GA: Azure Key Vault secrets provider extension for Arc enabled Kubernetes clusters
Published May 24 2022 08:02 AM 9,021 Views

The Azure Arc team is happy to announce the GA of Azure Key Vault Secrets Provider extension for Arc enabled Kubernetes clusters. This is a Microsoft managed extension that allows you to get secret contents stored in an Azure Key Vault instance and mount them into Kubernetes pods of your Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes clusters, thereby reducing the exposure of secrets to the minimum. It can pull any type of object from an Azure Key Vault, including keys, secrets and certificates.


The extension is installed by a cluster admin. With the installation, Secrets Store CSI driver and AKV secrets provider are deployed as daemon sets. On application pod start and restart, the Secrets Store CSI driver communicates with the Azure Key Vault secrets provider using gRPC to retrieve the secret content from the Azure Key Vault.  Then the volume is mounted in the pod as tmpfs and the secret contents are written to the volume. On pod delete, the corresponding volume is cleaned up and deleted.


CSI driver Interface.png


This extension can be deployed using az k8s-extension CLI and also using Azure Portal. For deployment through portal, go to the Arc connected Kubernetes cluster and click on Extensions under Settings. Further, click on +Add to add Azure Key Vault Secrets Provider extension. Check out the full documentation on how to enable it for an Arc enabled Kubernetes cluster. 


The extension allows for 3 configuration options:

  1. Secret Rotation - Periodically update the pod mount with the latest secret from the AKV secrets store. The polling of latest secret does not require pod restart. It is disabled by default.
  2. Rotation Poll Interval - Frequency of the pod mount update if Secret Rotation configuration is enabled. The default is 2 minutes.
  3. Sync as Kubernetes secret - Create Kubernetes secret(s) to mirror the mounted content. It is disabled by default.

A service principal is required to enable the access to Azure Key Vault from within the Arc cluster. Further, a Kubernetes secret needs to be created in the application namespace that references this service principal in order to gain access to the vault. 


What next?

The identity option available today is service principal. However, we are investing in using workload identity as another option in future.


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Last update:
‎Jun 03 2022 02:16 PM
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