Operation

The Knot DNS server part knotd can run either in the foreground, or in the background using the -d option. When run in the foreground, it doesn’t create a PID file. Other than that, there are no differences and you can control both the same way.

The tool knotc is designed as a user front-end, making it easier to control running server daemon. If you want to control the daemon directly, use SIGINT to quit the process or SIGHUP to reload the configuration.

If you pass neither configuration file (-c parameter) nor configuration database (-C parameter), the server will first attempt to use the default configuration database stored in /var/lib/knot/confdb or the default configuration file stored in /etc/knot/knot.conf. Both the default paths can be reconfigured with --with-storage=path or --with-configdir=path respectively.

Example of server start as a daemon:

$ knotd -d -c knot.conf

Example of server shutdown:

$ knotc -c knot.conf stop

For a complete list of actions refer to the program help (-h parameter) or to the corresponding manual page.

Also, the server needs to create rundir and storage directories in order to run properly.

Configuration database

In the case of a huge configuration file, the configuration can be stored in a binary database. Such a database can be simply initialized:

$ knotc conf-init

or preloaded from a file:

$ knotc conf-import input.conf

Also the configuration database can be exported into a textual file:

$ knotc conf-export output.conf

Warning

The import and export commands access the configuration database directly, without any interaction with the server. So it is strictly recommended to perform these operations when the server is not running.

Dynamic configuration

The configuration database can be accessed using the server control interface while the server is running. To get the full power of the dynamic configuration, the server must be started with a specified configuration database location or with the default database initialized. Otherwise all the changes to the configuration will be temporary (until the server is stopped).

Note

The database can be imported in advance.

Most of the commands get an item name and value parameters. The item name is in the form of section[identifier].name. If the item is multivalued, more values can be specified as individual (command line) arguments.

Caution

Beware of the possibility of pathname expansion by the shell. For this reason, it is advisable to slash square brackets or to quote command parameters if not executed in the interactive mode.

To get the list of configuration sections or to get the list of section items:

$ knotc conf-list
$ knotc conf-list 'server'

To get the whole configuration or to get the whole configuration section or to get all section identifiers or to get a specific configuration item:

$ knotc conf-read
$ knotc conf-read 'remote'
$ knotc conf-read 'zone.domain'
$ knotc conf-read 'zone[example.com].master'

Warning

The following operations don’t work on OpenBSD!

Modifying operations require an active configuration database transaction. Just one transaction can be active at a time. Such a transaction then can be aborted or committed. A semantic check is executed automatically before every commit:

$ knotc conf-begin
$ knotc conf-abort
$ knotc conf-commit

To set a configuration item value or to add more values or to add a new section identifier or to add a value to all identified sections:

$ knotc conf-set 'server.identity' 'Knot DNS'
$ knotc conf-set 'server.listen' '0.0.0.0@53' '::@53'
$ knotc conf-set 'zone[example.com]'
$ knotc conf-set 'zone.slave' 'slave2'

Note

Also the include operation can be performed. A non-absolute file location is relative to the server binary path, not to the control binary path!

$ knotc conf-set 'include' '/tmp/new_zones.conf'

To unset the whole configuration or to unset the whole configuration section or to unset an identified section or to unset an item or to unset a specific item value:

$ knotc conf-unset
$ knotc conf-unset 'zone'
$ knotc conf-unset 'zone[example.com]'
$ knotc conf-unset 'zone[example.com].master'
$ knotc conf-unset 'zone[example.com].master' 'remote2' 'remote5'

To get the change between the current configuration and the active transaction for the whole configuration or for a specific section or for a specific identified section or for a specific item:

$ knotc conf-diff
$ knotc conf-diff 'zone'
$ knotc conf-diff 'zone[example.com]'
$ knotc conf-diff 'zone[example.com].master'

An example of possible configuration initialization:

$ knotc conf-begin
$ knotc conf-set 'server.listen' '0.0.0.0@53' '::@53'
$ knotc conf-set 'remote[master_server]'
$ knotc conf-set 'remote[master_server].address' '192.168.1.1'
$ knotc conf-set 'template[default]'
$ knotc conf-set 'template[default].storage' '/var/lib/knot/zones/'
$ knotc conf-set 'template[default].master' 'master_server'
$ knotc conf-set 'zone[example.com]'
$ knotc conf-diff
$ knotc conf-commit

Slave mode

Running the server as a slave is very straightforward as you usually bootstrap zones over AXFR and thus avoid any manual zone operations. In contrast to AXFR, when the incremental transfer finishes, it stores the differences in the journal file and doesn’t update the zone file immediately but after the zonefile-sync period elapses.

