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Grants Conjur machine identity to hosts
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This project has been depricated. If you're looking for Conjur support for Ansible, check out our Ansible Conjur Host Identity project:


This Ansible role provides the ability to grant Conjur machine identity to a host.

Based on that identity, secrets can then be retrieved securely using the retrieve_conjur_variable lookup plugin or summon_conjur module, included in this role.

Additionally, Summon, the Conjur CLI, and the Conjur API can also be used to retrieve secrets from a host with Conjur identity.


Install the Conjur role using the following syntax:

$ ansible-galaxy install cyberark.conjur



A running Conjur service that is accessible from the Ansible host and target machines. To use this suite, ansible 2.3.x.x is required.


To run the tests:

$ git clone
$ cd ansible-role-conjur/tests
$ ./



About Conjur Machine Identity

Machine identity is the primary innovation in Conjur. A machine might be a node, a server, a container, an application, or others. With Conjur, you can reliably identify machines, group them, manage them, and provide minimally required privileges. By establishing machine identities, your Ansible configurations can take advantage of powerful features of Conjur, including:

  • Use policy to manage user, group, and machine access to secrets
  • Express policy as code, which is declarative, reviewable, and idempotent
  • DevOps teams manage secrets relevant to their own applications
  • Easily rotate secrets, manually or automated on a schedule (Enterprise Conjur)
  • Capture all activity in audit trails (Enterprise Conjur)

The Conjur integration with Ansible provides a way for establishing machine identities with Ansible.

Implementation Options

The Ansible Conjur role offers two methods for fetching secrets from a Conjur appliance:

  • Lookup Plugin: Control node fetches secrets
  • Summon module: Remote nodes fetch their own secrets

Both approaches are supported for Enterprise Conjur (v4) and Open Source Conjur (v5).

Lookup Plugin: Control node fetches secrets

The lookup plugin uses the control node’s identity to retrieve secrets from Conjur and provide them to the relevant playbook. The control node has execute permission on all relevant variables. It retrieves values from Conjur at runtime. The retrieved secrets are inserted by the playbook where needed before the playbook is passed to the remote nodes.

This approach provides a simple alternative to the Ansible Vault. With only minor changes to an existing playbook, you can leverage these Conjur features:

  • The Conjur RBAC model provides users and groups with access to manage and rotate secrets (in contrast to sharing an encryption key).
  • Moving secrets outside of Ansible Vault enables them to be used by a wide range of different systems.
  • Enterprise Conjur provides automated rotators that you can easily configure with a few statements added to policy.

A disadvantage to the lookup plugin approach is that the control node requires access to all credentials fetched on behalf of the remote nodes, making the control node a potential high-value target. In many production environments, a single source of privilege may not be acceptable. There is also a potential risk of accidentally leaking retrieved secrets to nodes. All nodes targeted through a playbook will have access to secrets granted to that playbook.

Despite the control node being a single source of access, note the following:

  • You can mitigate the risk with thoughtful network design and by paying extra attention to securing the control node.
  • The solution does not store secrets on the control node. The control node simply passes the values onto the remote nodes in a playbook through SSH, and the secrets disappear along with the playbook at the end of execution.

The lookup plugin has the additional advantage of being quite simple and quick to implement. It may be sufficient for smaller installations and for testing and development environments. Try this approach first to learn about Conjur and the Ansible conjur role.

Summon module: Remote nodes fetch their own secrets

This approach installs the CyberArk Summon tool on the remote nodes, which gives each node the access to Conjur to fetch the secrets they need. Each remote node establishes identity and fetches values directly from Conjur. With this approach, you can grant secret access in more granular levels, enforcing least privilege principles.

The Summon module requires only minor reworking of current playbooks to establish machine identities and group resources. Summon must be installed on the remote nodes, and an additional, easy-to-construct secrets file is required to define the secrets to fetch.


"conjur" role

Compatibility: Conjur 4, Conjur 5

The Conjur role provides a method to “Conjurize” or establish the identity of a remote node with Ansible. Through integration with Conjur, the machine can then be granted least-privilege access to retrieve the secrets it needs in a secure manner. Providing a node with a Conjur Identity enables privileges to be granted by Conjur policies.

Role Variables

  • configure-conjur-identity:
    • conjur_appliance_url *: URL of the running Conjur service
    • conjur_account *: Conjur account name
    • conjur_host_factory_token *: Host Factory token for layer enrollment
    • conjur_host_name *: Name of the host being conjurized.
    • conjur_ssl_certificate: Public SSL certificate of the Conjur endpoint
    • conjur_validate_certs: Boolean value to indicate if the Conjur endpoint should validate certificates
    • summon.version: version of Summon to install. Default is 0.6.6.
    • summon_conjur.version: version of Summon-Conjur provider to install. Default is 0.5.0.

