Stanford University Wallet Naming Conventions


These are the naming conventions used at Stanford University for wallet objects. They may not be appropriate for every site using wallet, but they can serve as a starting point for your site-local conventions. They are the conventions enforced by Wallet::Policy::Stanford (to the extent it's possible to enforce them).

Object Naming


Keytab object names correspond to the principal names in your Kerberos database, so there's no need for a wallet-specific set of naming conventions. Apply whatever conventions you apply to the names of service principals in your KDC.

If you do not already have naming standards for service principals, you may want to develop some as part of your wallet deployment. We use the following:


File objects pose the most significant challenge to naming since they can contain just about anything. We require some discussion before putting a new type of data into a wallet file object, both to see if it should get its own object type first and to agree on a naming convention for that type of thing.

There are two basic types of file objects: ones that are tied to a particular system, and ones that are not. For the ones that are tied to a particular system, we use a naming convention very similar to host-based Kerberos principals so that we can set up default ACLs based on the host. For ones that are not, we require an indication of the repsonsible group in each file object, since the rest of the name can often be ambiguous.

File objects are named with two or more slash-separated components (again, similar to Kerberos principals). The first is the type of file being stored. The rest vary based on the file type.

We previously instead used <group>-<server>-<type>, but that caused various problems in parsing because groups, servers, and types all also contained dashes. Slashes are much less ambiguous. This document shows both the new and the old form.



An .htpasswd file for HTTP Basic Authentication for special-case web configurations that require such a thing. <server> is the server (or group of servers) on which the file will be stored

(OLD: <group>-<server>-htpasswd-<app>)


Stores the SSH private key for <server>. For shared private keys across a pool, <server> should be the name of the pool, or possibly some unambiguous name for the set of systems. <type> is the type of SSH key (rsa or dsa, in lowercase).

(OLD: <group>-<server>-ssh-<type>)


Stores the SSL X.509 certificate private key for <server>. Used for Apache, Postfix, LDAP, and similar cases where the certificate should match the host name. The public certificate we manage external to wallet since it doesn't need to be protected or encrypted. <server> here should be the fully-qualified DNS name from the CN of the certificate, which may be different than the hostname (for hosts with multiple virtual hosts, for example, or because the certificate is for a load-balanced name). For example, ssl-key/ for the X.509 private key for the SSL certificate used across the load-balanced pool.

An optional <application> component may be added if there are multiple certificates with the same host name as the CN but with different private keys. (This may happen if, for example, multiple services are running on the same FQDN but should have isolated security contexts.)

Use ssl-key/ for the key for the * certificate, where YYYY is the expiration year.

(OLD: <group>-<server>-ssl-key)


Same as ssl-key except that the signed certificate is included in the same file as the private key. This is used for convenience with some applications that want to have both the signed certificate and private key in the same file.

The meaning of <server> and <application> are the same as for ssl-key.


The Tivoli encryption key for this server. We previously stored the whole /etc/adsm/TSM.PWD file in this object, but now we store only the encryption key in password form, since the file contains both it and the server password and the latter keeps changing.

(OLD: <group>-<server>-tivoli-key)

In all cases, <server> should be a fully-qualified domain name in the new naming convention. In the old naming convention, was omitted, but this adds unnecessary ambiguity.



A configuration file named <name> that contains some secure information, such as a database password. Ideally, the secure data should be stored in a separate file and assembled into the configuration file. This is reserved for configuration files that hold nothing but authentication information. Only use this naming convention if there is not a more specific one below.

(OLD: <group>-<service>-config-<name>)


Stores the database password for <service> access to the database named <database>. This may be a file containing only the database password or a Perl AppConfig configuration file with the database connection information including the password.

(OLD: <group>-<service>-db-<database>)


Stores the GnuPG private key for a service that needs to do GnuPG signing or encryption.

(OLD: <group>-<service>-gpg-key)


The properties file for a Java application that contains some secure data (such as SSL key passwords or database passwords). This should only be used for a properties file that contains only the password and closely-related information, such as database connection information. For anything else, switch to storing the password separately using the password type above and building the properties file dynamically from the password and a template. The optional <name> component is for when there are multiple files stored for a particular service.

(OLD: <group>-<service>-properties)


The Java keystore file (containing both public and private key) used by a service for authentication to other services. If a given service uses more than one, use the optional <name> component to distinguish.

(OLD: <group>-<service>-ssl-keystore)


The PKCS#12 file (containing both public and private key) used by a service for authentication to other services. If a given service uses more than one, use the optional <name> component to distinguish.

(OLD: <group>-<service>-ssl-pkcs12)

If there are separate objects for different tiers, <service> should be left unqualified for production and be qualified with a dash and the tier for non-production. For example, ssl-keystore/idg/accounts would be the production keystore for the Accounts application, and ssl-keystore/idg/accounts-uat would be the keystore for the UAT version.

We previously stored a wider variety of configuration files before developing a way to dynamically substitute the password into a larger configuration file during deployment. The following file types are obsolete and should no longer be used; instead, the configuration file should be constructed by substituting a password (usually stored as a password or db type) into the configuration file.



Replaced by password objects:


password/<group>/<service>/<name> should be replaced by the password service/<group>/<service>/<name> object if a single password, or by the file object db/* or config/* format if the object contains more than just the bare password.


Passwords are a recent type and so most password data is actually in file objects. However, we'd like to move things there both for the added features of password objects to self-set, and because it helps clean up the file namespace a little more.



Stores the password for remote IPMI/iLO/ILOM access to the system.


Stores the Tivoli TSM backup password for a given server. See also tivoli-key/<server> in the file section, but depending on what one wants to do with the password, this may be a better representation.


Stores the root password for a given server.


Stores the password for a non-root system account, such as a user required for file uploads.


Stores an application password bound to a certain server.



A password for some account, service, keystore, or something similar that is not covered by one of the more specific naming conventions, such as a password used to connect to a remote ssh service. <service> is the service that uses this password and <name> is the thing the password is used for (such as the remote account name). This should only be for something including the password and nothing else. See the file password/ object name for something that includes more data.

ACL Naming

Currently, there is no naming enforcement for ACLs, so ACL naming has to be done purely by policy. In a later version of wallet, there will be support for enforcing ACL naming conventions.

We use the following conventions:


Any object that should be downloadable by either any administrator of <host> or by the host key itself. An ACL named like this should have as its contents either:

    krb5 host/


    krb5 host/

Don't use this ACL name for ACLs with other content. Instead, use one of the other ones below.


Groups of users. Each ACL line should probably have a scheme of krb5 and an identifier of a Kerberos principal (which must include the portion). Eventually, wallet will support using PTS groups and Workgroup Manager groups, but for right now this is how groups are supported.


A keytab that's only downloadable by one particular person. Double-check that a host/<host> ACL or a group/* ACL wouldn't be more correct. If this is what's desired, it would have a single line of scheme krb5 and identifier equal to the user's full Kerberos principal.


Used for keytabs that should be downloadable by a service, as opposed to a group of people. Usually this ACL will have lines like krb5 service/<service> to let the service principal download other associated keytabs, but it may contain other things as well, including administrators for that service so that they can bootstrap or test. This naming convention should also be used for ACLs that allow multiple hosts to download the same object, such as:

    krb5 host/
    krb5 host/

Such an ACL would normally be named service/example.


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