The stash file is a local copy of the master key that resides in encrypted form on the KDC’s local disk. The stash file is used to authenticate the KDC to itself automatically before starting the kadmind and krb5kdc daemons (e.g., as part of the machine’s boot sequence). The stash file, like the keytab file (see The keytab file) is a potential point-of-entry for a break-in, and if compromised, would allow unrestricted access to the Kerberos database. If you choose to install a stash file, it should be readable only by root, and should exist only on the KDC’s local disk. The file should not be part of any backup of the machine, unless access to the backup data is secured as tightly as access to the master password itself.
If you choose not to install a stash file, the KDC will prompt you for the master key each time it starts up. This means that the KDC will not be able to start automatically, such as after a system reboot.