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What is a Transform Distribution Server (TDS/iTDS)?

Modified on: Thu, 16 May, 2024 at 3:05 AM

A Transform Distribution Server (TDS) allows you to easily manage and distribute custom Maltego Transforms and settings from a central location. The TDS server has a web front-end and provides the ability to manage and distribute custom-built Transforms from a central point within your organization. 

There are two types of TDS:

  • The public Transform Distribution Server (TDS)
  • The internal Transform Distribution Server (iTDS)

The Public TDS

The public TDS is located on the Internet and is free for all to use. It’s a convenient way to immediately start writing remote Transforms. Since this server is located on Maltego's infrastructure, data will be flowing from the Maltego Desktop Client to this server and finally to your Transform code - hosted on a web server of your choice.  The public TDS interface can be reached using this link:

The iTDS

For those dealing with sensitive internal data that cannot be allowed to pass over the Internet or over Maltego's infrastructure, we offer the internal TDS, better known as the iTDS. The iTDS provide the same functionality as the public TDS, however it can be hosted internally on your own infrastructure.

What does a Transform Distribution Server (TDS) do?

A TDS allows you to combine Maltego Transforms, Entities, Machines, views, and their configurations into a single item that can be distributed and installed by different Maltego users. This makes it easy to share custom Transforms and configurations amongst a team of analysts, or, should you choose to, with the rest of the world.

From the TDS interface you can manage the following:

  • Transforms - Manage custom Maltego Transforms as well as their settings and properties.
  • Seeds - Manage the Seeds on the iTDS, specifically their names, URLs and which Transforms and configurations they hold.
  • Transform Settings - Manage the Transform settings available to the various Transforms.
  • OAuth Settings - Manage the OAuth settings available to various Transforms.
  • Entity Management - Manage custom Entities available to Transforms.
  • Paired Configurations - Manage the Transform configurations sent to a Maltego Desktop Client when a Seed is installed. Paired configurations can include custom Entities, Transform sets, Machines and managed services.
  • Backups - Perform a backup to restore Transforms and settings.

Who is a TDS for?

A TDS will be useful to anyone who wants to integrate their data into Maltego by building custom Maltego Transforms.

A TDS allows you to easily share the Transforms you build amongst a team of Maltego users. This server will be useful to those who want to distribute their internal Transforms to teams within their organization as well as to users who want to make their Transforms available to the public on the Maltego Transform Hub.

How does a TDS work?

The easiest way to think of a TDS is as a proxy for Transforms. When executing a TDS Transform the Maltego Client will make a request to the TDS server with the Transform name requested, Transform Seed and input Entity. The TDS will then look up that Transform (within the Transform Seed) to locate the target script and essentially 'proxy' the request to the end-point.

A TDS is only used to manage and distribute your Transforms and their configurations. The actual Transform code is hosted on another web server which is also hosted by the end-user. For detailed documentation on configuring a TDS please visit our Developer Portal.

Technical Details

  • The iTDS is now delivered in two methods:
    • as a docker image.
    • as a VM image in OVA format which is pre-configured with docker containers. If you want to use the image with other virtual machine providers you’ll need to convert it using the respective converters.
  • The server is delivered as a virtual format that is downloaded on to a computer and no hardware is included.
  • The docker image of the server is a snapshot of a container built on an Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Debian 11) base.
  • The VM image in OVA format is built on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Debian 11) base providing a hassle-free deployment of the docker containers in a hypervisor.

  • Hardware Requirements:
    • The virtual server requires at least 2GB of RAM.
    • Any modern multi-core processor will have more than enough processing power.
    • 25GB of storage space is sufficient.

  • Network Requirements:
    • All outgoing connections that the iTDS requires will depend on where the Transforms that it is configured to call upon are located.
    • Incoming connections need only be available on TCP ports 443, and 8000, and from the various customer IP addresses that wish to use the server.

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