Master mode

If you just want to check the zone files before starting, you can use:

$ knotc zone-check example.com

For an approximate estimation of server’s memory consumption, you can use:

$ knotc zone-memstats example.com

This action prints the count of resource records, percentage of signed records and finally estimation of memory consumption for each zone, unless specified otherwise. Please note that the estimated values may differ from the actual consumption. Also, for slave servers with incoming transfers enabled, be aware that the actual memory consumption might be double or higher during transfers.

Reading and editing zones

Knot DNS allows you to read or change zone contents online using server control interface.

Warning

Avoid concurrent zone access when a zone event (zone file load, refresh, DNSSEC signing, dynamic update) is in progress or pending. In such a case zone events must be frozen before. For more information how to freeze the zone read Reading and editing the zone file safely.

To get contents of all configured zones, or a specific zone contents, or zone records with a specific owner, or even with a specific record type:

$ knotc zone-read --
$ knotc zone-read example.com
$ knotc zone-read example.com ns1
$ knotc zone-read example.com ns1 NS

Note

If the record owner is not a fully qualified domain name, then it is considered as a relative name to the zone name.

To start a writing transaction on all zones or on specific zones:

$ knotc zone-begin --
$ knotc zone-begin example.com example.net

Now you can list all nodes within the transaction using the `zone-get` command, which always returns current data with all changes included. The command has the same syntax as `zone-read`.

Within the transaction, you can add a record to a specific zone or to all zones with an open transaction:

$ knotc zone-set example.com ns1 3600 A 192.168.0.1
$ knotc zone-set -- ns1 3600 A 192.168.0.1

To remove all records with a specific owner, or a specific rrset, or a specific record data:

$ knotc zone-unset example.com ns1
$ knotc zone-unset example.com ns1 A
$ knotc zone-unset example.com ns1 A 192.168.0.2

To see the difference between the original zone and the current version:

$ knotc zone-diff example.com

Finally, either commit or abort your transaction:

$ knotc zone-commit example.com
$ knotc zone-abort example.com

A full example of setting up a completely new zone from scratch:

$ knotc conf-begin
$ knotc conf-set zone.domain example.com
$ knotc conf-commit
$ knotc zone-begin example.com
$ knotc zone-set example.com @ 7200 SOA ns hostmaster 1 86400 900 691200 3600
$ knotc zone-set example.com ns 3600 A 192.168.0.1
$ knotc zone-set example.com www 3600 A 192.168.0.100
$ knotc zone-commit example.com

Note

If quotes are necessary for record data specification, don’t forget to escape them:

$ knotc zone-set example.com @ 3600 TXT \"v=spf1 a:mail.example.com -all\"

Reading and editing the zone file safely

It’s always possible to read and edit zone contents via zone file manipulation. However, it may lead to confusion if the zone contents are continuously being changed by DDNS, DNSSEC signing and the like. In such a case, the safe way to modify the zone file is to freeze zone events first:

$ knotc -b zone-freeze example.com.
$ knotc -b zone-flush example.com.

After calling freeze to the zone, there still may be running zone operations (e.g. signing), causing freeze pending. Because of it the blocking mode is used to ensure the operation was finished. Then the zone can be flushed to a file.

Now the zone file can be safely modified (e.g. using a text editor). If zonefile-load is not set to difference-no-serial, it’s also necessary to increase SOA serial in this step to keep consistency. Finally, we can load the modified zone file and if successful, thaw the zone:

$ knotc -b zone-reload example.com.
$ knotc zone-thaw example.com.

Zone loading

The process how the server loads a zone is influenced by the configuration of the zonefile-load and journal-content parameters (also DNSSEC signing applies), the existence of a zone file and journal (and their relative out-of-dateness), and whether it is a cold start of the server or a zone reload (e.g. invoked by the knotc interface). Please note that zone transfers are not taken into account here – they are planned after the zone is loaded (including AXFR bootstrap).

If the zone file exists and is not excluded by the configuration, it is first loaded and according to its SOA serial number relevant journal changesets are applied. If this is a zone reload and we have zonefile-load set to difference, the difference between old and new contents is computed and stored into the journal like an update. The zone file should be either unchaged since last load or changed with incremented SOA serial. In the case of a decreased SOA serial, the load is interrupted with an error; if unchanged, it is increased by the server.

