Sync PFX Certificate Stored as Secret

Sync a certificate stored as secret from Azure Key Vault into a kubernetes.io/tls Kubernetes secret.

Note: The prerequisites are required to complete this tutorial.

Note: This guide requres helm controller version >=1.3

In some cases it is desirable to store certificates as secret in azure key vault, e.g. when using Azure's App Service Certificate service to generate certificates stored as secrets in Azure key vault. When this is the case, we need to ensure we configure our AzureKeyVaultSecret correctly to tell the controller to convert it to a kubernetes.io/tls kubernetes secret instead of a Opaque kubernetes secret.

Before we start

To illustrate the syncing process of a Certificate stored as a secret in Azure Key Vault into a kubernetes.io/tls kubernetes secret we start by making a self-signed certificate and convert it to a PFX file. Navigate to a designated folder and run the commands:

# [Bash]
# Generate a private key (.key)
$ openssl genrsa 2048 > private-key.key

# Generate a certificate (.cert)
# You will be prompted to answer a few questions.
# You can leave them empty, and fill inn your email.
$ openssl req -new -x509 -nodes -sha256 -days 365 -key private-key.key -out certificate.cert

# Convert to PFX file (.pfx).
# Leave the export password empty!
$ openssl pkcs12 -export -out certificate.pfx -inkey private-key.key -in certificate.cert

If the export password is not left empty the contorller will not be able to sync the secret.

Now we want to convert the certificate.pfx file into a base64 encoded string and store it as a secret in Azure Key Vault. We use two PowerShell commands to convert the .pxf file:

# [Powershell]
# Get content of certificate as byte stream, and convert to base64 string and store in .txt
$fileContentBytes = get-content ‘certificate.pfx' -AsByteStream
[System.Convert]::ToBase64String($fileContentBytes) | Out-File ‘pfx-encoded-bytes.txt’

Log into Azure and create a new Azure Key Vault secret:

# [Bash]
az keyvault secret set --vault-name akv2k8s-test --name my-pfx-cert-secret --file pfx-encoded-bytes.txt --description "application/x-pkcs12"

The secret needs to have the content type set to application/x-pkcs12 to tell Azure Key Vault that it is in PKCS #12 file format.

Example secrets

Now that the certificate is stored as a secret in Azure Key Vault, we start by creating a definition for the Azure Key Vault secret pointing to the secret we want to sync in a file called akvs-pfx-secret-sync.yaml:

apiVersion: spv.no/v2beta1
kind: AzureKeyVaultSecret
  name: pfx-secret-sync
  namespace: akv-test
    name: akv2k8s-test # name of key vault
      name: my-pfx-cert-secret # name of the akv object
      type: secret # akv object type
      name: my-pfx-cert-secret-from-akv # kubernetes secret name
      type: kubernetes.io/tls # kubernetes secret type

Apply to Kubernetes:

$ kubectl apply -f akvs-pfx-secret-sync.yaml
azurekeyvaultsecret.spv.no/pfx-secret-sync created

To list AzureKeyVaultSecret's and see sync status:

$ kubectl -n akv-test get akvs
NAME              VAULT                   VAULT OBJECT         SECRET NAME                   SYNCHED   AGE
pfx-secret-sync   akv2k8s-test-keyvault   my-pfx-cert-secret   my-pfx-cert-secret-from-akv   13s       37s

Shortly a Kubernetes secret of type kubernetes.io/tls should exist:

$ kubectl -n akv-test get secret
NAME                          TYPE                                  DATA   AGE
my-pfx-cert-secret-from-akv   kubernetes.io/tls                     2      10s

Inspect the Kubernetes secret:

kubectl -n akv-test get secret my-pfx-cert-secret-from-akv -o yaml

The created Kubernetes Secret should look something like this:

apiVersion: v1
  tls.crt: ...
  tls.key: ...
kind: Secret
  name: my-pfx-cert-secret-from-akv
  namespace: akv-test
type: kubernetes.io/tls


kubectl delete -f akvs-pfx-secret-sync.yaml
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