Skip to main content
Star us on GitHub Star

Controller Configuration Reference

OpenZiti uses configuration files for controllers that are in the YAML format. All configuration files are also subject to a set of conventions such as environment variable substitution, identity sections, and addressing formats.


The controller configuration file has several top level configuration sections that group together related configuration settings.

  • ctrl - define control channel listener
  • db - specifies database file location
  • edge - configures edge specific functionality
  • events - allows configuration of event output
  • healthChecks - enables controller database health checks for transactions
  • identity - configures the certificates used for outbound client connections, server listening, and CA bundles
  • network - set network level cost values
  • profile - enables profiling of controller memory and CPU statistics
  • trace - adds a peek handler to all controller messaging for debug purposes
  • web - configures API presentation exposure
  • v - A special section to note the version of the configuration file, only v: 3 is currently supported

The standard OpenZiti experience minimally requires the following sections:

  • ctrl
  • db
  • identity
  • edge
  • web
  • v

Of those values, to start the controller only the ctrl, db, v, and identity sections are required. However, not including the edge section will start the controller in "fabric only" mode and will not support any edge functionality or concepts (identities, JWT enrollment, 3rd Party CAs, policies, etc.). Not including the web section will result in none of the REST APIs (Fabric Management API, Edge Client API, Edge Management API, Health Check API) being started. Without the Edge and Fabric Management APIs running administration of the network will be impossible. Without the Edge Client API running it will be impossible for Edge clients to connect to services.

Example Minimum Controller Configuration:

v: 3

db: ctrl.db

cert: ctrl-client.cert.pem
server_cert: ctrl-server.cert.pem
key: ctrl.key.pem
ca: ca-chain.cert.pem

listener: tls:

cert: intermediate.cert.pem
key: intermediate.key.pem

- name: all-apis-localhost
- interface:
- binding: fabric
- binding: edge-management
- binding: edge-client


The ctrl section configures how the controller will listen for incoming connections from routers. This includes the protocol(s) used for router connections and how those connections are managed.

  • listener - (required) is in the format of <protocol>:<interface>:<port> format. The value set here must be resolvable by routers and correspond the routers ctrl.endpoint configuration value. See addressing.
  • options - a set of option which includes the below options and those defined in channel options
    • newListener - (optional) an <protocol>:<interface>:<port> address that is sent to routers to indicate a controller address migration. Should only be specified when the new listener address is reachable as clients will begin to use the new value on restart

Example w/o options:

listener: tls:

Example w/ options:

listener: tls:
maxQueuedConnects: 1000
maxOutstandingConnects: 16
connectTimeoutMs: 1000
writeTimeout: 15s


The db section is a single scalar value that defines the path to the database file that the controller should use. OpenZiti uses a file backed in memory database. This path may be on the same or different drive. This section is required.


db: /mnt/fast-drive/db/ctrl.db


The edge section instructs the controller to start the edge components. If the section is not defined, all edge functionality will be disabled. This includes all features associated with identities (e.g. identity enrollment), 3rd Party CAs, policies, edge router connections, posture checks, and more. It is highly unlikely that this section should be omitted.

The edge section also has the following subsections:

  • api - (required) defines API specific configuration
  • enrollment - (required) defines enrollment specific configuration

Example Minimum Edge:

cert: intermediate.cert.pem
key: intermediate.key.pem

Example Fully Defined:

activityUpdateInterval: 90s
activityUpdateBatchSize: 250
sessionTimeout: 30m
cert: intermediate.cert.pem
key: intermediate.key.pem
duration: 5m
duration: 5m


The api section within the edge section defines API specific functionality.

  • activityUpdateInterval - (optional) the interval used to buffer API Session usage notices
  • sessionTimeout - (optional) The amount of time an Edge API Session remains alive after the last REST API Request was processed or the last Edge Router connection for an API Session was closed
  • address - (required) the <host>:<port> combination that should be used to externally resolve to the Edge Client API

For activityUpdateInterval, Edge Routers report connected API Sessions periodically and the controller tracks REST API requests. activityUpdateInterval defines the interval those updates are collated and buffered over. This is done to reduce the number of database writes required to persist API Session activity data. During the interval period the controller will buffer updates and flush at the end. Increasing this interval may increase the chance of unsaved updates on controller crash or kill. Decreasing it will increase the frequency of database writes. The default should be sufficient.

The address setting is unique as it must match the address in a bindPoint for the edge-client API. This is to ensure that responses and data persisted outside the system can reach the controller. An example of this is enrollment JWTs that contain the URL that is used to complete enrollment via the Edge Client API.


The enrollment section under edge defines values that pertain specifically to identity and router enrollment. This includes the certificate and private key used to sign certificates as well as enrolment JWT lifetimes.

The enrolment section has these subsection:

  • signingCert - (required) defines the certificate and key used to sign identity and router certificates
  • edgeIdentity - (optional) controls identity enrollment options
  • edgeRouter - (optional) controls router enrollment options


An object defining the cert and key used to issue certificates to identities and routers.

  • cert - (required) the x509 PEM formatted certificate of the CA that the controller will use to issue edge identity certificates
  • key - (required) the x509 PEM formatted private key for the certificate defined in cert

OpenZiti clients rely on the controller to provide a bundle of trusted certificates during enrollment. The bundle is specified by the field and points to a file on the server containing the bundle of trusted certificates. The signing certificate must be included in this file.