If the procedure described above succeeds without errors, the resulting zone contents are (after potential DNSSEC signing) used as the new zone.

The option journal-content set to all lets the server, beside better performance, to keep track of the zone contents also across server restarts. It makes the cold start effectively work like a zone reload with the old contents loaded from the journal (unless this is the very first start with the zone not yet saved into the journal).

Journal behaviour

The zone journal keeps some history of changes made to the zone. It is useful for responding to IXFR queries. Also if zone file flush is disabled, journal keeps diff between the zone file and zone for the case of server shutdown. The history is stored in changesets – diffs of zone contents between two (usually subsequent) zone serials.

Journals of all zones are stored in a common LMDB database. Huge changesets are split into 70 KiB [1] blocks to prevent fragmentation of the DB. Journal does each operation in one transaction to keep consistency of the DB and performance. The exception is when store transaction exceeds 5 % of the whole DB mapsize, it is split into multiple ones and some dirty-chunks-management involves.

Each zone journal has own usage limit on how much DB space it may occupy. Before hitting the limit, changesets are stored one-by-one and whole history is linear. While hitting the limit, the zone is flushed into the zone file, and oldest changesets are deleted as needed to free some space. Actually, twice [1] the needed amount is deleted to prevent too frequent deletes. Further zone file flush is invoked after the journal runs out of deletable “flushed changesets”.

If zone file flush is disabled, then instead of flushing the zone, the journal tries to save space by merging older changesets into one. It works well if the changes rewrite each other, e.g. periodically changing few zone records, re-signing whole zone... The difference between the zone file and the zone is thus preserved, even if journal deletes some older changesets.

If the journal is used to store both zone history and contents, a special changeset is present with zone contents. When the journal gets full, the changes are merged into this special changeset.

There is also a safety hard limit for overall journal database size, but it’s strongly recommended to set the per-zone limits in a way to prevent hitting this one. For LMDB, it’s hard to recover from the database-full state. For wiping one zone’s journal, see knotc zone-purge +journal command.

[1](1, 2) This constant is hardcoded.

Handling zone file, journal, changes, serials

Some configuration options regarding the zone file and journal, together with operation procedures, might lead to unexpected results. This chapter shall point out some interference and both recommend and warn before some combinations thereof. Unfortunately, there is no optimal combination of configuration options, every approach has some disadvantages.

Example 1

Keep the zone file updated:

zonefile-sync: 0
zonefile-load: whole
journal-content: changes

This is actually setting default values. The user can always check the current zone contents in the zone file, and also modify it (recommended with server turned-off or taking the safe way). Journal serves here just as a source of history for slaves’ IXFR. Some users dislike that the server overwrites their prettily prepared zone file.

Example 2

Zonefileless setup:

zonefile-sync: -1
zonefile-load: none
journal-content: all

Zone contents are stored just in the journal. The zone is updated by DDNS, zone transfer, or via the control interface. The user might have filled the zone contents initially from a zone file by setting zonefile-load to whole temporarily. It’s also a good setup for slaves. Anyway, it’s recommended to carefully tune the journal-size-related options to avoid surprises of journal getting full.

Example 3

Input-only zone file:

zonefile-sync: -1
zonefile-load: difference
journal-content: changes

The user can make changes to the zone by editing the zone file, and his pretty zone file gets never overwritten and filled with DNSSEC-related autogenerated records – they are only stored in the journal.

The zone file’s SOA serial must be properly set to a number which is higher than the current SOA serial in the zone (not in the zone file) if manually updated!

Note

In the case of zonefile-load is set to difference-no-serial, the SOA serial is handled by the server automatically during server reload.

DNSSEC key states

During its lifetime, DNSSEC key finds itself in different states. Most of the time it is usually used for signing the zone and published in the zone. In order to change this state, one type of a key rollover is necessary, and during this rollover, the key goes through various states, with respect to the rollover type and also the state of the other key being rolled-over.

First, let’s list the states of the key being rolled-in.

Standard states:

  • active — The key is used for signing.
  • published — The key is published in the zone, but not used for signing.
  • ready (only for KSK) — The key is published in the zone and used for signing. The old key is still active, since we are waiting for the DS records in the parent zone to be updated (i.e. “KSK submission”).

