Remote Endpoints

Overview

The remote command group allows users to manage the service endpoints Apptainer will interact with for many common command flows. This includes managing credentials for image storage services and key servers used to locate public keys for SIF image verification. Currently, there are three main types of remote endpoints managed by this command group: Library API Registries, OCI registries and keyservers.

You are most likely interacting with remote endpoints on a regular basis using various Apptainer commands: pull, push, build, key, search, verify, exec, shell, run, or instance.

Managing Remote Endpoints

A fresh installation of Apptainer is configured with the DefaultRemote, which does not support the Library API as it is only configured with a functioning key server, https://keys.openpgp.org. Users or administrators should configure one of the Library API implementations listed here if they would like to use a Library API registry.

Users can setup and switch between multiple remote endpoints, which are stored in their ~/.apptainer/remote.yaml file. Alternatively, remote endpoints can be set system-wide by an administrator.

Generally, users and administrators should manage remote endpoints using the apptainer remote command, and avoid editing remote.yaml configuration files directly.

List Remotes

To list existing remote endpoints, run this:

$ apptainer remote list

Cloud Services Endpoints
========================

NAME           URI                  ACTIVE  GLOBAL  EXCLUSIVE
DefaultRemote  cloud.apptainer.org  YES     YES     NO

Keyservers
==========

URI                       GLOBAL  INSECURE  ORDER
https://keys.openpgp.org  YES     NO        1*

The YES in the ACTIVE column for DefaultRemote shows that this is the current default remote endpoint.

Add & Login To Remotes

To add a remote endpoint (for the current user only):

$ apptainer remote add <remote_name> <remote_uri>

For example, if you have an installation of Apptainer enterprise hosted at enterprise.example.com:

$ apptainer remote add myremote https://enterprise.example.com

INFO:    Remote "myremote" added.
INFO:    Authenticating with remote: myremote
Generate an API Key at https://enterprise.example.com/auth/tokens, and paste here:
API Key:

You will be prompted to setup an API key as the remote is added. The web address needed to do this will always be given.

To add a global remote endpoint (available to all users on the system) an administrative user should run:

$ sudo apptainer remote add --global <remote_name> <remote_uri>

# example..

$ sudo apptainer remote add --global company-remote https://enterprise.example.com
INFO:    Remote "company-remote" added.
INFO:    Global option detected. Will not automatically log into remote.

Note

Global remote configurations can only be modified by the root user and are stored in the etc/apptainer/remote.yaml file, at the Apptainer installation location.

To login to a remote, for the first time or if your token expires or was revoked:

# Login to the default remote endpoint
$ apptainer remote login

# Login to another remote endpoint
$ apptainer remote login <remote_name>

# example...
$ apptainer remote login myremote
apptainer remote login myremote
INFO:    Authenticating with remote: myremote
Generate an API Key at https://enterprise.example.com/auth/tokens, and paste here:
API Key:
INFO:    API Key Verified!

If you login to a remote that you already have a valid token for, you will be prompted, and the new token will be verified, before it replaces your existing credential. If you enter an incorrect token your existing token will not be replaced:

$ apptainer remote login
An access token is already set for this remote. Replace it? [N/y]y
Generate an access token at https://enterprise.example.com/auth/tokens, and paste it here.
Token entered will be hidden for security.
Access Token:
FATAL:   while verifying token: error response from server: Invalid Credentials

# Previous token is still in place

Note

It is important for users to be aware that the login command will store the supplied credentials or tokens unencrypted in your home directory.

Remove Remotes

To remove an endpoint:

$ apptainer remote remove <remote_name>

Use the --global option as the root user to remove a global endpoint:

$ sudo apptainer remote remove --global <remote_name>

Set the Default Remote

A remote endpoint can be set as the default to use with commands such as push, pull etc. via remote use:

$ apptainer remote use <remote_name>

The default remote shows up with a YES under the ACTIVE column in the output of remote list:

$ apptainer remote list
Cloud Services Endpoints
========================

NAME            URI                     ACTIVE  GLOBAL  EXCLUSIVE
DefaultRemote   cloud.apptainer.org     YES     YES     NO
company-remote  enterprise.example.com  NO      YES     NO
myremote        enterprise.example.com  NO      NO      NO

Keyservers
==========

URI                       GLOBAL  INSECURE  ORDER
https://keys.openpgp.org  YES     NO        1*

* Active cloud services keyserver

$ apptainer remote use myremote
INFO:    Remote "myremote" now in use.

