Note that currently Vault only works on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) with Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE). We’re working on expanding support to other cloud providers.
What is Vault?
Vault is an open source project for securely managing secrets and is our preferred way to manage secrets across your environments in Jenkins X.
In traditional computing infrastructures, all of the resources and components (hardware, networking, availability, security and deployment) as well as associated labor costs are locally managed. Third-party computing environments such as cloud service providers and Git hosts offer decentralized solutions with distinct advantages in service reliability and costs over the traditional solutions.
However, one issue with using cloud services, distributed storage, and remote repositories is the lack of trusted networks, vetted hardware, and other closely observed security measures practiced in locally-hosted infrastructure. For the sake of convenience, users often store sensitive information like authentication credentials in open, public repositories, exposed to potential malicious activity.
Hashicorp Vault is one tool that centralizes the management of secrets: resources that provide authentication to your computing environment such as tokens, keys, passwords, and certificates.
Jenkins X handles security and authentication resources through the integration of Vault. Users can deploy Vault to securely store and manage all aspects of their development platform.
Jenkins X installs and configures Vault for your cluster by default through the cluster creation process.
Vault is a tool for accessing and storing user secrets. It manages the complexity of secure resource access:
Storing secrets - Vault places secrets in an encrypted format in a remote storage bucket.
Secret creation and deletion - Vault creates secrets for dynamic access to storage buckets, ephemeral access that are created/destroyed as needed for temporary data access, and generating keys for database authentication.
Encrypting data - Vault stores secrets in a remote storage bucket in secure directories using strong encryption.
Jenkins X interacts with Vault via the
command line program. There are commands for creating, deleting, and
managing secrets and vaults.
Jenkins X uses Vault to store all Jenkins X secrets, such as the GitHub personal access token generated for the pipeline bot when creating a Jenkins X cluster. It also stores any GitOps secrets, such as passwords for storage buckets, and keys for secure server access.
Secrets can be retrieved by the pipeline or via command-line if logged
into the account associated with the kubernetes service as well as any
secrets stored in the
jx namespace for the pipeline.
Vaults are provisioned in kubernetes using
open-source Kubernetes controller installed when Vault is configured
during cluster creation and Jenkins X installation on the cluster.
Using Vault on the CLI
First you need to download an install the safe CLI for Vault.
Once you have installed safe you can run:
eval `jx get vault-config`
you should now be able to use the safe CLI to access your vault.
You can then get a secret via:
safe get /secret/my-cluster-name/creds/my-secret
or you can update a secret via:
safe set /secret/my-cluster-name/creds/my-secret username=myname password=mytoken
If you have a blob of JSON to encode as a secret, such as a service account key then convert the file to base64 first then set it…
cat my-service-account.json | base64 > myfile.txt safe set /secret/my-cluster-name/creds/my-secret firstname.lastname@example.org
Configuring DNS and TLS settings for Vault
For a secure Jenkins X installation, you must
enable TLS when interacting with the vault service. To configure TLS,
you must first configure Zone DNS settings within Google Cloud Platform,
and then configure external DNS settings for Ingress and TLS in the
jx-requirements.yaml configuration file.
Configuring Google Cloud DNS
In order to configure Vault for the proper DNS and TLS access, you must configure Google Cloud DNS settings appropriately.
You should have a domain name registered with a name
registrar, for example
www.acmecorp.example before configuring DNS
Zone settings. For more information, refer to Creating a managed public
from the Google documentation.
Navigate via browser to the Project Selector page. and choose your Google Cloud Platform project.
Choose Public as your Zone Type.
Type a Zone Name for your zone.
Input a DNS suffix in DNS name, for example
Choose your DNSSEC or DNS Security state, which should be set to
Offfor this configuration.
(Optional) Input a Description for your DNS zone.
Once created, the Zone Details page loads. NS (Name server) and
SOA (Start of autority) records are automatically created for your
domain (for example
Configuring External DNS in Jenkins X
Once you have configured Google Cloud DNS, you can use browse the Zones page in your Google Cloud Platform project to setup your external domain.
NOTE: External DNS will automatically updates DNS records if you reuse the domain name, so if you delete an old cluster and create a new one it will preserve the same domain configuration for the new cluster.
Choose a unique DNS name; you can use nested domains (for example,
cluster1.acmecorp.example). Enter the name in the
jx create domaincommand against your domain name:
jx create domain gke --domain cluster1.acmecorp.example
The program prompts you to choose your Google Cloud Platform project from the available list.
The program prompts you to update your existing managed servers to use the displayed list of Cloud DNS nameservers. Copy the list for use in the next steps.
From the Google Cloud Platform Zones page, change the Resource Record Type to
NS) and use the default values for your domain for for TTL (
5) and TTL Unit (
Add the first nameserver to the Name server field
Add itemand add any subsequent nameservers.
Configure Jenkins X for the new domain names:
jx-requirements.yamlfile and update the
ingress) to your domain name, for example
In the tls setting, enable TLS with
jx-requirements.yamlentries for these settings should look similar to the following:
gitops: true ingress: domain: cluster1.acmecorp.example externalDNS: true namespaceSubDomain: -jx. tls: email: email@example.com enabled: true production: true secretStorage: vault
jx boot for the changes to take effect in your
Creating a Vault
A vault is created by default using jx boot to create your cluster, unless you specified during the cluster configuration not to create the vault. In this case, you can create one post-installation
jx create command-line interface:
jx create vault
The program will ask you the name you want for your vault (for example,
The program will ask you for your Google Cloud Zone of choice. Refer to Regions and Zones in the Google Cloud documentation for more information. In this example,
us-east1-cis chosen for proximity to Acme Headquarters.
If you have a storage bucket account configured from creating a cluster with
jx boot, then the
jx create vaultcommand will scan your installation for Vault-related storage buckets and, if found, prompt you to approve deleting and recreating the Vault from scratch.
The program will ask you the Expose type for your vault in order to create rules and routes for cluster load balancer and other services. Default is
The program will ask for a cluster domain. Default is the one created in the Cluster creation process such as
The program will ask for an
Enterto use the default value.
The program will verify your answers to the previous questions in summary and prompt you to approve the Vault creation (default is
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