Special states for algorithm rollover:

  • pre-active — The key is not yet published in the zone, but it’s used for signing the zone.
  • published — The key is published in the zone, and it’s still used for signing since the pre-active state.

Second, we list the states of the key being rolled-out.

Standard states:

  • retire-active — The key is still used for signing and published in the zone, waiting for the updated DS records in parent zone to be acked by resolvers (KSK case) or synchronizing with KSK during algorithm rollover (ZSK case).
  • retired — The key is no longer used for signing, but still published in the zone.
  • removed — The key is not used in any way (in most cases such keys are deleted immediately).

Special states for algorithm rollover:

  • post-active — The key is no longer published in the zone, but still used for signing.

The states listed above are relevant for keymgr operations like generating a key, setting its timers and listing KASP database.

On the other hand, the key “states” displayed in the server log lines while zone signing are not according to listed above, but just a hint what the key is currently used to (e.g. “public, active” = key is published in the zone and used for signing).

DNSSEC key rollovers

This section describes the process of DNSSEC key rollover and its implementation in Knot DNS, and how the operator might watch and check that it’s working correctly. The prerequisite is automatic zone signing with enabled automatic key management.

The KSK and ZSK rollovers are triggered by the respective zone key getting old according to the settings (see KSK and ZSK lifetimes).

The algorithm rollover happens when the policy algorithm field is updated to a different value.

The signing scheme rollover happens when the policy singing scheme field is changed.

It’s also possible to change the algorithm and signing scheme in one rollover.

The operator may check the next rollover phase time by watching the next zone signing time, either in the log or via knotc zone-status. There is no special log for finishing a rollover.

Note

There are never two key rollovers running in parallel for one zone. If a rollover is triggered while another is in progress, it waits until the first one is finished.

The ZSK rollover is performed with Pre-publish method, KSK rollover uses Double-Signature scheme, as described in RFC 6781.

KSK rollover example

Let’s start with the following set of keys:

2017-10-24T15:40:48 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag  4700, algorithm RSASHA256, KSK, public, active
2017-10-24T15:40:48 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 30936, algorithm RSASHA256, public, active

The last fields hint the key state: public denotes a key that will be presented as the DNSKEY record, ready means that CDS/CDNSKEY records were created, active tells us if the key is used for signing.

Upon the zone’s KSK lifetime expiration, the rollover continues along the lines of RFC 6781#section-4.1.2:

2017-10-24T15:41:17 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, signing zone
2017-10-24T15:41:18 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, KSK rollover started
2017-10-24T15:41:18 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag  6674, algorithm RSASHA256, KSK, public
2017-10-24T15:41:18 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag  4700, algorithm RSASHA256, KSK, public, active
2017-10-24T15:41:18 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 30936, algorithm RSASHA256, public, active
2017-10-24T15:41:18 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, signing started
2017-10-24T15:41:18 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, successfully signed
2017-10-24T15:41:18 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, next signing at 2017-10-24T15:41:22
...
2017-10-24T15:41:22 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, signing zone
2017-10-24T15:41:22 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag  4700, algorithm RSASHA256, KSK, public, active
2017-10-24T15:41:22 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag  6674, algorithm RSASHA256, KSK, public, ready, active
2017-10-24T15:41:22 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 30936, algorithm RSASHA256, public, active
2017-10-24T15:41:22 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, signing started
2017-10-24T15:41:22 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, successfully signed
2017-10-24T15:41:22 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, next signing at 2017-10-24T15:41:23
2017-10-24T15:41:22 notice: [example.com.] DNSSEC, KSK submission, waiting for confirmation

At this point new KSK has to be submitted to the parent zone. Knot detects the updated parent’s DS record automatically (and waits for additional period of the DS’s TTL before retiring the old key) if parent DS check is configured, otherwise the operator must confirm it manually with knotc zone-ksk-submitted:

