Awesome Open Source
Awesome Open Source


Create Kubernetes secrets from Vault for a secure GitOps based workflow.

The Vault Secrets Operator creates Kubernetes secrets from Vault. The idea behind the Vault Secrets Operator is to manage secrets in Kubernetes cluster using a secure GitOps based workflow. For more information about a secure GitOps based workflow I recommend the article "Managing Secrets in Kubernetes" from Weaveworks. With the help of the Vault Secrets Operator you can commit your secrets to your git repository using a custom resource. If you apply these secrets to your Kubernetes cluster the Operator will lookup the real secret in Vault and creates the corresponding Kubernetes secret. If you are using something like Sealed Secrets for this workflow the Vault Secrets Operator can be used as replacement for this.

Installation

The Vault Secrets Operator can be installed via Helm. A list of all configurable values can be found here. The chart assumes a vault server running at http://vault:8200, but can be overidden by specifying --set vault.address=https://vault.example.com

helm repo add ricoberger https://ricoberger.github.io/helm-charts
helm repo update

helm upgrade --install vault-secrets-operator ricoberger/vault-secrets-operator

Prepare Vault

The Vault Secrets Operator supports the KV Secrets Engine - Version 1 and KV Secrets Engine - Version 2. To create a new secret engine under a path named kvv1 and kvv2, you can run the following command:

vault secrets enable -path=kvv1 -version=1 kv
vault secrets enable -path=kvv2 -version=2 kv

After you have enabled the secret engine, create a new policy for the Vault Secrets Operator. The operator only needs read access to the paths you want to use for your secrets. To create a new policy with the name vault-secrets-operator and read access to the kvv1 and kvv2 path, you can run the following command:

cat <<EOF | vault policy write vault-secrets-operator -
path "kvv1/*" {
  capabilities = ["read"]
}

path "kvv2/data/*" {
  capabilities = ["read"]
}
EOF

To access Vault the operator can choose between the Token Auth Method or the Kubernetes Auth Method. In the next sections you found the instructions to setup Vault for the two authentication methods.

Token Auth Method

To use Token auth method for the authentication against the Vault API, you need to create a token. A token with the previously created policy can be created as follows:

vault token create -period=24h -policy=vault-secrets-operator

To use the created token you need to pass the token as an environment variable to the operator. For security reasons the operator only supports the passing of environment variables via a Kubernetes secret. The secret with the keys VAULT_TOKEN and VAULT_TOKEN_LEASE_DURATION (as well as optional keys VAULT_TOKEN_RENEWAL_INTERVAL and VAULT_TOKEN_RENEWAL_RETRY_INTERVAL to control timings for token renewals, if required) can be created with the following command:

export VAULT_TOKEN=
export VAULT_TOKEN_LEASE_DURATION=86400

cat <<EOF | kubectl apply -f -
apiVersion: v1
kind: Secret
metadata:
  name: vault-secrets-operator
type: Opaque
data:
  VAULT_TOKEN: $(echo -n "$VAULT_TOKEN" | base64)
  VAULT_TOKEN_LEASE_DURATION: $(echo -n "$VAULT_TOKEN_LEASE_DURATION" | base64)
EOF

This creates a secret named vault-secrets-operator. To use this secret in the Helm chart modify the values.yaml file as follows:

environmentVars:
  - name: VAULT_TOKEN
    valueFrom:
      secretKeyRef:
        name: vault-secrets-operator
        key: VAULT_TOKEN
  - name: VAULT_TOKEN_LEASE_DURATION
    valueFrom:
      secretKeyRef:
        name: vault-secrets-operator
        key: VAULT_TOKEN_LEASE_DURATION

