# Configuring Zowe certificates in a key ring (Beta Technical Preview)

Beginning with Zowe 1.15 release, Zowe is including the ability to work with certificates held in a z/OS Keyring. Support for Keyring certificates is currently incomplete and being provided as a beta technical preview for early preview by customers. If you have any feedback using keyrings please create an issue in https://git.com/zowe/community. It is expected that in a future release keyring support will be made available as a fully supported feature.

To configure Zowe certificates in a key ring, run the ZWEKRING JCL which contains the security commands to create the key ring and manage the certificates that Zowe will use. The ZWEKRING JCL is provided as part of the PDS sample library SZWESAMP that is delivered with Zowe.

Before you submit the JCL, you must customize it and review it with a system programmer who is familiar with z/OS certificates and key rings.

After you run ZWEKRING successfully, you must run the script zowe-setup-certificates.sh which will create the keystore directory KEYSTORE_DIRECTORY in USS. Depending on how you have customized the ZWEKRING member, you need to customize the configuration file zowe-setup-certificates.env that is used to create the KEYSTORE_DIRECTORY.

# Scenarios

The ZWEKRING JCL helps you create a key ring that contains a certificate and a local certificate authority that is used to self-sign the certificate.

Other scenarios (such as importing an existing certificate into the ZoweKeyring) are described in the ZWEKRING JCL with the commands commented out) but are not currently documented and have not been fully tested. If you find any issues, please raise a GitHub issue in the zowe-install-packaging repo. Future releases of Zowe will provide documentation and support for more key ring scenarios.

# Customizing the ZWEKRING JCL

To customize the ZWEKRING JCL, edit the JCL variables at the beginning of the JCL and carefully review and edit all the security commands that are valid for your security manager. Review the information in this section when you customize the JCL.

# PRODUCT variable

The PRODUCT variable specifies the z/OS security manager. The default value is RACF. Change the value to ACF2 or TSS if you are using Access Control Facility CA-ACF2 or CA Top Secret for z/OS as your z/OS security manager.

//         SET  PRODUCT=RACF         * RACF, ACF2, or TSS


The Zowe certificate is used on the northbound edge of the API Mediation Layer to encrypt data between web browser and other client applications such as the Zowe command line interface. These client applications will validate that the network TCP/IP address that they have accessed the encrypted data from matches the network address in the certificate. If the address does not match, the browser will not continue as it will consider the site as unsecure.

To ensure that the browser is able to establish a secure connection, set the HOSTNAME and IPADDRESS in the ZWEKRING JCL member to match the hostname and TCP/IP address of the Zowe API Mediation Layer.

//*      * Hostname of the system where Zowe is to run
//         SET HOSTNAME=''
//*      * IP address of the system where Zowe is to run
//         SET IPADDRES=''
//*      * Keyring for the Zowe userid

# ZOWERING and LABEL labels

The ZOWERING label is used for the name of the key ring created. The default value is ZoweKeyring. The LABEL label specifies the certificate name and defaults to localhost.

//         SET ZOWERING='ZoweKeyring'
//*      * Zowe's certificate label
//         SET    LABEL='localhost'
  • The value of the ZOWERING label should match the value of the ZOWE_KEYRING variable in the zowe-setup-certificates.env file.
  • The value of the LABEL label should match the value of the KEYSTORE_ALIAS variable in the zowe-setup-certificates.env file.

# ROOTZFCA label

The ROOTZFCA label connects the root CA of the z/OSMF certificate with the Zowe key ring.

When to set this label?

The value of the parameter VERIFY_CERTIFICATES in the zowe-certificates.env file in the KEYSTORE_DIRECTORY controls whether Zowe's servers validate the authenticity of any southbound certificates at runtime. If the value is true, then the certificate must be signed by a recognized certificate authority (CA), and if the value is false then self-signed certificates are allowed. This section of the keystore configuration is only required if you are using VERIFY_CERTIFICATES=true.

When you set VERIFY_CERTIFICATES=true, then Zowe will validate the authenticity of the z/OSMF certificate, so the root CA of the z/OSMF certificate must be connected with the Zowe key ring. You can connect them by setting the label ROOTZFCA.

//*      * Name/Label of the root CA of the z/OSMF certificate
//         SET ROOTZFCA=

If you are unsure of the root CA you can find it by listing the chain of the z/OSMF certificate using the following commands:

  • RACF
  • Top Secret
  • ACF2

# Results

When the ZWEKRING JCL runs successfully, it will create a key ring named ZoweKeyring owned by ZWESVUSR containing the following:

  • The Zowe certificate (called localhost)
  • The local CA (called ZoweCert)
  • The certificate used to encrypt the JSON Web Token (JWT) required for single sign-on (called jwtsecret)

When the zowe-setup-certificates.sh script executes successfully, it will generate the USS KEYSTORE_DIRECTORY that contains the file zowe-certificates.env. This file is used in the Zowe instance configuration step. See Creating and configuring the Zowe instance directory.