2017-10-24T15:41:23 notice: [example.com.] DNSSEC, KSK submission, confirmed
2017-10-24T15:41:23 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, signing zone
2017-10-24T15:41:23 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag  6674, algorithm RSASHA256, KSK, public, active
2017-10-24T15:41:23 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag  4700, algorithm RSASHA256, KSK, public, active
2017-10-24T15:41:23 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 30936, algorithm RSASHA256, public, active
2017-10-24T15:41:23 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, signing started
2017-10-24T15:41:23 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, zone is up-to-date
2017-10-24T15:41:23 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, next signing at 2017-10-24T15:41:28
...
2017-10-24T15:41:28 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, signing zone
2017-10-24T15:41:28 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag  4700, algorithm RSASHA256, KSK, public
2017-10-24T15:41:28 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag  6674, algorithm RSASHA256, KSK, public, active
2017-10-24T15:41:28 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 30936, algorithm RSASHA256, public, active
2017-10-24T15:41:28 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, signing started
2017-10-24T15:41:28 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, successfully signed
2017-10-24T15:41:28 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, next signing at 2017-10-24T15:41:33
...
2017-10-24T15:41:33 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, signing zone
2017-10-24T15:41:33 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag  6674, algorithm RSASHA256, KSK, public, active
2017-10-24T15:41:33 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 30936, algorithm RSASHA256, public, active
2017-10-24T15:41:33 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, signing started
2017-10-24T15:41:33 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, successfully signed
2017-10-24T15:41:33 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, next signing at 2017-10-24T15:41:47

Tip

If systemd is available, the KSK submission event is logged into journald in a structured way. The intended use case is to trigger a user-created script. Example:

journalctl -f -t knotd -o json | python3 -c '
import json, sys
for line in sys.stdin:
  k = json.loads(line);
  if "KEY_SUBMISSION" in k:
    print("%s, zone=%s, keytag=%s" % (k["__REALTIME_TIMESTAMP"], k["ZONE"], k["KEY_SUBMISSION"]))
'

Algorithm rollover example

Let’s start with the following set of keys:

2017-10-24T14:53:06 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 65225, algorithm RSASHA256, KSK, public, active
2017-10-24T14:53:06 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 47014, algorithm RSASHA256, public, active

When the zone’s DNSSEC policy algorithm is changed to ECDSAP256SHA256 and the server is reloaded, the rollover continues along the lines of RFC 6781#section-4.1.4:

2017-10-24T14:53:26 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, algorithm rollover started
2017-10-24T14:53:26 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 34608, algorithm ECDSAP256SHA256, KSK
2017-10-24T14:53:26 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 13674, algorithm ECDSAP256SHA256, active
2017-10-24T14:53:26 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 65225, algorithm RSASHA256, KSK, public, active
2017-10-24T14:53:26 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 47014, algorithm RSASHA256, public, active
2017-10-24T14:53:26 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, signing started
2017-10-24T14:53:26 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, successfully signed
2017-10-24T14:53:26 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, next signing at 2017-10-24T14:53:34
...
2017-10-24T14:53:34 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, signing zone
2017-10-24T14:53:34 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 34608, algorithm ECDSAP256SHA256, KSK, public, active
2017-10-24T14:53:34 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 13674, algorithm ECDSAP256SHA256, public, active
2017-10-24T14:53:34 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 65225, algorithm RSASHA256, KSK, public, active
2017-10-24T14:53:34 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 47014, algorithm RSASHA256, public, active
2017-10-24T14:53:34 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, signing started
2017-10-24T14:53:34 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, successfully signed
2017-10-24T14:53:34 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, next signing at 2017-10-24T14:53:44
...
2017-10-24T14:53:44 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, signing zone
2017-10-24T14:53:44 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 34608, algorithm ECDSAP256SHA256, KSK, public, ready, active
2017-10-24T14:53:44 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 13674, algorithm ECDSAP256SHA256, public, active
2017-10-24T14:53:44 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 65225, algorithm RSASHA256, KSK, public, active
2017-10-24T14:53:44 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 47014, algorithm RSASHA256, public, active
2017-10-24T14:53:44 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, signing started
2017-10-24T14:53:44 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, successfully signed
2017-10-24T14:53:44 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, next signing at 2017-10-31T13:52:37
2017-10-24T14:53:44 notice: [example.com.] DNSSEC, KSK submission, waiting for confirmation

Again, KSK submission follows as in KSK rollover example:

