Chapter 10. Cloning Subsystems

When a new subsystem instance is first configured, the Red Hat Certificate System allows subsystems to be cloned, or duplicated, for high availability of the Certificate System. The cloned instances run on different machines to avoid a single point of failure and their databases are synchronized through replication.
The master CA and its clones are functionally identical, they only differ in serial number assignments and CRL generation. Therefore, this chapter refers to master or any of its clones as replicated CAs.

10.1. Backing up Subsystem Keys from a Software Database

Ideally, the keys for the master instance are backed up when the instance is first created. If the keys were not backed up then or if the backup file is lost, then it is possible to extract the keys from the internal software database for the subsystem instance using the PKCS12Export utility. For example:
PKCS12Export -debug -d /var/lib/pki/instance_name/alias -w p12pwd.txt -p internal.txt -o master.p12
Then copy the PKCS #12 file to the clone machine to be used in the clone instance configuration. For more details, see Section 2.8.4, “Cloning and Key Stores”.


Keys cannot be exported from an HSM. However, in a typical deployment, HSMs support networked access, as long as the clone instance is installed using the same HSM as the master. If both instances use the same key store, then the keys are naturally available to the clone.
If backing up keys from the HSM is required, contact the HSM manufacturer for assistance.