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Elasticsearch Database Secrets Engine

This plugin provides unique, short-lived credentials for Elasticsearch using native X-Pack Security.

Getting Started

To take advantage of this plugin, you must first enable Elasticsearch's native realm of security by activating X-Pack. These instructions will walk you through doing this using ElasticSearch 7.1.1.

Version compatibility

If you would like to install a different version of this plugin to that which is bundled with Vault, versions v0.6.0 onwards of this plugin are incompatible with Vault versions before 1.6.0 due to an update of the database plugin interface.

Enable X-Pack Security in Elasticsearch

Read Securing the Elastic Stack and follow its instructions for enabling X-Pack Security.

Enable Encrypted Communications

This plugin communicates with Elasticsearch's security API. In ES 7.1.1, you must enable TLS to consume that API.

To set up TLS in Elasticsearch, first read encrypted communications and go through its instructions on encrypting HTTP client communications.

After enabling TLS on the Elasticsearch side, you'll need to convert the .p12 certificates you generated to other formats so they can be used by Vault. Here is an example using OpenSSL to convert our .p12 certs to the pem format.

Also, on the instance running Elasticsearch, we needed to install our newly generated CA certificate that was originally in the .p12 format. We did this by converting the .p12 CA cert to a pem, and then further converting that pem to a crt, adding that crt to /usr/share/ca-certificates/extra, and using sudo dpkg-reconfigure ca-certificates.

The above instructions may vary if you are not using an Ubuntu machine. Please ensure you're using the methods specific to your operating environment. Describing every operating environment is outside the scope of these instructions.

Set Up Passwords

When done, verify that you've enabled X-Pack by running $ $ES_HOME/bin/elasticsearch-setup-passwords interactive. You'll know it's been set up successfully if it takes you through a number of password-inputting steps.

Create a Role for Vault

Next, in Elasticsearch, we recommend that you create a user just for Vault to use in managing secrets.

To do this, first create a role that will allow Vault the minimum privileges needed to administer users and passwords by performing a POST to Elasticsearch. To do this, we used the elastic superuser whose password we created in the $ $ES_HOME/bin/elasticsearch-setup-passwords interactive step.

$ curl \
    -X POST \
    -H "Content-Type: application/json" \
    -d '{"cluster": ["manage_security"]}' \

Next, create a user for Vault associated with that role.

$ curl \
    -X POST \
    -H "Content-Type: application/json" \
    -d @data.json \

The contents of data.json in this example are:

 "password" : "myPa55word",
 "roles" : [ "vault" ],
 "full_name" : "Hashicorp Vault",
 "metadata" : {
   "plugin_name": "Vault Plugin Secrets ElasticSearch",
   "plugin_url": ""

Now, Elasticsearch is configured and ready to be used with Vault.

Example Walkthrough

Here is an example of how to successfully configure and use this secrets engine using the Vault CLI. Note that the plugin_name may need to be vault-plugin-database-elasticsearch if you manually mounted it rather than using the version of the plugin built in to Vault.

export ES_HOME=/home/somewhere/Applications/elasticsearch-7.1.1

vault secrets enable database

vault write database/config/my-elasticsearch-database \
    plugin_name="elasticsearch-database-plugin" \
    allowed_roles="internally-defined-role,externally-defined-role" \
    username=vault \
    password=myPa55word \
    url=http://localhost:9200 \
    ca_cert=/usr/share/ca-certificates/extra/elastic-stack-ca.crt.pem \
    client_cert=$ES_HOME/config/certs/elastic-certificates.crt.pem \
# create and get creds with one type of role
vault write database/roles/internally-defined-role \
    db_name=my-elasticsearch-database \
    creation_statements='{"elasticsearch_role_definition": {"indices": [{"names":["*"], "privileges":["read"]}]}}' \
    default_ttl="1h" \
vault read database/creds/internally-defined-role
# create and get creds with another type of role
vault write database/roles/externally-defined-role \
    db_name=my-elasticsearch-database \
    creation_statements='{"elasticsearch_roles": ["vault"]}' \
    default_ttl="1h" \

vault read database/creds/externally-defined-role

# renew credentials
vault lease renew database/creds/internally-defined-role/nvJ6SveX9PN1E4BlxVWdKuX1

# revoke credentials
vault lease revoke database/creds/internally-defined-role/nvJ6SveX9PN1E4BlxVWdKuX1

# rotate root credentials
vault write -force database/rotate-root/my-elasticsearch-database


The Vault plugin system is documented on the Vault documentation site.

The script will build the plugin, start vault, mount the plugin, and run any custom commands in ./scripts/



Unit and integration tests

make test

Requires docker.

Acceptance tests

To also run acceptance tests against an elasticsearch cluster, follow the instructions at the top of acceptance_test.go, then

make testacc

Or to run only the acceptance tests:


See the comments in for configuration information.


Provides short-lived credentials for Elasticsearch that are unique to each user or application.




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