Add cron job garbage collector for barbican database


Problem Description

For all tables in the barbican database that use soft deletion, the entries in the table are not removed but flagged for deletion. We want to create a configurable command that will be called by a cron job to go through the database and delete entries where the deleted flag equals 1 or if the entry is not needed anymore (like zombie projects).

Proposed Change

Create a barbican command called ‘barbican-manage db cleanup’ that will be run by a cron job to clean up soft deletions in the barbican database. The command will utilize python sqlalchemy libary calls to go through the database and remove entries where deleted equals 1. The only tables that will be checked are tables which have a corresponding class in ‘barbican/model/’ and the class has ‘SoftDeleteMixIn’ as a parent class. Any other table will not be checked due to the assumption that soft deletes are not used. The script will dynamically load in the table classes defined in to a list. Once the list is created, the script will then check the configuration in barbican.conf to add or remove specific models.

An example cron job file will be provided so that the administrator can modify the contents to call the python script in intervals to their liking. It is intended that the barbican deployer calls the barbican-mange db cleanup command in a cron job.

The command is configurable for these options: minimum number of days to keep since soft deletion (default is 90 days) delete zombie projects (no associated resources and default is true) models to force check (no inheritence of SoftDeleteMixIn and default is None) models to ignore (have inheritence of SoftDeleteMixIn and default is None) log levels for log (default is INFO). location of cleanup log (default is None).


note on zombie projects: Barbican will create a project entry anytime a user tries to make a request. If there are no resources associated with a project, then that project database entry can be removed.


note on audit logging: DELETEs via API are already logged by the CADF middleware. So there should be no reason to add functionality to make an audit log of who performed deletions.


For this iteration, orders will not be touched due to different available SLAs that barbican offerings could have and should be discussed further. Certificate orders should not be deleted because certificate renewals require the old orders.

Configuration - Option parameters can be passed with the barbican manage command to customize cleanup. For example: ‘barbican db cleanup –min_num_days_to_keep_softdeletes 30’

The command can also pass in a configuration file for a command. ‘barbican db cleanup -f “/etc/barbican/barbican.conf”

The option parameters will have higher precedence than the variables in the conf file if both the conf file and other options are given as parameters. So the barbican admin can give only option parameters, only a conf file, or both. The default value for the configuration file will be ‘None’.

Below is an example of how a configuration file can be configured:

[db_cleanup] #how long to keep the entry in the database after a soft deletion minimum_num_days_to_keep_soft_deletions = 90

#remove projects that have no associated resources cleanup_unassociated_projects = True

#table classes to force check e.g., CertificateAuthority,SecretACL,.. table_classes_to_force_check = None

# If a secret is expired, then it should be soft deleted soft_delete_expired_secrets = True

#table classes to ignore, their parent class is SoftDeleteMixIn #e.g, Project,Secret... table_classes_to_ignore = None

# Show more verbose log output (sets INFO log level output) verbose = True

# Show debugging output in logs (sets DEBUG log level output) #debug = True

#log file to store information on deletions db_cleanup_log_file = “/var/log/barbican/barbican-cleanup.log”


  1. Add a REST API parameter for delete operations where users can specify hard deletion.
  2. Leave it to the database admins to clean up their database manually.
  3. Leave it to the database admin to create database triggers for cleanup.
  4. Create a daemon instead of a cron job which is similar to the glance scrubber.

Data model impact

The data models should not change.

The tables that are checked are tables which have a class that has SoftDeleteMixIn as a parent class. Other tables will be ignored unless configured. Entries where ‘deleted == 1’ will be removed.

REST API impact


Security impact

The barbican manage command and cron job file should have valid barbican admin user permissions. No global user should be able to modify/run the script.

Notifications & Audit Impact

A log should be kept with total entries deleted for each table. The log location will be configurable.

If the level of logging is debug, then the table name, id of entry, soft deletion date, and hard deletion date will be recorded.

Since user deletions are already logged by CADF middleware, it will not be necessary to log who made the soft deletions.

Python and Command Line Client Impact


Other end user impact


Performance Impact

Since this is a recurring find and delete operation on a database, this may take up a great ammount of compute cycles. It will be up to the admin/operator of Barbican to find the best time to run, what interval to run the job, and configure how much to delete. The admin will have to customize the cron job entry to their liking.

Other deployer impact

The deployer will have to configure the cron job file.

Developer impact




Primary assignee:
Other contributors:

Work Items

Each phase listed below is intended to be a CR. (Phase 2 will be split into different CRs)

Phase 1: Create simple barbican-manage command to go through the database and delete everything with ‘deleted == 1’. Create unit and functional tests for this first phase. Phase 2: Add logic to read configuration file and go through database based on the configuration. Create additional unit and functional tests. Phase 4: Create example cron job configuration files Phase 5: Document the cron job garbage collector on Barbican Wiki




Unit tests must be written for internal component testing. Functional tests must be created based on different possible configurations. The functional tests will check the entries of the database directly.

Documentation Impact

Wiki documentation will be created for usage of the ‘barbican-manage db cleanup’ command, how to configure, and examples on how to setup a cron job will be provided.

If a user does barbican-manage db cleanup –help, then usage documentation should be shown.