Kubernetes Auth Method

The recommended way to authenticate is the Kubernetes auth method, which requires a service account for communication between Vault and the Vault Secrets Operator. If you installed the operator via Helm this service account is created for you. The name of the created service account is vault-secrets-operator. Use the following commands to set the environment variables for the activation of the Kubernetes auth method:

export VAULT_SECRETS_OPERATOR_NAMESPACE=$(kubectl get sa vault-secrets-operator -o jsonpath="{.metadata.namespace}")
export VAULT_SECRET_NAME=$(kubectl get sa vault-secrets-operator -o jsonpath="{.secrets[*]['name']}")
export SA_JWT_TOKEN=$(kubectl get secret $VAULT_SECRET_NAME -o jsonpath="{.data.token}" | base64 --decode; echo)
export SA_CA_CRT=$(kubectl get secret $VAULT_SECRET_NAME -o jsonpath="{.data['ca\.crt']}" | base64 --decode; echo)
export K8S_HOST=$(kubectl config view --minify -o jsonpath='{.clusters[0].cluster.server}')

# Verify the environment variables
env | grep -E 'VAULT_SECRETS_OPERATOR_NAMESPACE|VAULT_SECRET_NAME|SA_JWT_TOKEN|SA_CA_CRT|K8S_HOST'

Enable the Kubernetes auth method at the default path (auth/kubernetes) and finish the configuration of Vault:

vault auth enable kubernetes

# Tell Vault how to communicate with the Kubernetes cluster
vault write auth/kubernetes/config \
  token_reviewer_jwt="$SA_JWT_TOKEN" \
  kubernetes_host="$K8S_HOST" \
  kubernetes_ca_cert="$SA_CA_CRT"

# Create a role named, 'vault-secrets-operator' to map Kubernetes Service Account to Vault policies and default token TTL
vault write auth/kubernetes/role/vault-secrets-operator \
  bound_service_account_names="vault-secrets-operator" \
  bound_service_account_namespaces="$VAULT_SECRETS_OPERATOR_NAMESPACE" \
  policies=vault-secrets-operator \
  ttl=24h

# If you're running Vault inside kubernetes, you can alternatively exec into any Vault pod and run this...
# In some bare-metal k8s setups this method is necessary.
# vault write auth/kubernetes/config \
#   token_reviewer_jwt="$(cat /var/run/secrets/kubernetes.io/serviceaccount/token)" \
#   kubernetes_host=https://${KUBERNETES_PORT_443_TCP_ADDR}:443 \
#   [email protected]/var/run/secrets/kubernetes.io/serviceaccount/ca.crt

When you deploy the Vault Secrets Operator via Helm chart you have to set the vault.authMethod property to kubernetes in the values.yaml file, to use the Kubernetes auth method instead of the default Token auth methods.

vault:
  authMethod: kubernetes

Usage

Create two Vault secrets example-vaultsecret:

vault kv put kvv1/example-vaultsecret foo=bar hello=world

vault kv put kvv2/example-vaultsecret foo=bar
vault kv put kvv2/example-vaultsecret hello=world
vault kv put kvv2/example-vaultsecret foo=bar hello=world

Deploy the custom resource kvv1-example-vaultsecret to your Kubernetes cluster:

apiVersion: ricoberger.de/v1alpha1
kind: VaultSecret
metadata:
  name: kvv1-example-vaultsecret
spec:
  keys:
    - foo
  path: kvv1/example-vaultsecret
  type: Opaque

The Vault Secrets Operator creates a Kubernetes secret named kvv1-example-vaultsecret with the type Opaque from this CR:

apiVersion: v1
data:
  foo: YmFy
kind: Secret
metadata:
  labels:
    created-by: vault-secrets-operator
  name: kvv1-example-vaultsecret
type: Opaque

You can also omit the keys spec to create a Kubernetes secret which contains all keys from the Vault secret:

apiVersion: v1
data:
  foo: YmFy
  hello: d29ybGQ=
kind: Secret
metadata:
  labels:
    created-by: vault-secrets-operator
  name: kvv1-example-vaultsecret
type: Opaque

To deploy a custom resource kvv2-example-vaultsecret, which uses the secret from the KV Secrets Engine - Version 2 you can use the following:

apiVersion: ricoberger.de/v1alpha1
kind: VaultSecret
metadata:
  name: kvv2-example-vaultsecret
spec:
  path: kvv2/example-vaultsecret
  type: Opaque

The Vault Secrets Operator will create a secret which looks like the following:

apiVersion: v1
data:
  foo: YmFy
  hello: d29ybGQ=
kind: Secret
metadata:
  labels:
    created-by: vault-secrets-operator
  name: kvv2-example-vaultsecret
type: Opaque

