VMware Secrets Manager

Development Environment

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This section contains instructions to set up your development environment to actively contribute the VMware Secrets Manager project.


Other than the source code, you need the following set up for your development environment to be able to locally develop VMware Secrets Manager:

  • Docker installed and running for the local user.
  • Minikube installed on your system.
  • Make installed on your system.
  • Git installed on your system.
  • Go installed and configured on your system.

Can I Use Something Other than Minikube and Docker?

Of course, you can use any Kubernetes cluster to develop, deploy, and test VMware Secrets Manager for Cloud-Native Apps.

Similarly, you can use any OCI-compliant container runtime. It does not have to be Docker.

We are giving Minikube and Docker as an example because they are easier to set up; and when you stumble upon, it is easy to find supporting documentation about these to help you out.

For Mac OS, for example, you can check the alternate setup section below

Alternate Non-Minikube Setup on Mac OS

The rest of this document assumes that you are using Minikube and Docker; however, if you are on a Mac, want to use Docker for Mac’s Kubernetes Distribution, you can install them as described below and skip the sections that are specific to Minikube.

Installing Docker for Mac

Download and install Docker for Mac on your system.

Enable Kubernetes on Docker for Mac

Once you have Docker for Mac installed, you’ll need to enable Kubernetes on it. To do that, follow the steps below:

  1. Open Docker for Mac’s preferences.
  2. Go to the “Kubernetes” tab.
  3. Check the “Enable Kubernetes” checkbox.

Disabling Airplay Receiver

Airplay Receiver uses port 5000 by default, which is the same port that dokcer registry uses.

To fix the first issue, on your Mac’s “System Settings” you’ll need to go to “Setting » Airdrop & Handoff » Airplay Receiver” and on that screen…

  • uncheckallow handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices”,
  • make sure “Airdrop” is selected as “no one”.
  • then you might need to kill the process that’s using port 5000 or restart your system.

Alternatively, you can bind a different port to the docker registry. But when you do that, you’ll need to make sure that you update other files in the project too that reference localhost:5000.

Install Docker Registry

Use the following command to install the docker registry:

docker run -d -p 5000:5000 --restart=always --name registry registry:2

You Are All Set

And you should be all set.

You can run make build-local to build local images, and make deploy-local to build and install VMware Secrets Manager locally.

Alternate Non-Minikube Setup Using Kind

If you are using Kind to set up your local Kubernetes cluster, you don’t need to do anything special. Just make sure that you have a local container registry running on port 5000:

docker run -d -p 5000:5000 --restart=always --name registry registry:2

You may also want to check out kind’s instructions for setting up a local registry.

Then initialize kind with the following command:

kind create cluster

Then you can run make build-local to build local images, and make deploy-local install VMware Secrets Manager locally.

Cloning VMware Secrets Manager

Create a workspace folder and clone VMware Secrets Manager into it.

mkdir $HOME/Desktop/WORKSPACE
git clone "https://github.com/vmware-tanzu/secrets-manager.git"
cd secrets-manager 

Want to Create a Pull Request?

If you are contributing to the source code, make sure you read the contributing guidelines, and the code of conduct.

Getting Help

Running make help at the project root will provide you with a list of logically grouped commands. This page will not include the output because the content of the output can change depending on the version of VMware Secrets Manager; however, the output will give a nice overview of what you can do with the Makefile at the project root.

make help

Additionally, you can run make h at the root of each project to get a more release-specific help output.

make h

Both of these commands gives a brief overview of what you can do with the make targets. If you want to learn more about a specific target, you can read the source code of the relevant file inside the ./makefiles folder.

Building, Deploying, and Testing

Now let’s explain some of these steps (*and for the remainder, you can read the Makefile at the project root):

  • make k8s-delete: Deletes your minikube cluster.
  • make k8s-start: Starts an existing cluster, or creates a brand new one.
  • make build-local: Builds all the projects locally and pushes them to the local container registry.
  • make deploy-local: Deploys VMware Secrets Manager locally with the artifacts generated at the build-local step.
  • make test-local: Runs integration tests to make sure that the changes that were made doesn’t break anything.

If you run these commands in the above order, you’ll be able to build, deploy, and test your work locally.

Minikube Quirks

Docker for Mac Troubleshooting

When you use Minikube with Docker for Mac, you’ll likely get a warning similar to the following:

make k8s-start

# below is the response to the command above


... truncated ...

Registry addon with docker driver uses port 50565
please use that instead of 
default port 5000 


The port 50656 is a randomly-selected port. Every time you run make k8s-start it will pick a different port.

You can verify that the repository is there:

curl localhost:50565/v2/_catalog
# response:
# {"repositories":[]} 

There are two issues here:

  • First, all the local development scripts assume port 5000 as the repository port; however, port 5000 on your Mac will likely be controlled by the Airplay Receiver.
  • And secondly, you’ll need to forward localhost:5000 to whatever port the error message shows you.

