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Using Certificates with Images

This page provides details for using certificates with the Ping Identity images. Specifically, it outlines the preferred locations to place the certificate and PIN/key files to provide best security practices and enable use by the underlying Ping Identity product.

Currently, certificates can be provided to the PingData products when the containers are started.

Before you begin

You must:

  • Complete Get started to set up your DevOps environment and run a test deployment of the products.
  • Strongly recommended: Have a secrets management system, such as Hashicorp Vault, that holds your certificate and places them into your SECRETS_DIR (/run/secrets).

For information on using a vault, if you have one, see Using Hashicorp Vault.

About this topic

The following examples explain how to deploy a certificate/PIN combination to an image in a secure way.

PingData Image Certificates

The PingData products (PingDirectory, PingDataSync, PingAuthorize, and PingDirectoryProxy) use a file location to determine certificates/PIN files:

  • It is best practice to use a non-persistent location, such as /run/secrets, to store these files.
  • If no certificate is provided, the container/product will generate a self-signed certificate.

The default location for certificates and associated files are listed below, assuming a default SECRETS_DIR variable of /run/secrets.

Variable Used Default Location/Value
Keystore (JKS) KEYSTORE_FILE keystore Java KeyStore (JKS) Format. Set as default in absence of .p12 suffix
Keystore (PKCS12) KEYSTORE_FILE keystore.p12 PKCS12 Format
Keystore Type KEYSTORE_TYPE jks or pkcs12 Based on suffix of KEYSTORE_FILE
Truststore (JKS) TRUSTSTORE_FILE truststore Set as default in absence of .p12 suffix
Truststore (PKCS12) TRUSTSTORE_FILE truststore.p12 PKCS12 Format
Truststore Type TRUSTSTORE_TYPE jks or pkcs12 Based on suffix of TRUSTSTORE_FILE
Certificate Nickname CERTIFICATE_NICKNAME see below


There is an additional certificate-based variable used to identity the certificate alias used within the KEYSTORE_FILE. That variable is called CERTIFICATE_NICKNAME, which identifies the certificate to use by the server in the KEYSTORE_FILE. If a value is not provided, the container will look at the list certs found in the KEYSTORE_FILE and if one - and only one - certificate is found of type PrivateKeyEntry, that alias will be used.

Specifying your own location for a certificate

If you are relying on certificates to be mounted to a different locations than the SECRET_DIR location or a different filename, you can provide your own values for those variables identified above. As an example:


PingData image certificate rotation

The certificate rotation process for PingData products varies depending on which product is being configured and whether that product is in a topology. For products that are not in a topology, certificates can be rotated by simply updating the environment variables. For products in a topology, certificate rotation must be done via a command-line call with the servers in the topology online.

Rotating the listener certificate by adjusting environment variables

The process described in this section can be used for PingAuthorize, PingDirectoryProxy, and standalone (single-server) instances of PingDirectory or PingDataSync.


If PingDirectory or PingDataSync is deployed with multiple servers, use the process described in the next section.

As mentioned above, for the PingData products there are variables defining the server truststore and keystore. To change certificates, you will need to update the contents of the truststore or keystore in your server profile or secret store. After you update the contents, restart the container. The changes will be picked up automatically when the server restarts. If you have multiple certificates in the keystore, you can use the above-mentioned CERTIFICATE_NICKNAME variable to specify the certificate. The container will pick up that certificate from those stored in the keystore. For updating the product to use the new certificates, perform a rolling update. This action ensures that other servers will remain available as each pod is cycled.

Rolling Update

Verify that remaining pods in the cluster have sufficient capacity to handle the increased load during the rolling update.

Rotating the listener certificate with the replace-certificate command-line tool

If multiple PingDataSync or PingDirectory servers are running in a topology, then the servers must be online when updating the listener certificate. Updates to certificates with one or more servers offline (such as rolling updates) can lead to connection issues with the other members of the topology when those servers come back online. Use the PingData replace-certificate command-line tool to update certificates with the server online.

Shell into the running instance that needs to be updated, and ensure the keystore containing the needed certificate is mounted on the container. Then, run replace-certificate. Replace the --key-manager-provider and --trust-manager-provider values if necessary when using a non-JKS keystore, as well as the --source-certificate-alias value if necessary.

replace-certificate replace-listener-certificate \
    --key-manager-provider JKS \
    --trust-manager-provider JKS \
    --source-key-store-file /run/secrets/newkeystore \
    --source-key-store-password-file /run/secrets/ \
    --source-certificate-alias server-cert \

For more information on this command, run

replace-certificate replace-listener-certificate --help

Running the first command will replace the listener certificate and notify other servers in the topology that this server's certificate has changed.

To update certificates for the other servers in the topology, follow this same process, shelling into each individual instance.

Once this is done, the running pods have been updated. To ensure a restart does not undo these changes, verify that your server profile and orchestration environment variables are updated to point to the new certificates. For example, if you have modified your server configuration to point to /run/secrets/newkeystore, then you must update your KEYSTORE_FILE environment variable to point to that new keystore after you have completed the replace-certificate process on each server.

Non-PingData image certificates

For non-PingData images, such as PingAccess and PingFederate, the certificates are managed within the product configurations.