Connect to Your First Target
The Quick setup wizard is the fastest way to onboard a target to HCP Boundary.
The Quick setup wizard creates a default
tcp target with the port
22 (the default SSH port using TCP).
The target is created with the address
When you execute
boundary connect against this target, Boundary establishes a local, authenticated proxy to the address on the target's default port (
Connect using the CLI
To connect to the initial EC2 Instances target:
Copy the EC2 Instances target ID (such as
Open a terminal session. Export the Boundary Cluster URL as an environment variable.
$ export BOUNDARY_ADDR=<boundary-cluster-url>
Connect to the target.
$ boundary connect -target-id ttcp_eTcZMueUYv
The output displays the address and port that your SSH client must use. In the next section the
sshconnect helper is used to make it easier to connect to the target with a client.
boundary connect command has a number of notable options, such as
-listen-port to choose the port on which the connect command will listen for
an incoming connection. This is convenient for allowing Boundary to work with
applications that allow you to select the connection address, but not the port.
For many applications there are still some extra hurdles that can exist, which
is why connect helpers can be useful.
The dev-mode default target allows you to make as many connections as you want
within the authorized session. When you are finished making connections, simply
boundary connect process to shut down the session.
Using Connect Helpers
Boundary includes connect helpers that automatically accept host SSH key prompts
for you. These are written as
boundary connect <subcommand>.
In the following example, the helper will automatically execute
ssh for you,
filling in the local address and port. An expected host ID is set to avoid
warnings on future connections when a different port is allocated automatically.
A host key must still be accepted upon first connect.
$ boundary connect ssh -target-id ttcp_eTcZMueUYv
If you want to pass additional flags to the SSH client, add them to the command line separated by a double-dash; anything after the double dash will be passed to the executed client. For instance:
$ boundary connect ssh -target-id ttcp_eTcZMueUYv -- -l some-other-user
There is also a
-style flag to allow the command to format arguments in a
different style expected by different SSH clients. Besides the default
boundary connect ssh command supports
-style putty to support passing
connection information to PuTTY.
One advantage to styles is that Boundary provides information to the client
in the format that makes sense. For example, the
-username flag is used to
specify a username other than your currently logged-in user. This ensures that
regardless of your
-style choice, the username is properly passed to the
executed client, and you don't need to figure out the syntax yourself.
boundary connect you must identify the target used for connecting.
Convention in this documentation is to use the target ID because it refers to a
single explicit value, however other flags are supported:
target-name: The name of the target
target-scope-id: The ID of the scope in which the target lives
target-scope-name: The name of the scope in which the target lives
Note however that these are not uniquely identifying, as names can be reused across scopes. As a result, when not using the target ID, you must use the target's name in conjunction with the scope name or scope ID so that Boundary can correctly identify the desired target.
Here is an SSH example in dev-mode:
$ boundary connect ssh -target-name "Generated target" -target-scope-name "Generated project scope"
Built-In vs. Exec
Boundary comes with built-in wrappers for popular layer 7 connection protocols, such as:
ssh: defaults to the local SSH client (
postgres: defaults to the official Postgres CLI client (
rdp: defaults to the built-in Windows RDP client (
http: defaults to
kube: defaults to
boundary connect can accommodate executing clients even when there is
no built-in support for a specific client using
-exec flag is a
very powerful tool, allowing you to wrap Boundary TCP sessions in your preferred
client. You can use this flag to create an authenticated proxy to almost
-exec or one of the listed helpers, you can pass flags to the
executed command by including them after a double-dash
$ boundary connect ssh -target-id ttcp_eTcZMueUYv -- -l myuser -i ~/.ssh/identity
You also have access to some templated values that are substituted into the command arguments, and these values are additionally injected as environment variables in the executed command:
BOUNDARY_PROXIED_IP): The IP address of the listening socket that
boundary connecthas opened.
BOUNDARY_PROXIED_PORT): The port of the listening socket that
boundary connecthas opened.
BOUNDARY_PROXIED_ADDR): The host:port format of the address. This is essentially equivalent to
For example, if you wanted to use Boundary to create an authenticated firewall
around 'curl', you could update the default TCP target from a default port
$ boundary targets update tcp -default-port 443 -id ttcp_eTcZMueUYv Target information: Created Time: Fri, 17 June 2022 18:35:47 PDT Description: Sample target created by quick setup ID: ttcp_eTcZMueUYv Name: CRM Database target Session Connection Limit: 1 Session Max Seconds: 28800 Type: tcp Updated Time: Fri, 17 June 2022 19:15:17 PDT Version: 2 Scope: ID: p_A4jfDjZ9jf Name: Sample project created by quick setup Parent Scope ID: o_B1xISmpJ5Y Type: project Host Sets: Host Catalog ID: hcst_YgIU0sHxXp ID: hsst_pp6f2hfRYB Attributes: Default Port: 443
In the output above the default port for the target has now changed to
curl can be used as the executed client for the TCP target session to do
an authenticated download of hashicorp.com:
$ boundary connect -exec curl -target-id ttcp_eTcZMueUYv \ -- -vvsL --output /dev/null hashicorp.com * Trying 184.108.40.206... * TCP_NODELAY set * Connected to hashicorp.com (220.127.116.11) port 80 (#0) > GET / HTTP/1.1 > Host: hashicorp.com > User-Agent: curl/7.64.1 > Accept: */* ...<truncated output>...
-exec is available for subcommands that wrap clients as well. As an
putty.exe is available on a Windows host but the command is being
run from WSL, the following allows usage of the wrapper while specifying the
correct available binary (as WSL must use
.exe when invoking Windows binaries):
$ boundary connect ssh -style putty -exec putty.exe -target-id ttcp_eTcZMueUYv
Connect using Desktop Client
While using the desktop client, choose the target and connect to retrieve local proxy details.
Refer to the Connect to your First Target tutorial for steps on how to create a host catalog, host set, and a target in Boundary.
Refer to our basic administration workflows tutorial series for in depth discussions on managing scopes, targets, identities, and sessions.