Installing the Server

NOTE Our preferred deployment method is in containers, the documentation assumes you're running in docker. Kanidm will run in traditional compute, and server builds are available for multiple platforms or you can build the binaries yourself.

Currently we have docker images for the server components. They can be found at:

You can fetch these by running the commands:

docker pull kanidm/server:latest
docker pull kanidm/radius:latest

If you wish to use an x86_64 cpu-optimised version (See System Requirements CPU), you should use:

docker pull kanidm/server:x86_64_latest

You may need to adjust your example commands throughout this document to suit.

Development Version

If you are interested in running the latest code from development, you can do this by changing the docker tag to kanidm/server:devel or kanidm/server:x86_64_v3_devel instead.

System Requirements


If you are using the x86_64 cpu-optimised version, you must have a CPU that is from 2013 or newer (Haswell, Ryzen). The following instruction flags are used.

cmov, cx8, fxsr, mmx, sse, sse2, cx16, sahf, popcnt, sse3, sse4.1, sse4.2, avx, avx2,
bmi, bmi2, f16c, fma, lzcnt, movbe, xsave

Older or unsupported CPU's may raise a SIGIL (Illegal Instruction) on hardware that is not supported by the project.

In this case, you should use the standard server:latest image.

In the future we may apply a baseline of flags as a requirement for x86_64 for the server:latest image. These flags will be:

cmov, cx8, fxsr, mmx, sse, sse2


Kanidm extensively uses memory caching, trading memory consumption to improve parallel throughput. You should expect to see 64KB of ram per entry in your database, depending on cache tuning and settings.


You should expect to use up to 8KB of disk per entry you plan to store. At an estimate 10,000 entry databases will consume 40MB, 100,000 entry will consume 400MB.

For best performance, you should use NVME or other Flash media.


You'll need a volume where you can place configuration, certificates, and the database:

docker volume create kanidmd

You should have a chain.pem and key.pem in your kanidmd volume. The reason for requiring TLS is explained in why tls. In summary, TLS is our root of trust between the server and clients, and a critical element of ensuring a secure system.

The key.pem should be a single PEM private key, with no encryption. The file content should be similar to:


The chain.pem is a series of PEM formatted certificates. The leaf certificate, or the certificate that matches the private key should be the first certificate in the file. This should be followed by the series of intermediates, and the final certificate should be the CA root. For example:

<leaf certificate>
<intermediate certificate>
[ more intermediates if needed ]
<ca/croot certificate>

HINT If you are using Let's Encrypt the provided files "fullchain.pem" and "privkey.pem" are already correctly formatted as required for Kanidm.

You can validate that the leaf certificate matches the key with the command:

# openssl rsa -noout -modulus -in key.pem | openssl sha1
# openssl x509 -noout -modulus -in chain.pem | openssl sha1

If your chain.pem contains the CA certificate, you can validate this file with the command:

openssl verify -CAfile chain.pem chain.pem

If your chain.pem does not contain the CA certificate (Let's Encrypt chains do not contain the CA for example) then you can validate with this command.

openssl verify -untrusted fullchain.pem fullchain.pem

NOTE Here "-untrusted" flag means a list of further certificates in the chain to build up to the root is provided, but that the system CA root should be consulted. Verification is NOT bypassed or allowed to be invalid.

If these verifications pass you can now use these certificates with Kanidm. To put the certificates in place you can use a shell container that mounts the volume such as:

docker run --rm -i -t -v kanidmd:/data -v /my/host/path/work:/work opensuse/leap:latest /bin/sh -c "cp /work/* /data/"

OR for a shell into the volume:

docker run --rm -i -t -v kanidmd:/data opensuse/leap:latest /bin/sh

Continue on to Configuring the Server