sqitch-passwords(3) Guide to using database passwords with Sqitch


You may have noticed that Sqitch has no "--password" option. This is intentional. It's generally not a great idea to specify a password on the command-line: from there, it gets logged to your command history and is easy to extract by anyone with access to your system. So you might wonder how to specify passwords so that Sqitch an successfully deploy to databases that require passwords. There are four approaches, in order from most- to least-recommended:
1. Avoid using a password at all
2. Use a database engine-specific password file
3. Use the $SQITCH_PASSWORD environment variable
4. Include the password in the deploy target URI

Each is covered in detail in the sections below.

Don't use Passwords

Of course, the best way to protect your passwords is not to use them at all. If your database engine is able to do passwordless authentication, it's worth taking the time to make it work, especially on your production database systems. Some examples:
PostgreSQL supports a number of authentication methods <http://www.postgresql.org/docs/current/static/auth-methods.html>, including the passwordless SSL certificate <http://www.postgresql.org/docs/current/static/auth-methods.html#AUTH-CERT>, GSSAPI <http://www.postgresql.org/docs/current/static/auth-methods.html#GSSAPI-AUTH>, and, for local connections, peer authentication <http://www.postgresql.org/docs/current/static/auth-methods.html#AUTH-PEER>.
MySQL supports a number of authentication methods <http://dev.mysql.com/doc/internals/en/authentication-method.html>, plus SSL authentication <http://dev.mysql.com/doc/internals/en/ssl.html>.
Oracle supports a number of authentication methods <http://docs.oracle.com/cd/B19306_01/network.102/b14266/authmeth.htm#BABCGGEB>, including SSL authentication <http://docs.oracle.com/cd/B19306_01/network.102/b14266/authmeth.htm#i1009722>, third-party authentication <http://docs.oracle.com/cd/B19306_01/network.102/b14266/authmeth.htm#i1009853>, and, for local connections, OS authentication <http://docs.oracle.com/cd/B19306_01/network.102/b14266/authmeth.htm#i1007520>.
Vertica supports a number of authentication methods <http://my.vertica.com/docs/7.1.x/HTML/index.htm#Authoring/AdministratorsGuide/Security/ClientAuth/SupportedClientAuthenticationMethods.htm> including the passwordless TLS authentication <http://my.vertica.com/docs/7.1.x/HTML/index.htm#Authoring/AdministratorsGuide/Security/ClientAuth/ConfiguringTLSAuthentication.htm>, GSS authentication <http://my.vertica.com/docs/7.1.x/HTML/index.htm#Authoring/AdministratorsGuide/Security/ClientAuth/Kerberos/ImplementingKerberosAuthentication.htm>, and, for local connections, ident authentication <http://my.vertica.com/docs/7.1.x/HTML/index.htm#Authoring/AdministratorsGuide/Security/ClientAuth/ConfiguringIdentAuthentication.htm>.
Firebird supports passwordless authentication only via trusted authentication <http://www.firebirdsql.org/manual/qsg2-config.html> for local connections.

Use a Password File

If you must use password authentication with your database server, you may be able to use a protected password file. This is file with access limited only to the current user that the server client library can read in. As such, the format is specified by the database vendor, and not all database servers offer the feature. Here's how the database engines supported by Sqitch shake out:
PostgreSQL will use a .pgpass file <http://www.postgresql.org/docs/current/static/libpq-pgpass.html> in the user's home directory to or referenced by the $PGPASSFILE environment variable. This file must limit access only to the current user (0600) and contains lines specify authentication rules as follows:

For MySQL, if the MySQL::Config module is installed, passwords can be specified in the /etc/my.cnf and ~/.my.cnf files <http://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/5.1/en/password-security-user.html#idm139947650158560>. These files must limit access only to the current user (0600). Sqitch will look for a password under the "[client]" and "[mysql]" sections, in that order.
Oracle supports "password file|http://docs.oracle.com/cd/B28359_01/server.111/b28310/dba007.htm#ADMIN10241" created with the "ORAPWD" utility to authenticate "SYSDBA" and "SYSOPER" users, but Sqitch is unable to take advantage of this functionality. Neither can one embed a username and password <http://stackoverflow.com/q/7183513/79202> into a tnsnames.ora <http://docs.oracle.com/cd/B28359_01/network.111/b28317/tnsnames.htm#NETRF007> file.
Vertica does not currently support a password file.
Firebird does not currently support a password file.


The $SQITCH_PASSWORD environment variable can be used to specify the password for any supported database engine. However use of this environment variable is not recommended for security reasons, as some operating systems allow non-root users to see process environment variables via "ps".

The behavior of $SQITCH_PASSWORD is consistent across all supported engines. Some database engines support their own password environment variables, which you may wish to use instead. However, their behaviors may not be consistent:


Use Target URIs

Passwords may also be specified in target URIs. This is not generally recommended, since such URIs are either specified via the command-line (and therefore visible in "ps" and your shell history) or stored in the configuration, the project instance of which is generally pushed to your source code repository. But it's provided here as an absolute last resort (and because web URLs support it, though it's heavily frowned upon there, too).

Such URIs can either be specified on the command-line:

  sqitch deploy db:pg://fred:[email protected]/widgets

Or stored as named targets in the project configuration file:

  sqitch target add wigets db:pg://fred:[email protected]/widgets

After which the target is available by its name:

  sqitch deploy widgets

See sqitch-targets and "sqitch-configuration" for details on target configuration.

See Also

  • sqitch-environment
  • sqitch-configuration
  • sqitch-target


Part of the sqitch suite.