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Tech Document Sep 26, 2018

How to Generate Certificate Signing Request on IBM Websphere

This article will go into detail on how to generate certificate signing request on IBM Websphere.

Before being able to enable SSL on WebSphere, you need to have your own certificate. This certificate can be a self-certificate for testing purpose but in any production case, you should have a certificate issued by a Trusted CA. The following steps describe how to get your own certificate.

Creating a keystore

A keystore is where your private key will be saved, in a secure way, and the certificate belongs to it. This keystore can be created either with the SUN keytool or with ikeyman a tool from IBM that is distributed with WebSphere Advanced Single Server Edition 4.0.

Starting ikeyman tool

The command to start it is:
Once it is started, the following screen appears:

IBM Key Management

Specifying a keystore

From the main application, you can either use an existing keystore or create a new one. In the example below we want to create a new keystore that will be used only by WebSphere.
In the IBM Key Management console, select the option Key Database File/New. A dialog box will appear:

IBM Key Management Console

The options are:

Key database typeJKS
File NameThe name of the keystore. In the example: .keystore
LocationThe location of the keystore. In the example: /usr/bin/java/websphere/bin

Creating a certificate request

You first need to create a certificate request before getting your certificate. The certificate request is created in Create/New SSL Certificate Request. A new dialog box will appear where you are asked to enter some information.

The options are:

... Organization name.

Key LabelA name that identify the request in list screen. For instance, sitecert
Key SizeUse the default value of 2048
Common NameThis is the Fully Qualified Domain Name, this is what will be in the URL after (but not including) the 'http://' and before the next '/'.
Organization UnitThe Organizational Unit. Example R&D
LocalityThe locality of your organization. Example Manchester
State/ProvinceThe province of your organization. Example Salford Quays
The country of your organization. Example GB
Request file nameThis is the name of the file where your CSR will be created.
In the example: /usr/bin/java/websphere/bin/certreq.arm

Now click on OK to generate your request. When the request is created, a key pair is also generated (a private key only stored in the keystore and a public key stored in the certificate you receive). If the request is successfully created, a dialog should inform you about it:

SSL CSR Dialogue Box

You will need the contents of this file when applying for your certificate.