The variables marked with * are required fields. The other variables are required for running with an HTTPS Conjur endpoint, but are not required if you run with an HTTP Conjur endpoint.

Example Playbook

Configure a remote node with a Conjur identity and Summon:

- hosts: servers
    - role: playbook.yml
      conjur_appliance_url: '',
      conjur_account: 'myorg',
      conjur_host_factory_token: "{{lookup('env', 'HFTOKEN')}}",
      conjur_host_name: "{{inventory_hostname}}"

The above playbook:

  • Registers the host with Conjur, adding it into the layer specific to the provided host factory token.
  • Creates two files used to identify the host and Conjur connection information.
  • Installs Summon with the Summon Conjur provider for secret retrieval from Conjur.

Summon & Service Managers

With Summon installed, using Conjur with a Service Manager (like SystemD) becomes a snap. Here's a simple example of a SystemD file connecting to Conjur (version 5):

Description={{ springboot_application_name }}

User={{ springboot_user }}
ExecStart="summon --yaml 'DB_PASSWORD: !var staging/myapp/database/password' bash -c '{{ springboot_deploy_folder }}/{{ springboot_application_name }}.jar'"


Note When connecting to Conjur 4 (Conjur Enterprise), the above Summon command needs to include the environment variable CONJUR_MAJOR_VERSION set to 4. For example:

ExecStart="summon --yaml 'DB_PASSWORD: !var staging/myapp/database/password' bash -c '{{ springboot_deploy_folder }}/{{ springboot_application_name }}.jar'"

The above example uses Summon to pull the password stored in staging/myapp/database/password, set it to an environment variable DB_PASSWORD, and provide it to the Java application process. Using Summon, the secret is kept off disk. If the service is restarted, Summon retrieves the password as the application is started.

"retrieve_conjur_variable" lookup plugin

Compatibility: Conjur 4, Conjur 5

Conjur's retrieve_conjur_variable lookup plugin provides a means for retrieving secrets from Conjur for use in playbooks.

Note that by default the lookup plugin uses the Conjur 5 API to retrieve secrets. To use Conjur 4 API, set an environment CONJUR_VERSION="4".

Since lookup plugins run in the Ansible host machine, the identity that will be used for retrieving secrets are those of the Ansible host. Thus, the Ansible host requires elevated privileges, access to all secrets that a remote node may need.

The lookup plugin can be invoked in the playbook's scope as well as in a task's scope.

Example Playbook

Using environment variables:

export CONJUR_ACCOUNT="orgaccount"
export CONJUR_APPLIANCE_URL="https://conjur-appliance"
export CONJUR_CERT_FILE="/path/to/conjur_certficate_file"
export CONJUR_AUTHN_LOGIN="host/host_indentity"
export CONJUR_AUTHN_API_KEY="host API Key"

Playbook scope

- hosts: servers
    super_secret_key: {{ lookup('retrieve_conjur_variable', 'path/to/secret') }}

Task scope

- hosts: servers
    - name: Retrieve secret with master identity
        super_secret_key: {{ lookup('retrieve_conjur_variable', 'path/to/secret') }}
      shell: echo "Yay! {{super_secret_key}} was just retrieved with Conjur"
      register: foo
    - debug: msg="the echo was {{ foo.stdout }}"


Compatibility: Conjur 5

Summon provides a mechanism for using a remote node’s identity to retrieve secrets that have been explicitly granted to it. As Ansible modules run in the remote host, the identity used for retrieving secrets is that of the remote host. This approach reduces the administrative power of the Ansible host and prevents it from becoming a high value target.

Moving secret retrieval to the node provides a maximum level of security. This approach reduces the security risk by providing each node with the minimal amount of privilege required for that node. The Conjur Module also provides host level audit logging of secret retrieval. Environment variables are never written to disk.

The module receives variables and a command as arguments and, as in Conjur's Summon CLI, provides an interface for fetching secrets from a provider and exporting them to a sub-process environment.

Note that you can provide both Conjur variables and non-Conjur variables, where in Conjur variables a !var prefix is required.

Example Playbook

- hosts: webservers
    - name: Ensure app Foo is running
          - SECRET_KEY: !var /path/to/secret-key
          - SECRET_PASSWORD: !var /path/to/secret_password
          - NOT_SO_SECRET_VARIABLE: "{{lookup('env', 'SOME_ENVIRONMENT_VARIABLE')}}"
        command: rails s

The example above uses the variables defined in the variables block to map environment variables to Conjur variables. This results in the following being executed on the remote node:

$ SECRET_KEY=top_secret_key SECRET_PASSWORD=top_secret_password NOT_SO_SECRET_VARIABLE=some_environment_variable_value rails s


  • Add no_log: true to each play that uses sensitive data, otherwise that data can be printed to the logs.
  • Set the Ansible files to minimum permissions. The Ansible uses the permissions of the user that runs it.


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