To fix the first issue, on your Mac’s “System Settings” you’ll need to go to “Setting » Airdrop & Handoff » Airplay Receiver” and on that screen…

  • uncheckallow handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices”,
  • make sure “Airdrop” is selected as “no one
  • and finally, after updating your settings, restart your Mac (this step is important; without restart, your macOS will still hold onto that port)

Note that where these settings are can be slightly different from one version of macOS to another.

As for the second issue, to redirect your local :5000 port to the docker engine’s designated port, you can use socat.

# Install `socat` if you don't have it on your system.
brew install socat

# Replace 49876 with whatever port the warning message 
# gave you during the initial cluster setup.
socat TCP-LISTEN:5000,fork,reuseaddr TCP:localhost:49876

Then execute the following on a separate tab:

curl localhost:5000/v2/_catalog

# Should return something similar to this:
# {"repositories":[]}

If you get a successful response to the above curl, then congratulations, you have successfully set up your local docker registry for your VMware Secrets Manager development needs.

Make a Big McTunnel

If you have localhost:5000 unallocated, there is a make mac-tunnel target in the VMware Secrets Manager’s project Makefile that will automatically find the exposed docker registry port, and establish a tunnel for you.

Execute this:

make mac-tunnel

And then on a separate terminal window, verify that you can access the registry from localhost:5000.

curl localhost:5000/v2/_catalog
# Should return something similar to this:
# "repositories":[]

Ubuntu Troubleshooting

If you are using Ubuntu, it would be helpful to know that Minikube and snap version of Docker do not play well together. If you are having registry-related issues, or if you are not able to execute a docker images without being the root user, then one resolution can be to remove the snap version of docker and install it from the source:

sudo apt update
sudo apt-get install \
    apt-transport-https \
    ca-certificates \
    curl \
    gnupg-agent \
curl -fsSL https://download.docker.com/linux/ubuntu/gpg | \ 
    sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt-key fingerprint 0EBFCD88
sudo add-apt-repository \
   "deb [arch=amd64] https://download.docker.com/linux/ubuntu \
   $(lsb_release -cs) \
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install docker-ce docker-ce-cli containerd.io

Restart Your System

After doing this, you might need to restart your system and execute minikube delete on your terminal too. Although you might feel that this step is optional, it is not; trust me 🙂.

After installing a non-snap version of Docker and restarting your system, if you can use Minikube Docker registry, then, perfect. If not, there are a few things that you might want to try. So if you are still having issues keep on reading.

Before trying anything else, it might be worth giving Docker Post Installation Steps from the official Docker website a shot. Following that guideline may solve Docker-related permission issues that you might still be having.

Restart, Maybe?

If you still have permission issues after following the official Docker post-installation steps outlined above, try restarting your computer once more.

Especially when it comes to Docker permissions, restarting can help, and worst case it’s still worth giving a try.

Still no luck? Keep on reading.

Depending on your operating system, and the Minikube version that you use it might take a while to find a way to push images to Minikube’s internal Docker registry. The relevant section about the Minikube handbook covers a lot of details, and can be helpful; however, it is also really easy skip or overlook certain steps.

If you have docker push issues, or you have problem your Kubernetes Pods acquiring images from the local registry, try these:

  • Execute eval $(minikube docker-env) before pushing things to Docker. This is one of the first instructions on the “push” section of the Minikube handbook, yet it is still very easy to inadvertently skip it.
  • Make sure you have the registry addon enabled
    • (minikube addons list).
  • You might have luck directly pushing the image:
    • first: docker build --tag $(minikube ip):5000/test-img;
    • followed by: docker push $(minikube ip):5000/test-img.
  • There are also minikube image load and minikube image build commands that might be helpful.

Checking Logs

It’s always a good idea to check SPIRE Server’s and VSecM Safe’s logs to ensure that they are running as expected.

To check SPIRE Server’s logs, execute the following:

kubectl logs -n spire-system $NAME_OF_SPIRE_SERVER_POD -f

To check VSecM Safe’s logs, execute the following:

kubectl logs -n vsecm-system $NAME_OF_VSECM_SAFE_POD -f 

Inspecting SPIRE Server via CLI

SPIRE Server has a command lin interface that you can use to directly interact with it. This can prove to be useful when you are debugging issues.

Here’s an example:

# $SPIRE_SERVER is the name of the SPIRE Server pod.
kubectl exec -n spire-system $SPIRE_SERVER -- \

## Output:
# Usage: spire-server [--version] [--help] <command> [<args>]
# Available commands are:
#    agent
#    bundle
#    entry
#    federation
#    healthcheck    Determines server health status
#    jwt
#    run            Runs the server
#    token
#    validate       Validates a SPIRE server configuration file
#    x509

Enjoy 🎉

Just explore the Makefile and get a feeling of it.

Feel free to touch base if you have any questions, comments, recommendations.

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