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Authenticate Puppet Enterprise with FreeIPA using LDAP

Using a Linux Domain controller such as Red Hat Identity Management or FreeIPA? If so then the fields are a bit different than some other LDAP interfaces, which makes it difficult for some to connect to for authentication.

Here is a quick how-to on setting up Puppet Enterprise with authentication from FreeIPA. I am assuming that you already have Puppet Enterprise installed with eyaml configured. If not, then you may want to visit these prerequisites.

Installing Puppet Enterprise

Setting up Encrypted YAML (eyaml)

I am using the Roles and Profiles design pattern. If you’re not familiar with the Roles and Profiles method, then make sure to read up on it first.

Setup of FreeIPA server

I used the forge module addulact/freeipa to set up my FreeIPA server. I created a profile such as this:

After grouping and classifying my FreeIPA domain controller to use this profile, I ran the Puppet agent and watched as FreeIPA was installed.


If the installation of FreeIPA server fails for any reason, then you must uninstall FreeIPA before you try again. Do this by running /usr/sbin/ipa-server-install --uninstall.

If managing DNS with FreeIPA, then the zone must not be managed anywhere else that can be found with the configured DNS servers. This is why I chose to use a local extension to the domain.

Setup of FreeIPA client

I used the same forge module to configure the client and created a profile for the IPA client that was attached to my linux baseline profile.

This profile sets up the ipa-client on the Linux nodes to authenticate to FreeIPA. In addition, since I have set up the DNS server in my FreeIPA server, this also adds A and PTR records to the zone.

Configure Puppet Enterprise console to use FreeIPA

I started this step by creating a service account in FreeIPA. You can reference the FreeIPA administration guide section 1.1.1 for more information on how to do this.

After setting up the user account, read up on connecting external directory services to PE.

I'll walk through the settings that I used for the domain example.local

Directory name: FreeIPA

Friendly name for your directory

Hostname: dc01.example.local

FQDN for your FreeIPA domain controller

Port: 636

I chose to use SSL over port 636, but use what your organization requires

Lookup user (optional): uid=svc_ldap_pe,cn=users,cn=accounts,dc=example,dc=local

Although this is optional for Puppet Enterprise, FreeIPA requires auth to browse directory, at least with defaults

Lookup password (optional)

Not optional for FreeIPA with default settings

Connection timeout (seconds): 30

You will probably want to adjust this according to your environment and latency thresholds

Validate the hostname: checked

With this being authentication, I want to validate hostnames match certs

Base distinguished name: cn=accounts,dc=example,dc=local

This is going to be the base search path for LDAP queries

User login attribute: uid

This is where one of the variances are with other LDAP servers such as Active Directory

User email address: mail

User full name: displayName

Group object class: ipausergroup

This is where one of the variances are with other LDAP servers, such as Active Directory

Group membership field: member

Group name attribute: cn

This is where one of the variances are with other LDAP servers such as Active Directory

Group lookup attribute: cn

Search nested groups: checked

I checked this in my lab to be able to search nested groups, but this can cause a performance impact

After you populate these fields, you should click Test Changes to ensure successful connection, then click Commit Changes to save the changes.

Congratulations, you have configured Puppet Enterprise to authenticate against FreeIPA, but you are not done yet. Next you will need to go in and map what FreeIPA groups have permissions to perform actions in Puppet Enterprise. Take a look at our docs on how to do this here.

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