SSL certificate management

3.5. SSL certificate management#

In UCS, sensitive data are always sent across the network encrypted, e.g., via the use of SSH for the login to systems or via the use of protocols based on SSL/TLS. (Transport Layer Security (TLS) is the current protocol name, the name of the previous protocol Secure Socket Layer (SSL), however, is still more common and is also used in this documentation).

For example, SSL/TLS is employed in the listener/notifier domain replication or for HTTPS access to UCS web interfaces.

Both communication partners must be able to verify the authenticity of the key used for encrypted communication between two computers. To this end, each computer also features a so-called host certificate, which is issued and signed by a certification authority (CA).

UCS provides its own CA, which is automatically set up during installation of the Primary Directory Node and from which every UCS system automatically procures a certificate for itself and the CA’s public certificate when joining the domain. This CA appears as the root CA, signs its own certificate and can sign certificates for other certification authorities.

The properties of the CA are generated automatically during the installation based on system settings such as the locale. These settings can be subsequently adapted on the Primary Directory Node in the UMC module Certificate settings.


If the UCS domain contains more than one system, all other host certificates need to be reissued after changing the root certificate! The procedure required for this is documented in KB 37 - Renewing the SSL certificates.

The UCS-CA is always found on the Primary Directory Node. A copy of the CA is stored on every Backup Directory Node, which is synchronized with the CA on the Primary Directory Node by a Cron job every 20 minutes.


The CA is synchronized from the Primary Directory Node to the Backup Directory Node and not vice-versa. For this reason, only the CA on the Primary Directory Node should be used.

If a Backup Directory Node is promoted to the Primary Directory Node (see Converting a Backup Directory Node backup to the new Primary Directory Node), the CA on the new Primary Directory Node can be used directly.

The UCS root certificate has a specified validity period - as do the computer certificates created with it.


Once this period of time elapses, services which encrypt their communication with SSL (e.g., LDAP or domain replication) no longer function.

It is thus necessary to verify the validity of the certificate regularly and to renew the root certificate in time. A Nagios plugin is provided for the monitoring of the validity period. In addition, a warning is shown when opening a UMC module if the root certificate is going to expire soon (the warning period can be specified with the Univention Configuration Registry Variable ssl/validity/warning; the standard value is 30 days).

The renewal of the root certificate and the other host certificates is documented in KB 37 - Renewing the SSL certificates.

On UCS systems, a Cron job verifies the validity of the local computer certificate and the root certificate daily and records the expiry date in the Univention Configuration Registry variables ssl/validity/host (host certificate) and ssl/validity/root (root certificate). The values entered there reflect the number of days since the 1970-01-01.

In Univention Management Console, the effective expiry date of the computer and root certificate can be accessed via the upper right menu and the entry License ‣ License information.