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Using AWS Secrets Manager CSI on Red Hat OpenShift on AWS with STS

Author Paul Czarkowski

last modified 2021-08-17

The AWS Secrets and Configuration Provider (ASCP) provides a way to expose AWS Secrets as Kubernetes storage volumes. With the ASCP, you can store and manage your secrets in Secrets Manager and then retrieve them through your workloads running on ROSA or OSD.

This is made even easier / more secure through the use of AWS STS and Kubernetes PodIdentity.


Preparing Environment

  1. Validate that your cluster has STS

     oc get authentication.config.openshift.io cluster -o json \
     | jq .spec.serviceAccountIssuer

    You should see something like the following, if not you should not proceed, instead look to the Red Hat documentation on creating an STS cluster.

  2. Set SecurityContextConstraints to allow the CSI driver to run

     oc new-project csi-secrets-store
     oc adm policy add-scc-to-user privileged \
     oc adm policy add-scc-to-user privileged \
  3. Create some environment variables to refer to later

     export ROSA_CLUSTER_NAME=my-cluster
     export ROSA_CLUSTER_ID=$(rosa describe cluster -c $ROSA_CLUSTER_NAME --output json | jq -r .id)
     export REGION=us-east-2 
     export OIDC_ENDPOINT=$(oc get authentication.config.openshift.io cluster -o json | jq .spec.serviceAccountIssuer)
     export AWS_ACCOUNT_ID=`aws sts get-caller-identity --query Account --output text`
     export AWS_PAGER=""

Deploy the AWS Secrets and Configuration Provider

  1. Use Helm to register the secrets store csi driver

     helm repo add secrets-store-csi-driver https://raw.githubusercontent.com/kubernetes-sigs/secrets-store-csi-driver/master/charts
  2. Update your Helm Repositories

     helm repo update
  3. Install the secrets store csi driver

     helm upgrade --install --create-namespace -n csi-secrets-store \
       csi-secrets-store-driver \
       secrets-store-csi-driver/secrets-store-csi-driver \
       --set "linux.providersDir=/var/run/secrets-store-csi-providers"
  4. Deploy the AWS provider

     kubectl -n csi-secrets-store apply -f \
  5. Check that both Daemonsets are running

     kubectl -n csi-secrets-store get ds \
       csi-secrets-store-provider-aws \

Creating a Secret and IAM Access Policies

  1. Create a secret in Secrets Manager

     SECRET_ARN=$(aws --region "$REGION" secretsmanager  create-secret \
       --name MySecret --secret-string \
       '{"username":"shadowman", "password":"hunter2"}' \
       --query ARN --output text)
     echo $SECRET_ARN
  2. Create IAM Access Policy document

     cat << EOF > policy.json
       "Version": "2012-10-17",
       "Statement": [{
           "Effect": "Allow",
           "Action": [
           "Resource": ["$SECRET_ARN"]
  3. Create an IAM Access Policy

     POLICY_ARN=$(aws --region "$REGION" --query Policy.Arn \
       --output text iam create-policy \
       --policy-name openshift-access-to-mysecret-policy \
       --policy-document file://policy.json)
     echo $POLICY_ARN
  4. Create IAM Role trust policy document

    Note you can use Conditions to lock down to a specific namespace or service account here. But for simplicity we’re keeping it open.

     cat <<EOF > trust-policy.json
     "Version": "2012-10-17",
     "Statement": [
       "Effect": "Allow",
       "Principal": {
         "Federated": "arn:aws:iam::$AWS_ACCOUNT_ID:oidc-provider/rh-oidc.s3.us-east-1.amazonaws.com/$ROSA_CLUSTER_ID"
       "Action": "sts:AssumeRoleWithWebIdentity"
  5. Create IAM Role

     ROLE_ARN=$(aws iam create-role --role-name openshift-access-to-mysecret \
       --assume-role-policy-document file://trust-policy.json \
       --query Role.Arn --output text)
     echo $ROLE_ARN
  6. Attach Role to the Policy

     aws iam attach-role-policy --role-name openshift-access-to-mysecret --policy-arn $POLICY_ARN

Create an Application to use this secret

  1. Create an OpenShift project

     oc new-project my-application
  2. Annotate the default service account to use the STS Role

     oc annotate -n my-application serviceaccount default \
  3. Create a secret provider class to access our secret

     cat << EOF | kubectl apply -f -
     apiVersion: secrets-store.csi.x-k8s.io/v1alpha1
     kind: SecretProviderClass
       name: my-application-aws-secrets
       provider: aws
         objects: |
             - objectName: "MySecret"
               objectType: "secretsmanager"
  4. Create a Deployment using our secret

     cat << EOF | kubectl apply -f -
     apiVersion: v1
     kind: Pod
       name: my-application
         app: my-application
       - name: secrets-store-inline
           driver: secrets-store.csi.k8s.io
           readOnly: true
             secretProviderClass: "my-application-aws-secrets"
       - name: my-application-deployment
         image: k8s.gcr.io/e2e-test-images/busybox:1.29
           - "/bin/sleep"
           - "10000"
         - name: secrets-store-inline
           mountPath: "/mnt/secrets-store"
           readOnly: true
  5. Verify the Pod has the secret mounted

     kubectl exec -it my-application -- cat /mnt/secrets-store/MySecret


  1. Delete application

     oc delete project my-application
  2. Delete the secrets store csi driver

     helm delete -n kube-system csi-secrets-store
  3. Delete the AWS provider

     kubectl -n kube-system delete -f \
  4. Delete Security Context Constraints

     oc adm policy remove-scc-from-user privileged \
     oc adm policy remove-scc-from-user privileged \
  5. Delete AWS Roles and Policies

     aws iam detach-role-policy --role-name openshift-access-to-mysecret --policy-arn $POLICY_ARN
     aws iam delete-role --role-name openshift-access-to-mysecret
     aws iam delete-policy --policy-arn $POLICY_ARN