Before You Start

RPKI is a very modular system and so is Krill. Which parts you need and how you fit them together depends on your situation. Before you begin with installing Krill, there are some basic concepts you should understand and some decisions you need to make.

The Moving Parts

With Krill there are two fundamental pieces at play. The first part is the Certificate Authority (CA), which takes care of all the cryptographic operations involved in RPKI. Secondly, there is the publication server which makes your certificate and ROAs available to the world.

In almost all cases you will need to run the CA that Krill provides under a parent CA, usually your Regional Internet Registry (RIR) or National Internet Registry (NIR). The communication between the parent and the child CA is initiated through the exchange of two XML files, which you need to handle manually: a child request XML and a parent response XML. This involves generating the request file, providing it to your parent, and giving the response file back to your CA.

After this initial exchange has been completed, all subsequent requests and responses are handled by the parent and child CA themselves. This includes the entitlement request and response that determines which resources you receive on your certificate, the certificate request and response, as well as the revoke request and response.

Important

The initial XML file exchange is the only manual step required to get started with Delegated RPKI. All other requests and responses, as well as resigning and renewing certificates and ROAs are automated. As long as Krill is running, it will automatically update the entitled resources on your certificate, as well as reissue certificates, ROAs and all other objects before they expire or become stale. Note that even if Krill does go down, you have 8 hours to bring it back up before data starts going stale.

Whether you also run the Krill publication server depends on if you can, or want to use one offered by a third party. For the general wellbeing of the RPKI ecosystem, we would generally recommend to publish with your parent CA, if available. Setting this up is done in the same way as with the CA: exchanging a publisher request XML and a repository response XML.

Publishing With Your Parent

If you can use a publication server provided by your parent, the installation and configuration of Krill becomes extremely easy. After the installation has completed, you perform the XML exchange twice and you are done.

A repository hosted by the parent CA

Fig. 10 A repository hosted by the parent CA, in this case the RIR or NIR.

Krill is designed to run continuously, but there is no strict uptime requirement for the CA. If the CA is not available you just cannot create or update ROAs. This means you can bring Krill down to perform maintenance or migration, as long as you bring it back up within 8 hours to ensure your cryptographic objects are resigned before they go stale.

Note

This scenario illustrated here also applies if you use an RPKI publication server offered by a third party, such as a cloud provider.

At this time, only Asia Pacific RIR APNIC and Brazilian NIR NIC.br offer a publication server for their members. Several other RIRs have this functionality on their roadmap. This means that in most cases, you will have to publish yourself.

Publishing Yourself

When you publish your certificate and ROAs yourself, you are faced with running a public service with all related responsibilities, such as uptime and DDoS protection.

Krill can be configured with two types of publication server: embedded and stand-alone. Using the embedded publication server is simple, and doesn’t require a publisher request and repository response exchange. However, it is practically impossible to change its configuration after it has been initialised.

For production environments where you may want change strategies over time we recommend running a separate Krill instance acting as a repository only. This also allows you to host a publication server for others, such as children of your own. These can be business units, branches or customers.

Running your own publication server

Fig. 11 Running a publication server for yourself and your children

In this scenario you install Krill on a separate, highly available machine and simply don’t set up any CA. In addition, you will need to run Rsyncd and a web server of your choice to publish your certificate and ROAs.

System Requirements

The system requirements for Krill are quite minimal. The cryptographic operations that need to be performed by the Certificate Authority have a negligible performance and memory impact on any modern day machine.

When you publish ROAs yourself using the Krill publication server in combination with Rsyncd and a web server of your choice, you will see traffic from several hundred relying party software tools querying every few minutes. The total amount of traffic is also negligible for any modern day situation.

Tip

For reference, NLnet Labs runs Krill in production and serves ROAs to the world using a 2 CPU / 2GB RAM / 60GB disk virtual machine. Although we only serve four ROAs and our repository size is 16KB, the situation would not be different if serving 100 ROAs.