For secrets using the KVv2 secret engine you can also specify the version of the secret you want to deploy:

apiVersion: ricoberger.de/v1alpha1
kind: VaultSecret
metadata:
  name: kvv2-example-vaultsecret
spec:
  path: kvv2/example-vaultsecret
  type: Opaque
  version: 2

The resulting Kubernetes secret will be:

apiVersion: v1
data:
  hello: d29ybGQ=
kind: Secret
metadata:
  labels:
    created-by: vault-secrets-operator
  name: kvv2-example-vaultsecret
type: Opaque

The spec.type and spec.keys fields are handled in the same way for both versions of the KV secret engine. The spec.version field is only processed, when the secret is saved under a KVv2 secret engine. If you specified the VAULT_RECONCILIATION_TIME environment variable with a value greater than 0 every secret is reconciled after the given time. This means, when you do not specify spec.version, the Kubernetes secret will be automatically updated if the Vault secret changes.

The binary data stored in vault requires base64 encoding. the spec.isBinary can be used to prevent such data get base64 encoded again when store as secret in k8s.

For example, let's set foo to the bar in base64 encoded format (i.e. YmFyCg==).

vault kv put kvv1/example-vaultsecret foo=YmFyCg==

You can specify spec.isBinary to indicate this is a binary data which is already in base64 encoded format:

apiVersion: ricoberger.de/v1alpha1
kind: VaultSecret
metadata:
  name: kvv1-example-vaultsecret
spec:
  keys:
    - foo
  isBinary: true
  path: kvv1/example-vaultsecret
  type: Opaque

The resulting Kubernetes secret will be:

apiVersion: v1
data:
  foo: YmFyCg==
kind: Secret
metadata:
  labels:
    created-by: vault-secrets-operator
  name: kvv1-example-vaultsecret
type: Opaque

The value for foo stays as YmFyCg== which does not get base64 encoded again.

It is also possible to change the default reconciliation strategy from Replace to Merge via the reconcileStrategy key in the CRD. For the default Replace strategy the complete secret is replaced. If you have an existing secret you can choose the Merge strategy to add the keys from Vault to the existing secret.

Using templated secrets

When straight-forward secrets are not sufficient, and the target secrets need to be formatted in a certain way, you can use basic templating to format the secrets. There are multiple uses for this:

To do this, specify keys under spec.templates, containing a valid template string. When templates is defined, the standard generation of secrets is disabled, and only the defined templates will be generated.

The templating uses the standard Go templating engine, also used in tools such as Helm or Gomplate. The main differentiator here is that the {% and %} delimiters are used to prevent conflicts with standard Go templating tools such as Helm, which use {{ and }} for this.

The available functions during templating are the set offered by the Sprig library (similar to Helm, but different from Gomplate), excluding the following functions for security-reasons or their non-idempotent nature to avoid reconciliation problems:

  • genPrivateKey
  • genCA
  • genSelfSignedCert
  • genSignedCert
  • htpasswd
  • getHostByName
  • Random functions
  • Date/time functionality
  • Environment variable functions (for security reasons)

Templating context

The context available in the templating engine contains the following items:

  • .Secrets: Map with all the secrets fetched from vault. Key = secret name, Value = secret value
  • .Vault: Contains misc info about the Vault setup
    • .Vault.Address: configured address of the Vault instance
    • .Vault.Path: path of the Vault secret that was fetched
  • .Namespace: Namespace where the custom resource instance was deployed.
  • .Labels: access to the labels of the custom resource instance
  • .Annotations: access to the annotations of the custom resource instance

Examples

An example of a URI formatting secret:

apiVersion: ricoberger.de/v1alpha1
kind: VaultSecret
metadata:
  name: kvv1-example-vaultsecret
  annotations:
    redisdb: "0"
spec:
  keys:
    - foo
    - bar
  path: kvv1/example-vaultsecret
  templates:
    fooUri: "https://user:{% .Secrets.foo %}@{% .Namespace %}.somesite.tld/api"
    barUri: "redis://{% .Secrets.bar %}@redis/{% .Annotations.redisdb %}"
  type: Opaque