$ apptainer remote list
Cloud Services Endpoints
========================

NAME            URI                     ACTIVE  GLOBAL  EXCLUSIVE
DefaultRemote   cloud.apptainer.org     NO      YES     NO
company-remote  enterprise.example.com  NO      YES     NO
myremote        enterprise.example.com  YES     NO      NO

Keyservers
==========

URI                       GLOBAL  INSECURE  ORDER
https://keys.example.com  YES     NO        1*

* Active cloud services keyserver

An administrator can make a remote the only usable remote for the system by using the --exclusive flag:

$ sudo apptainer remote use --exclusive company-remote
INFO:    Remote "company-remote" now in use.
$ apptainer remote list
Cloud Services Endpoints
========================

NAME            URI                     ACTIVE  GLOBAL  EXCLUSIVE
DefaultRemote   cloud.apptainer.org     NO      YES     NO
company-remote  enterprise.example.com  YES     YES     YES
myremote        enterprise.example.com  NO      NO      NO

Keyservers
==========

URI                       GLOBAL  INSECURE  ORDER
https://keys.example.com  YES     NO        1*

* Active cloud services keyserver

This, in turn, prevents users from changing the remote they use:

$ apptainer remote use myremote
FATAL:   could not use myremote: remote company-remote has been set exclusive by the system administrator

If you do not want to switch remote with remote use you can:

  • Make push and pull use an alternative library server with the --library option.

  • Make keys use an alternative keyserver with the -url option.

Restoring pre-Apptainer library behavior

The previous sections described how to manipulate remotes in general, and in particular these are the commands for a user to restore the library behavior from before Apptainer, where using the library:// URI would download from the Sylabs Cloud anonymously:

$ apptainer remote add --no-login SylabsCloud cloud.sycloud.io
INFO:    Remote "SylabsCloud" added.
$ apptainer remote use SylabsCloud
INFO:    Remote "SylabsCloud" now in use.
$ apptainer remote list
Cloud Services Endpoints
========================

NAME           URI                  ACTIVE  GLOBAL  EXCLUSIVE
DefaultRemote  cloud.apptainer.org  NO      YES     NO
SylabsCloud    cloud.sycloud.io     YES     NO      NO

Keyservers
==========

URI                                 GLOBAL  INSECURE  ORDER
https://keys.production.sycloud.io  YES     NO        1*

* Active cloud services keyserver

To set the defaults system-wide see the corresponding section in the admin guide.

Keyserver Configurations

By default, Apptainer will use the keyserver correlated to the active cloud service endpoint. This behavior can be changed or supplemented via the add-keyserver and remove-keyserver commands. These commands allow an administrator to create a global list of key servers used to verify container signatures by default, where order 1 is the first in the list. Other operations performed by Apptainer that reach out to a keyserver will only use the first entry, or order 1, keyserver.

When we list our default remotes, we can see that the default keyserver is https://keys.openpgp.org and the asterisk next to its order indicates that it is the keyserver associated to the current remote endpoint. We can also see the INSECURE column indicating that Apptainer will use TLS when communicating with the keyserver.

$ apptainer remote list
Cloud Services Endpoints
========================

NAME           URI                  ACTIVE  GLOBAL  EXCLUSIVE
DefaultRemote  cloud.apptainer.org  YES     YES     NO

Keyservers
==========

URI                       GLOBAL  INSECURE  ORDER
https://keys.openpgp.org  YES     NO        1*

* Active cloud services keyserver

We can add a key server to list of keyservers with:

$ sudo apptainer remote add-keyserver https://pgp.example.com
$ apptainer remote list
Cloud Services Endpoints
========================

NAME           URI                  ACTIVE  GLOBAL  EXCLUSIVE
DefaultRemote  cloud.apptainer.org  YES     YES     NO

Keyservers
==========

URI                       GLOBAL  INSECURE  ORDER
https://keys.openpgp.org  YES     NO        1*
https://pgp.example.com   YES     NO        2