2017-10-24T14:54:20 notice: [example.com.] DNSSEC, KSK submission, confirmed
2017-10-24T14:54:20 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, signing zone
2017-10-24T14:54:20 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 34608, algorithm ECDSAP256SHA256, KSK, public, active
2017-10-24T14:54:20 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 13674, algorithm ECDSAP256SHA256, public, active
2017-10-24T14:54:20 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 65225, algorithm RSASHA256, KSK, public, active
2017-10-24T14:54:20 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 47014, algorithm RSASHA256, public, active
2017-10-24T14:54:20 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, signing started
2017-10-24T14:54:21 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, zone is up-to-date
2017-10-24T14:54:21 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, next signing at 2017-10-24T14:54:30
...
2017-10-24T14:54:30 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, signing zone
2017-10-24T14:54:30 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 34608, algorithm ECDSAP256SHA256, KSK, public, active
2017-10-24T14:54:30 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 13674, algorithm ECDSAP256SHA256, public, active
2017-10-24T14:54:30 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 65225, algorithm RSASHA256, KSK
2017-10-24T14:54:30 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 47014, algorithm RSASHA256, active
2017-10-24T14:54:30 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, signing started
2017-10-24T14:54:30 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, successfully signed
2017-10-24T14:54:30 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, next signing at 2017-10-24T14:54:40
...
2017-10-24T14:54:40 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, signing zone
2017-10-24T14:54:40 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 34608, algorithm ECDSAP256SHA256, KSK, public, active
2017-10-24T14:54:40 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, key, tag 13674, algorithm ECDSAP256SHA256, public, active
2017-10-24T14:54:40 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, signing started
2017-10-24T14:54:40 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, successfully signed
2017-10-24T14:54:40 info: [example.com.] DNSSEC, next signing at 2017-10-31T13:53:26

DNSSEC shared KSK

Knot DNS allows, with automatic DNSSEC key management, to configure a shared KSK for multiple zones. By enabling ksk-shared, we tell Knot to share all newly-created KSKs among all the zones with the same DNSSEC signing policy assigned.

The feature works as follows. Each zone still manages its keys separately. If a new KSK shall be generated for the zone, it first checks if it can grab another zone’s shared KSK instead - that is the last generated KSK in any of the zones with the same policy assigned. Anyway, only the cryptographic material is shared, the key may have different timers in each zone.

Consequences:

If we have an initial setting with brand new zones without any DNSSEC keys, the initial keys for all zones are generated. With shared KSK, they will all have the same KSK, but different ZSKs. The KSK rollovers may take place at slightly different time for each of the zones, but the resulting new KSK will be shared again among all of them.

If we have zones already having their keys, turning on the shared KSK feature triggers no action. But when a KSK rollover takes place, they will use the same new key afterwards.

DNSSEC delete algorithm

This is a way how to “disconnect” a signed zone from DNSSEC-aware parent zone. More precisely, we tell the parent zone to remove our zone’s DS record by publishing a special formatted CDNSKEY and CDS record. This is mostly useful if we want to turn off DNSSEC on our zone so it becomes insecure, but not bogus.

With automatic DNSSEC signing and key management by Knot, this is as easy as configuring cds-cdnskey-publish option and reloading the configuration. We check if the special CDNSKEY and CDS records with the rdata “0 3 0 AA==” and “0 0 0 00”, respectively, appeared in the zone.

After the parent zone notices and reflects the change, we wait for TTL expire (so all resolvers’ caches get updated), and finally we may do anything with the zone, e.g. turning off DNSSEC, removing all the keys and signatures as desired.

DNSSEC Offline KSK

Knot DNS allows a special mode of operation where the private part of the Key Signing Key is not available to the daemon, but it is rather stored securely in an offline storage. This requires that the KSK/ZSK signing scheme is used (i.e. single-type-signing is off). The Zone Signing Key is always fully available to the daemon in order to sign common changes to the zone contents.

The server (or the “ZSK side”) only uses ZSK to sign zone contents and its changes. Before performing a ZSK rollover, the DNSKEY records will be pre-generated and signed by the signer (the “KSK side”). Both sides exchange keys in the form of human-readable messages with the help of keymgr utility.

Pre-requisites

For the ZSK side (i.e. the operator of the DNS server), the pre-requisites are:

For the KSK side (i.e. the operator of the KSK signer), the pre-requisites are:

  • Knot configuration equal to the ZSK side (at least relevant parts of corresponding policy, zone, and template sections must be identical)
  • a KASP DB with the KSK(s)

Generating and signing future ZSKs

  1. Use the keymgr pregenerate command on the ZSK side to prepare the ZSKs for a specified period of time in the future. The following example generates ZSKs for the example.com zone for 6 months ahead starting from now:

    $ keymgr -c /path/to/ZSK/side.conf example.com. pregenerate +6mo
    

    If the time period is selected as e.g. 2 x zsk-lifetime + 4 x propagation-delay, it will prepare roughly two complete future key rollovers. The newly-generated ZSKs remain in non-published state until their rollover starts, i.e. the time they would be generated in case of automatic key management.

