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Register a Secret

Link Register a Secret

Now, let’s register a secret and see what happens.

To register a secret we’ll need to find the vsecm-sentinel pod in the vsecm-system namespace and execute a command inside the pod.

Let’s get the pod first:

kubectl get po -n vsecm-system

Here’s a sample output:

NAME                              READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   
vsecm-keystone-c54d99d7b-c4jk4    1/1     Running   0          
vsecm-safe-6cc477f58f-x6wc9       1/1     Running   0          
vsecm-sentinel-74d648675b-8zdn2   1/1     Running   0          

vsecm-sentinel-74d648675b-8zdn2 is what we need here.

Let’s use it and register a secret to our example workload:

kubectl exec vsecm-sentinel-74d648675b-8zdn2 -n vsecm-system -- \
safe -w "example" -n "default" -s "VSecMRocks"

Sentinel Command Line Help

VSecM Sentinel comes with a command line tool called safe. safe allows you to register secrets to VSecM Safe, delete secrets, or list existing secrets.

You can execute safe -h or safe --help to get a list of available commands and options.

You’ll get an OK as a response:


For the command safe -w "example" -n "default" -s "VSecMRocks"

  • -w is the workload name
  • -n is the namespace
  • -s is the secret value

But how do you know what the workload name is?

That’s where ClusterSPIFFEID comes in:

kubectl get ClusterSPIFFEID

And here’s the output:

NAME             AGE
example          73m
vsecm-keystone   73m
vsecm-safe       73m
vsecm-sentinel   73m

ClusterSPIFFEID with an Analogy

Imagine the ClusterSPIFFEID as a badge maker for an organization.

If anyone could create or modify badges (SVIDs), they could make one for themselves that mimics the CEO’s badge, gaining access to restricted areas.

Hence, only trusted personnel (with elevated privileges) are allowed to manage the badge maker.

Make sure your guard your ClusterSPIFFEID with proper RBAC rules.

Let’s see the details of this example SPIFFE ID:

kubectl describe ClusterSPIFFEID example

And the output:

Name:         example
Labels:       <none>
Annotations:  <none>
API Version:
Kind:         ClusterSPIFFEID
  Creation Timestamp:  2024-03-25T17:17:58Z
  Generation:          1
  Resource Version:    1651
  UID:                 e8af0138-7b3a-438e-9d58-21ab35a97b15
  Pod Selector:
    Match Labels:  example
  Spiffe ID Template:          
  ns/{{ .PodMeta.Namespace }}/
  sa/{{ .PodSpec.ServiceAccountName }}/
  n/{{ .PodMeta.Name }}
  Workload Selector Templates:
    Entries Masked:             0
    Entries To Set:             1
    Entry Failures:             0
    Namespaces Ignored:         4
    Namespaces Selected:        6
    Pod Entry Render Failures:  0
    Pods Selected:              1
Events:                         <none>

For the sake of keeping things simple because this is a quickstart, we can assume that someone has created this example SPIFFE ID for us, and using this SPIFFE ID, our example workload can securely communicate with the VSecM Safe.

Link Verifying Secret Registration

Since we’ve registered a secret, let’s see if our example workload can fetch the secret now and display it in its logs.

kubectl logs example-6cbb96b768-dhm7c

And the output would be something like this:

2024/03/25 17:36:13 fetch
2024/03/25 17:36:13 [TRACE] ZjmdoNn9 Sentry:Fetch https://vsecm-safe.
2024/03/25 17:36:13 [TRACE] ZjmdoNn9 Sentry:Fetch svid:id:  spiffe://
secret: updated: "2024-03-25T17:34:25Z", created: 
"2024-03-25T17:34:25Z", value: VSecMRocks
2024/03/25 17:36:18 fetch
2024/03/25 17:36:18 [TRACE] kcOZQXeH Sentry:Fetch https://vsecm-safe.
2024/03/25 17:36:18 [TRACE] kcOZQXeH Sentry:Fetch svid:id:  spiffe://
secret: updated: "2024-03-25T17:34:25Z", created: "2024-03-25T17:34:25Z", 
value: VSecMRocks

As you can see, the secret is now fetched and displayed in the logs.

The beauty of this approach is when we change the secret using VSecM Sentinel, the workload will automatically fetch the new value, without having to restart itself.

Link Where to Go From Here

This quickstart is meant to give you a quick overview of how you can use VMware Secrets Manager to securely manage secrets in your Kubernetes clusters.

After successfully completing this quickstart, you can try the following:

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