* Active cloud services keyserver

Here we can see that the https://pgp.example.com keyserver was appended to our list. If we would like to specify the order in the list that this key is placed, we can use the --order flag:

$ sudo apptainer remote add-keyserver --order 1 https://pgp.example.com
$ apptainer remote list
Cloud Services Endpoints
========================

NAME           URI                  ACTIVE  GLOBAL  EXCLUSIVE
DefaultRemote  cloud.apptainer.org  YES     YES     NO

Keyservers
==========

URI                      GLOBAL  INSECURE  ORDER
https://pgp.example.com  YES     NO        1
https://keys.openpgp.org YES     NO        2*

* Active cloud services keyserver

Since we specified --order 1, the https://pgp.example.com keyserver was placed as the first entry in the list and the default keyserver was moved to second in the list. With the keyserver configuration above, all image default image verification performed by Apptainer will first reach out to https://pgp.example.com and then to https://keys.openpgp.org when searching for public keys.

If a keyserver requires authentication before usage, users can login before using it:

$ apptainer remote login --username ian https://pgp.example.com
Password (or token when username is empty):
INFO:    Token stored in /home/ian/.apptainer/remote.yaml

Now we can see that https://pgp.example.com is logged in:

$ apptainer remote list
Cloud Services Endpoints
========================

NAME           URI                  ACTIVE  GLOBAL  EXCLUSIVE
DefaultRemote  cloud.apptainer.org  YES     YES     NO

Keyservers
==========

URI                       GLOBAL  INSECURE  ORDER
https://pgp.example.com   YES     NO        1
https://keys.openpgp.org  YES     NO        2*

* Active cloud services keyserver

Authenticated Logins
=================================

URI                     INSECURE
https://pgp.example.com NO

Note

It is important for users to be aware that the login command will store the supplied credentials or tokens unencrypted in your home directory.

Managing OCI Registries

It is common for users of Apptainer to use OCI registries as sources for their container images. Some registries require credentials to access certain images or the registry itself. Previously, the only methods in Apptainer to supply credentials to registries were to supply credentials for each command or set environment variables for a single registry.

Apptainer supports the ability for users to supply credentials on a per registry basis with the remote command group.

Users can login to an oci registry with the remote login command by specifying a docker:// prefix to the registry hostname:

$ apptainer remote login --username ian docker://docker.io
Password (or token when username is empty):
INFO:    Token stored in /home/ian/.apptainer/remote.yaml

$ apptainer remote list
Cloud Services Endpoints
========================

NAME           URI                  ACTIVE  GLOBAL  EXCLUSIVE
DefaultRemote  cloud.apptainer.org  YES     YES     NO

Keyservers
==========

URI                       GLOBAL  INSECURE  ORDER
https://keys.openpgp.org  YES     NO        1*

* Active cloud services keyserver

Authenticated Logins
=================================

URI                 INSECURE
docker://docker.io  NO

Now we can see that docker://docker.io shows up under Authenticated Logins and Apptainer will automatically supply the configured credentials when interacting with DockerHub. We can also see the INSECURE column indicating that Apptainer will use TLS when communicating with the registry.

We can login to multiple OCI registries at the same time:

$ apptainer remote login --username ian docker://registry.example.com
Password (or token when username is empty):
INFO:    Token stored in /home/ian/.apptainer/remote.yaml

$ apptainer remote list
Cloud Services Endpoints
========================

NAME           URI                  ACTIVE  GLOBAL  EXCLUSIVE
DefaultRemote  cloud.apptainer.org  YES     YES     NO

Keyservers
==========

URI                       GLOBAL  INSECURE  ORDER
https://keys.openpgp.org  YES     NO        1*

* Active cloud services keyserver

Authenticated Logins
=================================

URI                            INSECURE
docker://docker.io             NO
docker://registry.example.com  NO

Apptainer will supply the correct credentials for the registry based off of the hostname when using the following commands with a docker:// or oras:// URI: pull, push, build, exec, shell, run, or instance.

Note

It is important for users to be aware that the login command will store the supplied credentials or tokens unencrypted in your home directory.