Configuring KMIP

Using Encryption with a KMIP Appliance

KMIP is a standard protocol for accessing third party key management systems.

The Zenko KMIP driver requires a KMIP version 1.2 or later server. The server must also support the following KMIP profiles:

  • Baseline Server Profile (TLS transport and TTLV encoding)
  • Symmetric Key Lifecycle Server Profile
  • Basic Cryptographic Server Profile

Configure KMIP

To use KMIP server to manage bucket encryption keys, cd to kubernetes/zenko/charts/cloudserver/ and edit values.yaml.

The default settings for this section are:

   enabled: false
   port: 5696
   hosts: []
   compoundCreate: false
   bucketAttributeName: ''
   pipelineDepth: 8


  • enabled activates the feature. Set it to true.

  • port (default value is 5696) sets the TCP port to which the KMIP server listens.

  • hosts (undefined by default). Array of one host name or IP address for the KMIP server.

  • compoundCreate (default value is false). Enable this option if the KMIP server supports creation and activation in a single operation. Leave it disabled to prevent clock desynchronization issues in two-step creation processes. (Two-step creation relies on the server time, rather than the client-specified activation date, for “now”, resulting in desynchronization.)

  • bucketAttributeName (default value is empty). Set the bucket name attribute here if the KMIP server supports storing custom attributes along with the keys. KMIP appliances reference managed objects using an unfriendly identifier that is not related to the bucket to which the key belongs. This option enables you to specify an attribute name to store the name of the bucket to which the key belongs. Leaving this option unset does not affect operation, but setting it can facilitate debugging and administration.

  • pipelineDepth (default value is 8). This value specifies the request pipeline depth. If the server replies out of order and confuses the client, a value of 1 can provides a convenient workaround for this kind of server-side bug. Otherwise, there is almost no performance improvement to be gained from tuning this value away from 8.


    Zero is not an appropriate value. Zenko will fall back to 1.

The KMIP protocol uses certificates for client authentication. The key, cert and ca files must be stored in the kubernetes/zenko/charts/cloudserver/ directory and the file names must comply with the following pattern: kmip-XYZ.pem where XYZ is replaced with a meaningful word, as in: kubernetes/zenko/charts/cloudserver/kmip-ca.pem kubernetes/zenko/charts/cloudserver/kmip-cert.pem kubernetes/zenko/charts/cloudserver/kmip-key.pem

When you’ve reconfigured the KMIP settings in values.yaml, deploy or upgrade Zenko with a Helm command:

$ helm upgrade {{zenko-server-name}} .


Even though it may appear to work with the Safenet appliance, this configuration is not compatible with, and its operation is mutually exclusive to that of the proprietary Safenet NAE KMS protocol. There is no migration path from Safenet NAE to KMIP.

The KMIP protocol does not provide the service introspection operations required to implement high availability, automatic failover, or load balancing on multiple appliances. Failover must be handled manually at the appliance level, which is beyond the scope of this driver.

Despite the KMIP configuration’s lack of high availability and scalability at the protocol level, the cluster administrator must ensure that the KMIP service is properly replicated, to ensure the durability of the keys and thus the data stored in encrypted buckets.

The KMIP protocol does not provide the operations needed to implement key rotation at the appliance level.