In the post, we’ll take a look at one option for accessing Azure Key Vault secrets from within an Azure DevOps release pipeline.
Setting up your Azure Key Vault
Before you can add the secret to your pipeline, you first need to make sure that there’s a key vault setup in Azure, and that you have given either your pipeline managed service identity or account GET access to the secrets within the vault. Note that you need to ensure this is set under your key vault’s “Settings” → “Access Policies” section.
If you haven’t already, add your secrets into the “Secrets” section, and take note of the names used for the secrets – you’ll need these a bit later on.
Adding the Azure Key Vault pipeline task
Now that you’ve got your secrets stored and accessible from key vault, it’s time to configure the Dev Ops pipeline. Open the visual pipeline editor for your pipeline by clicking “Edit”, and choose the stage in which you need access to the secrets.
Then, click the “+” button next to “Run on agent” (or whatever the first step of your pipeline may be) and search for “Azure Key Vault”. Note that you’ll want to add the “Download Key Vault Secrets” task that appears first – this is the official task from Microsoft.
Then, click on the new “Azure Key Vault” task you just added to your pipeline, and set a display name. Choose the Azure subscription in which you created your key vault, and then select from the “Key vault” dropdown list the name of the key vault you stored your secrets in.
If you can’t see it listed, it’s possible you managed service identity doesn’t have the correct permission, so be sure to check it’s been added to your key vault with GET permission.
Now drag the key vault task up your pipeline task list (if applicable) so that it runs before any other task that requires a secret stored within your key vault.
And that’s it!
Accessing a Key Vault secret from other tasks
Now other tasks can access the secrets, by using a task variable. The key vault task will make all your secrets available using the
$(<your secret name here>) syntax, such as $(
This is just one of the various ways that you can access key vault secrets from a Dev Ops pipeline task. Stay tuned for more posts where we explore other ways of accessing the secrets in tasks.
If you want a more in-depth guide and comparison between alternative approaches to storing secrets in DevOps, you can also get our book on Amazon today.