file to start. See details in the Operations section.

pki-server nuxwdog commands provide a mechanism to reconfigure instances to either start or not start with nuxwdog.

pki-server [CLI options] nuxwdog

This command is to list available nuxwdog commands.

pki-server [CLI options] nuxwdog-enable

This command is to reconfigure ALL local CS instances to start using nuxwdog. To reconfigure a particular CS instance only, use pki-server instance-nuxwdog-enable.

pki-server [CLI options] nuxwdog-disable

This command is to reconfigure ALL local CS instances to start without using nuxwdog. To reconfigure a particular CS instance only, use pki-server instance-nuxwdog-disable. Once this operation is complete, instances will need to read a password.conf file in order to start up.


The CLI options are described in pki-server(8).


Configuring a CS instance to start using nuxwdog requires changes to instance configuration files such as server.xml. These changes are performed by pki-server.

Once a subsystem has been converted to using nuxwdog, the password.conf file is no longer needed. It can be removed from the filesystem. Be sure, of course, to note all passwords contained therein - some of which may be randomly generated during the install.

An instance that is started by nuxwdog is started by a different systemd unit file (pki-tomcatd-nuxwdog). Therefore, to start/stop/restart an instance using the following:

systemctl start/stop/restart pki-tomcatd-nuxwdog@<instance_id>.service

If the CS instance is converted back to not using nuxwdog to start, then the usual systemd unit scripts can be invoked:

systemctl start/stop/restart pki-tomcatd@<instance_id>.service

All pki-server commands must be executed as the system administrator.


Ade Lee <[email protected]>


Copyright (c) 2015 Red Hat, Inc. This is licensed under the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPLv2). A copy of this license is available at