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09/27/2020: Apache NiFi in a Container With X.509 Certificate Authentication


To run Apache NiFi inside a Docker container supporting HTTPS using an X.509 certificate for authentication.


This information is on various web sites. I’m not treading any new ground. But I am going to show the whole process in one place which I have not quite seen before.


Certificate Generation

Following information from https://mintopsblog.com/2017/11/01/apache-nifi-configuration/, this section generates the certficates needed for SSL.

  • Start a throw-away container. You’ll run the NiFi toolkit from this container.
docker run --rm --name toolkit -d apache/nifi
  • The tls-toolkit.sh script will be used to create the required self-signed certificate, keystore, truststore and pre-configured nifi.properties. It also creates a client certificate and password. If you are running these commands more than once, make sure you are not overwritting important files in the conf directory. You have been warned!
docker exec \
  -ti toolkit \
  /opt/nifi/nifi-toolkit-current/bin/tls-toolkit.sh \
    standalone \
    -n 'nifi1.bluejay.local' \
    -C 'CN=admin, OU=NIFI'

# Copy the public certificate of the Certificate Authority.
docker cp toolkit:/opt/nifi/nifi-current/nifi-cert.pem        conf
# Copy the Base64-encoded private key of the Certificate Authority in PKCS #1 PEM format.
docker cp toolkit:/opt/nifi/nifi-current/nifi-key.key         conf

docker cp toolkit:/opt/nifi/nifi-current/nifi1.bluejay.local  conf
docker cp toolkit:/opt/nifi/nifi-current/nifi2.bluejay.local  conf
docker cp toolkit:/opt/nifi/nifi-current/nifi3.bluejay.local  conf

docker cp toolkit:/opt/nifi/nifi-current/CN=admin_OU=NIFI.p12      conf
docker cp toolkit:/opt/nifi/nifi-current/CN=admin_OU=NIFI.password conf

docker stop toolkit

NOTE: Use nifi[1-3].bluejay.local if you need to generate certificates for multiple NiFi nodes.

NOTE: Spaces matter in the CN=admin, OU-NIFI identity. They are not needed but be consistent.

  • Add the client certificate to your browser by importing the .p12 file.

  • Update your /etc/hosts file with the following line so you can use the hostname instead of an IP address. nifi1.bluejay.local

Apache NiFi

  • Create the NiFi container. The newly created certificates are made available as /opt/certs.
docker run -d \
  -e AUTH=tls \
  -e KEYSTORE_PATH=/opt/certs/keystore.jks \
  -e KEYSTORE_PASSWORD=$(grep keystorePasswd conf/nifi1.bluejay.local/nifi.properties | cut -d'=' -f2) \
  -e TRUSTSTORE_PATH=/opt/certs/truststore.jks \
  -e TRUSTSTORE_PASSWORD=$(grep truststorePasswd conf/nifi1.bluejay.local/nifi.properties | cut -d'=' -f2) \
  -e NIFI_WEB_PROXY_HOST=nifi1.bluejay.local \
  --hostname nifi1.bluejay.local \
  --name nifi \
  -p 8443:8443 \
  -v $(pwd)/conf/nifi1.bluejay.local:/opt/certs:ro \
  -v /data/projects/nifi-shared:/opt/nifi/nifi-current/ls-target \
  • Watch until the container is ready. You are looking for the NiFi has started. The UI is available message.
docker logs -f nifi
  • Visit the NiFi page.
xdg-open https://nifi1.bluejay.local:8443/nifi
  • Logs inside the container are located at /opt/nifi/nifi-current/logs. The files are:
    • nifi-app.log
    • nifi-bootstrap.log - contains the start command and parameters.
    • nifi-user.log

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