Add a secret with 1Password and VaultSecret#

Static secrets for applications are stored in a 1Password vault before being automatically synced to the Vault service itself and ultimately to Kubernetes Secret resources via vault-secrets-operator. Such secrets are things for external cloud services where we don’t automatically provision accounts and password. When we manually create such a secret, we store it in 1Password. This page provides steps for adding an application secret through 1Password.


Dynamic secrets that don’t have to be coordinated with external resources and only have to be consistent for a given installation of the Science Platform should be generated automatically via the SecretGenerator class in the installer/ script. Those secrets are not stored in 1Password since it’s fine for them to change on each installation of the Science Platform.


This document only covers creating a 1Password-backed secret for the first time for an application. If you want to update a secret, either by adding new 1Password secrets or by changing their secret values, you should follow the instructions in Updating a secret stored in 1Password and VaultSecret.

Part 1. Open the 1Password vault#

In one password, access the LSST IT 1Password team and open the vault named RSP-Vault. Items in this vault are synced into Kubernetes Secret resources.

Part 2. Create a Secret Note#

Each item in a Kubernetes Secret corresponds to either the contents of a secure note or the password field of a login item in 1Password (Many 1Password items can combined into a single Kubernetes Secret by configuring the VaultSecret).

  • The title of the 1Password item should be formatted as:

    {{application}} {{env}} {{description}}

    This format is a convention and isn’t tied into the automation. The env can be omitted if the secret applies to all environments.

  • Add the secret:

    • For a secure note, set the note’s contents to the secret value.

    • For a login item, set the password field to the secret value.

  • Add a metadata field labeled generate_secrets_key. The value of that field is formatted as:

    {{application}} {{secret name}}

    This field provides part of a Vault path for the secret value, which in turn is used by vault-secrets-operator resources to create Kubernetes secrets.

  • Add a metadata field labeled environment. The value of that field should be the hostname of the RSP environment that this secret applies to (e.g., not the Phalanx name idfprod).

    If the secret applies to multiple environments, add additional environment metadata fields for each environment.

    If the secret applies to all environments, omit the environment field altogether.

Part 3. Sync 1Password items into Vault#

Once an application’s secrets are stored in 1Password, you need to sync them into Vault.

First, set the OP_CONNECT_TOKEN environment variable to the access token for the SQuaRE 1Password Connect service. This is stored in the SQuaRE 1Password vault under the item named SQuaRE Integration Access Token: Argo.

Open Phalanx’s installer/ directory:

cd installer

Install the Python dependencies (using a virtual environment is ideal):

pip install -r requirements.txt

To sync the secrets for a single environment, run:

./ {{hostname}}

For example:


To sync multiple environments at once:


Next steps: connecting Vault to Kubernetes with VaultSecret#

Once a secret is in Vault, you need to create or update a VaultSecret resource in your application’s deployment (typically in its Helm chart). See Building a new application for more details about creating a Helm chart for an application.

A conventional VaultSecret Helm template looks like this (update myapp with your application’s name):

kind: VaultSecret
  name: {{ include "myapp.fullname" . }}
    {{- include "myapp.labels" . | nindent 4 }}
  path: {{ required "vaultSecretsPath must be set" .Values.vaultSecretsPath | quote }}
  type: Opaque

The vaultSecretsPath Helm variable is configurable through the chart’s values (Values.yaml). This Vault path is formatted as:


The path components correspond to metadata in 1Password items:

  • {{host}} corresponds to the value of the environment metadata field

  • {{application}} corresponds to the first part of the generate_secrets_key metadata field

Within Kubernetes, vault-secrets-operator acts on the VaultSecret to create a Secret resource. The Secret has the same name and namespace as the VaultSecret that you explicitly template in your Helm chart. The generated Secret, though, has secret values that correspond to 1Password items. The names of the items in the Secret are the second parts of the generate_secrets_key metadata field.