Getting started

Initial configuration

On the first run of the debops.dhparam role, Ansible will generate a set of Diffie-Hellman parameters (one or more, depending on what key sizes are configured) and store them on the Ansible Controller, in secret/ directory managed by the debops.secret role. This set of DH parameters will be used to "preseed" the remote hosts during initial Ansible playbook run to make configuration of new hosts faster without the need to wait for new DH parameters to be generated, which might take some time.

If atd service is installed and configured on the remote host (using the debops.atd role), and parameter initialization is enabled, the role on first run will create a batch job which will regenerate the DH parameters on the remote hosts to make them unique. This will be done in the background with lower process priority to minimize impact on the host performance. This way, the preseeded DH parameters can be used right away, and when new parameters are ready, they will automatically replace the preseeded ones.

Periodically (by default monthly) DH generator script will be run again, to regenerate the DH parameters – this can be disabled as well if needed.

Configuration of DH parameters in applications

Diffie-Hellman parameters managed by debops.dhparam can be found in the /etc/pki/dhparam/ directory. By default, the role creates one set of parameters, set0 with 3072 bit parameter length. You can increase the number of sets, to use different DH parameters in different applications – each one will be automatically preseeded by the pre-generated parameters, and managed by regeneration script.

An example usage in a nginx configuration file:

# Configuration in nginx server using a symlink
ssl_dhparam /etc/pki/dhparam/set0

# Configuration in nginx using the DH parameters directly
ssl_dhparam /etc/pki/dhparam/params/set0/dh3072.pem

Use of DH parameters in Ansible roles

To make the Ansible configuration portable, debops.dhparam creates a set of Ansible local facts which can be used by other roles to get the path to DH parameters correctly using Ansible variables. These facts can be found in ansible_local.dhparam.* dictionary and can be used by other roles as:

# Specify the absolute path to the DH parameters
role__dhparam: '{{ (ansible_local.dhparam[role__dhparam_set]
                    if (ansible_local|d() and ansible_local.dhparam|d() and
                   else "") }}'

# Specify default parameter set to use
role__dhparam_set: 'default'

Those two variables allow to easily change the default set of DH parameters to a different one, or specify the path to DH parameters file directly. The d() pattern in the first variable is a short version of default() Jinja filter and ensures that if the debops.dhparam role was not configured, Ansible will not stop execution and instead will template an empty role_dhparam variable which this role can check and disable DH parameter support if necessary.

Because the configuration is passed using local Ansible facts, debops.dhparam role doesn't need to be used as a role dependency.

If any special operations have to be done when DH parameters file is replaced, you can create scripts in /etc/pki/dhparam/hooks.d/ directory (or '{{ ansible_local.dhparam.hooks }}'). These hooks will be executed using the run-parts command after all DH parameters have been regenerated.

Example inventory

In DebOps, the debops.dhparam role is included in the common.yml playbook and is run automatically on all of the managed hosts. You don't need to specifically enable it in Ansible's inventory.

Example playbook

If you are using this role without DebOps, here's an example Ansible playbook that uses the debops.dhparam role:


- name: Manage Diffie-Hellman parameters
  collections: [ 'debops.debops', 'debops.roles01',
                 'debops.roles02', 'debops.roles03' ]
  hosts: [ 'debops_all_hosts', 'debops_service_dhparam' ]
  become: True

  environment: '{{ inventory__environment | d({})
                   | combine(inventory__group_environment | d({}))
                   | combine(inventory__host_environment  | d({})) }}'


    - role: cron
      tags: [ 'role::cron', 'skip::cron' ]

    - role: dhparam
      tags: [ 'role::dhparam', 'skip::dhparam' ]