The edgeIdentity section controls the lifetime of identity enrollment JWTs. It has only one value:

  • duration - (optional) the lifetime of identity enrollment JWTs


The edgeRouter section controls the lifetime of router enrollment JWTs. It has only one value:

  • duration - (optional) the lifetime of router enrollment JWTs


The events section allows for the definition of multiple event loggers with their own handler and event subscriptions. Handlers define the type, format, and destination for events. Subscriptions handle which events are routed to the handler. This allows different events to be output in different manners or to different locations.

The events section is an array of named objects. The name (jsonLogger in the example below) is used for configuration error output only. Each logger has a subscriptions and handler section. The subscriptions section is an array of objects with fields associated with the event type. Specifying an event type will cause it to be output via the defined handler. If an event type is omitted, it will not be output. The list of valid event types and their options is as follows:

  • edge.apiSessions - (optional) Edge API Session events
    • include - (optional) a string or array of strings that specify which API session events to include ("created" and/or " deleted")
  • edge.entityCounts - (optional) Edge entity counts (API Sessions, sessions, routers, etc.)
    • interval - (optional) the time interval to generate entity count events on (e.g. "5s", "5000ms", "1h")
  • edge.sessions - (optional) Edge Session events
    • include - (optional) a string or array of strings that specify which session events to include ("created" and/or "deleted")
  • fabric.circuits - (optional) Fabric circuit events
    • include - (optional) a string or array of strings that specify which circuit events to include ("created", " pathUpdated", " deleted", "failed")
  • fabric.links - - (optional) Fabric link events
  • fabric.routers - (optional) Fabric router events
  • fabric.usage - (optional) Fabric usage events
    • version - (optional) a string representing the value of the usage event to use ("2' or "3")
  • metrics - (optional) - System-wide metrics
    • sourceFilter - (optional) a regular expression to match the source name value on
    • metricFilter - (optional) a regular expression to match the metric name value on
  • services - (optional) Service events

The properties in the handler section depend on handler type (one of file, stdout, or amqp):

  • common properties for all handler types
    • format - (required) the format of events for the type (json or plain)
  • type file
    • path - (conditional) used the "file" type, the path of the output file
  • type amqp: note that queue and consumer options must match
    • url (required) the URL of the AMQP broker to connect to
    • queue (required) the name of the queue to publish events to
    • durable (optional) whether the queue should be durable between broker runs (default: true)
    • autoDelete (optional) whether the queue should be deleted when there are no consumers (default: false)
    • exclusive (optional) whether the queue should be exclusive to a single consumer (default: false)
    • noWait (optional) whether the controller should wait for the queue to confirm receipt of messages (default: false)

Example JSON File Logger:

- type: fabric.circuits
- type: fabric.links
- type: fabric.routers
- type: fabric.terminators
- type: metrics
sourceFilter: .*
metricFilter: .*
- type: edge.sessions
- type: edge.apiSessions
- type: fabric.usage
- type: services
- type: edge.entityCounts
interval: 5s
type: file
format: json
path: /tmp/ziti-events.log

Example amqp Logger:

- type: fabric.usage
interval: 5s
type: amqp
format: json
url: amqp://guest:guest@localhost:5672
queue: ziti-events
durable: true
autoDelete: false
exclusive: false
noWait: false


The healthChecks section configures how often health checking is performed. As of now, health checks are limited to ensuring the internal database has not deadlocked by attempting to acquire a locking transaction on some interval. Health check status is reported externally on the health-checks API.

  • boltCheck - (optional) bbolt specific configuration
    • interval - (optional, 30s) how often to try entering a bolt read transaction
    • timeout - (optional, 15s) how long to wait for a transaction before timing out
    • initialDelay - (optional, 15s) how long to wait on startup before performing the first check
interval: 30s
timeout: 15s
initialDelay: 15s


The identity section includes the default server certificate and private key used for services hosted by the controller, alternate server certificates and keys to support SNI on hosted services, client certificate and private key when making connections, and the ca bundle that the controller will use when making connections and when bootstrapping identities and routers. See the conventions that apply to all identity sections for field level detail.


The network section sets network wide options.

  • minRouterCost - (optional, 10) the minimum router cost
  • routerConnectionChurnLimit - (optional, 1m) how often a new connection from a router can take over for an existing connection
  • intervalAgeThreshold - (optional, 80s) how old a batch of metrics must be before it's eligible to be emitted
  • metricsReportInterval - (optional, 1m) the frequency at which controller metrics events are emitted


The profile section allows for CPU (pprof) and memory (memprof) dumps to be created. CPU profiling is buffered by the application's runtime and output to the designated file. Memory profiling allows the interval memory profiling occurs at and is output. These settings are useful for debugging purposes only and should not be enabled in production environments without careful consideration.

  • cpu - (optional)
    • path - (required) the path to output the pprof data
  • memory - (optional)
    • path - (required) the path to output the memprof data
    • intervalMs (optional, 15s) the frequency to output memprof data
path: /home/user1/tmp/ctrl.cpu.pprof
path: ctrl.memprof
intervalMs: 150000


The trace section instructs the controller to output incoming and outgoing messaging it receives. This setting is useful for debugging purposes only and should not be enabled in production environments without careful consideration.

  • path - (required) the file to output decoded messages to
path: /var/opt/open.ziti.ctrl.trace


The web section follows the conventions of XWeb. The controller has the following APIs defined:

  • health-checks - provides a health check API that allows remote parties to verify the health of the controller
  • fabric - the Fabric Management API which allows remote administration of a network
  • edge-management - the Edge Management API which allows remote administration of a network's edge components ( identities, policies, authentication, etc.)
  • edge-client - the Edge Client API which allows clients to authenticate and request connections to services

Each API may have their own options, but currently do not.


The v section is used to detect if the version file is supported by the OpenZiti binary read it. The current and only supported value is "3".

v: 3