The resulting secret will look like:

apiVersion: v1
data:
  fooUri: aHR0cHM6Ly91c2VyOmZvb0BuYW1lc3BhY2UuLnNvbWVzaXRlLnRsZC9hcGkK
  barUri: cmVkaXM6Ly9iYXJAcmVkaXMvMAo=
kind: Secret
metadata:
  labels:
    created-by: vault-secrets-operator
  name: kvv1-example-vaultsecret
type: Opaque

This is a more advanced example for a secret that can be used by HelmOperator as valuesFrom[].secretKeyRef:

apiVersion: ricoberger.de/v1alpha1
kind: VaultSecret
metadata:
  name: kvv1-example-vaultsecret
spec:
  keys:
    - foo
    - bar
    - baz
  path: kvv1/example-vaultsecret
  templates:
    values.yaml: |-
      secrets:
      {%- range $k, $v := .Secrets %}
        {% $k %}: {% $v | quote -%}
      {% end %}
  type: Opaque

This will loop over all secrets fetched from Vault, and set the vault.yaml key to a string like this:

secrets:
  foo: "foovalue"
  bar: "barvalue"
  baz: "bazvalue

Notes on templating

  • All secrets data is converted to string before being passed to the templating engine, so using binary data will not work well, or at least be unpredictable.

Using specific Vault Role for secrets

It is possible to not set the VAULT_KUBERNETES_ROLE (vault.kubernetesRole value in the Helm chart) and instead specify the Vault Role at the CR. This allows you to to use different Vault Roles within one Vault Secrets Operator instance.

The Vault Role is set via the vaultRole property in the VaultSecret CR:

apiVersion: ricoberger.de/v1alpha1
kind: VaultSecret
metadata:
  name: kvv1-example-vaultsecret
spec:
  vaultRole: my-custom-vault-role
  path: kvv1/example-vaultsecret
  type: Opaque

Note: This option is only available for the kubernetes auth method and all roles must be added to the auth method before they are used by the operator.

Development

After modifying the *_types.go file always run the following command to update the generated code for that resource type:

make generate

The above makefile target will invoke the controller-gen utility to update the api/v1alpha1/zz_generated.deepcopy.go file to ensure our API's Go type definitons implement the runtime.Object interface that all Kind types must implement.

Once the API is defined with spec/status fields and CRD validation markers, the CRD manifests can be generated and updated with the following command:

make manifests

This makefile target will invoke controller-gen to generate the CRD manifests at config/crd/bases/ricoberger.de_vaultsecrets.yaml.

Locally

Specify the Vault address, a token to access Vault and the TTL (in seconds) for the token:

export VAULT_ADDRESS=
export VAULT_AUTH_METHOD=token
export VAULT_TOKEN=
export VAULT_TOKEN_LEASE_DURATION=86400
export VAULT_RECONCILIATION_TIME=180

Deploy the CRD and run the operator locally with the default Kubernetes config file present at $HOME/.kube/config:

kubectl apply -f config/crd/bases/ricoberger.de_vaultsecrets.yaml
make run ENABLE_WEBHOOKS=false

Minikube

Reuse Minikube's built-in Docker daemon:

eval $(minikube docker-env)

Build the Docker image for the operator:

make docker-build IMG=ricoberger/vault-secrets-operator:dev

Run the following to deploy the operator. This will also install the RBAC manifests from config/rbac.

make deploy IMG=ricoberger/vault-secrets-operator:dev

Deploy the Helm chart:

helm upgrade --install vault-secrets-operator ./charts/vault-secrets-operator --namespace=vault-secrets-operator --set vault.address="$VAULT_ADDRESS" --set image.repository="ricoberger/vault-secrets-operator" --set image.tag="dev"

For an example using kind you can take a look at the testbin/setup-kind.sh file.

Links


Get A Weekly Email With Trending Projects For These Topics
No Spam. Unsubscribe easily at any time.
go (14,132
kubernetes (1,606
vault (72
secrets (51
gitops (49
secret (25
crd (15
helm-chart (14

Find Open Source By Browsing 7,000 Topics Across 59 Categories