Chapter 12. Message queuing

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Message queuing services facilitate inter-process communication in OpenStack. This is done using these message queuing service back ends:

  • RabbitMQ - Red Hat OpenStack Platform uses RabbitMQ by default.
  • Qpid

Both RabbitMQ and Qpid are Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) frameworks, which provide message queues for peer-to-peer communication. Queue implementations are typically deployed as a centralized or decentralized pool of queue servers.

Message queues effectively facilitate command and control functions across OpenStack deployments. Once access to the queue is permitted, no further authorization checks are performed. Services accessible through the queue do validate the contexts and tokens within the actual message payload. However, you must note the expiration date of the token because tokens are potentially re-playable and can authorize other services in the infrastructure.

OpenStack does not support message-level confidence, such as message signing. Consequently, you must secure and authenticate the message transport itself. For high-availability (HA) configurations, you must perform queue-to-queue authentication and encryption.

12.1. Messaging security

This section discusses security hardening approaches for the three most common message queuing solutions used in OpenStack: RabbitMQ and Qpid.

12.2. Messaging transport security

AMQP based solutions (Qpid and RabbitMQ) support transport-level security using TLS.

Consider enabling transport-level cryptography for your message queue. Using TLS for the messaging client connections provides protection of the communications from tampering and eavesdropping in-transit to the messaging server. Guidance is included below on how TLS is typically configured for the two popular messaging servers: Qpid and RabbitMQ. When configuring the trusted certificate authority (CA) bundle that your messaging server uses to verify client connections, it is recommended that this be limited to only the CA used for your nodes, preferably an internally managed CA. The bundle of trusted CAs will determine which client certificates will be authorized and pass the client-server verification step of the setting up the TLS connection.


When installing the certificate and key files, ensure that the file permissions are restricted, for example using chmod 0600, and the ownership is restricted to the messaging server daemon user to prevent unauthorized access by other processes and users on the messaging server.

12.2.1. RabbitMQ server SSL configuration

The following lines should be added to the system-wide RabbitMQ configuration file, typically /etc/rabbitmq/rabbitmq.config:

  {rabbit, [
     {tcp_listeners, [] },
     {ssl_listeners, [{"<IP address or hostname of management network interface>", 5671}] },
     {ssl_options, [{cacertfile,"/etc/ssl/cacert.pem"},

The tcp_listeners option is set to [] to prevent it from listening on a non-SSL port. The ssl_listeners option should be restricted to only listen on the management network for the services.

12.3. Queue authentication and access control

RabbitMQ and Qpid offer authentication and access control mechanisms for controlling access to queues.

Simple Authentication and Security Layer (SASL) is a framework for authentication and data security in Internet protocols. Both RabbitMQ and Qpid offer SASL and other pluggable authentication mechanisms beyond simple usernames and passwords that allow for increased authentication security. While RabbitMQ supports SASL, support in OpenStack does not currently allow for requesting a specific SASL authentication mechanism. RabbitMQ support in OpenStack allows for either username and password authentication over an unencrypted connection or user name and password in conjunction with X.509 client certificates to establish the secure TLS connection.

Consider configuring X.509 client certificates on all the OpenStack service nodes for client connections to the messaging queue and where possible (currently only Qpid) perform authentication with X.509 client certificates. When using usernames and passwords, accounts should be created per-service and node for finer grained auditability of access to the queue.

Before deployment, consider the TLS libraries that the queuing servers use. Qpid uses Mozilla’s NSS library, whereas RabbitMQ uses Erlang’s TLS module which uses OpenSSL.

12.3.1. OpenStack service configuration for RabbitMQ

This section describes the typical RabbitMQ configuration for OpenStack services:

rpc_backend = nova.openstack.common.rpc.impl_kombu
rabbit_use_ssl = True
rabbit_host = RABBIT_HOST
rabbit_port = 5671
rabbit_user = compute01
rabbit_password = RABBIT_PASS
kombu_ssl_keyfile = /etc/ssl/node-key.pem
kombu_ssl_certfile = /etc/ssl/node-cert.pem
kombu_ssl_ca_certs = /etc/ssl/cacert.pem

Replace RABBIT_PASS with a suitable password.

12.3.2. OpenStack service configuration for Qpid

This section describes the typical Qpid configuration for OpenStack services:

rpc_backend = nova.openstack.common.rpc.impl_qpid
qpid_protocol = ssl
qpid_hostname = <IP or hostname of management network interface of messaging server>
qpid_port = 5671
qpid_username = compute01
qpid_password = QPID_PASS

Replace QPID_PASS with a suitable password.

Optionally, if using SASL with Qpid specify the SASL mechanisms in use by adding:

qpid_sasl_mechanisms = <space separated list of SASL mechanisms to use for auth>

12.4. Message queue process isolation and policy

Each project provides a number of services which send and consume messages. Each binary which sends a message is expected to consume messages, if only replies, from the queue.

Message queue service processes should be isolated from each other and other processes on a machine.

12.4.1. Namespaces

Neutron and Open vSwitch (OVS) networking run within namespaces, however certain OVS host services do not, including vswitchd, libvirtd, and QEMU. When running a containerised control plane, all control plane services run within network namespaces by default. Network namespaces are highly recommended for all services running on Compute hypervisors (as they run the AMQP services). This approach can help prevent against the bridging of network traffic between instances and the management network.

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