  2. Use the keymgr generate-ksr command on the ZSK side to export the public parts of the future ZSKs in a form similar to DNSKEY records. You might use the same time period as in the first step:

    $ keymgr -c /path/to/ZSK/side.conf example.com. generate-ksr +0 +6mo > /path/to/ksr/file
    

    Save the output of the command (called the Key Signing Request or KSR) to a file and transfer it to the KSK side e.g. via e-mail.

  3. Use the keymgr sign-ksr command on the KSK side with the KSR file from the previous step as a parameter:

    $ keymgr -c /path/to/KSK/side.conf example.com. sign-ksr /path/to/ksr/file > /path/to/skr/file
    

    This creates all the future forms of the DNSKEY, CDNSKEY and CSK records and all the respective RRSIGs and prints them on output. Save the output of the command (called the Signed Key Response or SKR) to a file and transfer it back to the ZSK side.

  4. Use the keymgr import-skr command to import the records and signatures from the SKR file generated in the last step into the KASP DB on the ZSK side:

    $ keymgr -c /path/to/ZSK/side.conf example.com. import-skr /path/to/skr/file
    
  5. Use the knotc zone-sign command to trigger a zone re-sign on the ZSK-side and set up the future re-signing events correctly.:

    $ knotc -c /path/to/ZSK/side.conf zone-sign example.com.
    
  6. Now the future ZSKs and DNSKEY records with signatures are ready in KASP DB for later usage. Knot automatically uses them in correct time intervals. The entire procedure must to be repeated before the time period selected at the beginning passes, or whenever a configuration is changed significantly. Over-importing new SKR across some previously-imported one leads to deleting the old offline records.

Export/import KASP DB

If you would like make a backup of your KASP DB or transfer your cryptographic keys to a different server, you may utilize the mdb_dump and mdb_load tools provided by the lmdb-utils package on Ubuntu and Debian or by the lmdb package on Fedora, CentOS and RHEL. These tools allow you to convert the contents of any LMDB database to a portable plain text format which can be imported to any other LMDB database. Note that the keys subdirectory of the kasp-db directory containing the *.pem files has to be copied separately.

Note

Make sure to freeze DNSSEC events on a running server prior to applying the following commands to its KASP DB. Use the knotc zone-freeze and knotc zone-thaw commands as described in Reading and editing the zone file safely.

Use the mdb_dump -a command with the configured kasp-db directory as an argument to convert the contents of the LMDB database to a portable text format:

$ mdb_dump -a /path/to/keys

Save the output of the command to a text file. You may then import the file into a different LMDB database using the mdb_load -f command, supplying the path to the file and the path to the database directory as arguments:

$ mdb_load -f /path/to/dump_file /path/to/keys

Note

Depending on your use case, it might be necessary to call knotc zone-sign (e.g. to immediately sign the zones with the new imported keys) or knotc zone-reload (e.g. to refresh DNSSEC signatures generated by the geoip module) after importing new content into the KASP DB of a running server.

Daemon controls

Knot DNS was designed to allow server reconfiguration on-the-fly without interrupting its operation. Thus it is possible to change both configuration and zone files and also add or remove zones without restarting the server. This can be done with:

$ knotc reload

If you want to refresh the slave zones, you can do this with:

$ knotc zone-refresh

Statistics

The server provides some general statistics and optional query module statistics (see mod-stats).

Server statistics or global module statistics can be shown by:

$ knotc stats
$ knotc stats server             # Show all server counters
$ knotc stats mod-stats          # Show all mod-stats counters
$ knotc stats server.zone-count  # Show specific server counter

Per zone statistics can be shown by:

$ knotc zone-stats example.com mod-stats

To show all supported counters even with 0 value use the force option.

A simple periodic statistic dumping to a YAML file can also be enabled. See Statistics section for the configuration details.

As the statistics data can be accessed over the server control socket, it is possible to create an arbitrary script (Python is supported at the moment) which could, for example, publish the data in the JSON format via HTTP(S) or upload the data to a more efficient time series database. Take a look into the python folder of the project for these scripts.