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GPG encryption backend for the hiera-eyaml module.


The default PKCS#7 encryption scheme used by hiera-eyaml is perfect if only simple encryption and decryption is needed.

However, if you are in a sizable team it helps to encrypt and decrypt data with multiple keys. This means that each team member can hold their own private key and so can the puppetmaster. Equally, each puppet master can have their own key if desired and when you need to rotate keys for either users or puppet masters, re-encrypting your files and changing the key everywhere does not need to be done in lockstep.


You'll need a working GPG setup with your own keypair and a public keyring containing any other keys that you want to work. GnuPG must be at least v2.

To get started, install the hiera-eyaml-gpg gem.

$ gem install hiera-eyaml-gpg

You will also need to install either the gpgme (recommended) or ruby_gpg gem:

$ gem install gpgme


$ gem install ruby_gpg -v ">=0.3.1"

Note: you will need to use ruby_gpg with the Puppet server as it uses JRuby which cannot make use of native extensions such as gpgme.

If you haven't already installed it, this requires and will install the hiera-eyaml gem, which you should probably acquaint yourself with at

Note that in order to install the gpgme gem you'll need to have the ruby development package installed for your distribution.

For use on puppetserver

As root

/opt/puppetlabs/puppet/bin/gem install hiera-eyaml-gpg ruby_gpg
/opt/puppetlabs/server/bin/puppetserver gem install hiera-eyaml-gpg ruby_gpg

Puppet versions

This project supports Puppet 5.5.8 and later.

How to use

Encrypting and editing encrypted data

Once installed you can create encrypted hiera-eyaml blocks that are encrypted using GPG.

$ eyaml encrypt -n gpg -s "A secret string to encrypt" --gpg-recipients,

If you do not have a web of trust (i.e. you normally use --always-trust for gpg signing) then you'll need to use the --gpg-always-trust option on the command line.

It gets pretty dull to keep on remembering which recipients you should use, so you can put them in a file and specify that instead.

$ eyaml encrypt -n gpg -s "A secret string to encrypt" --gpg-recipients-file hiera-eyaml-gpg.recipients

In fact, when editing a file on disk and neither of the --gpg-recipient options are provided it will automatically look for a hiera-eyaml-gpg.recipients file in the same directory as the file being edited (or any parent in the tree). The first file discovered will be used allowing different parts of a hiera tree to have different recipients if so desired.

Use eyaml --help for more details or look at the hiera-eyaml docs.

Configuring hiera

This assumes you have a working hiera and hiera-eyaml. Please note that the private GPG key must not have a passphrase.

Each level of the hierarchy must specify the gpg_gnupghome option with the path to the keyring as well as specifying lookup_key with the value eyaml_lookup_key. The following example shows a simple hierarchy.

version: 5
  - name: "Per-node data (yaml version)"
    lookup_key: eyaml_lookup_key
      gpg_gnupghome: /opt/puppetlabs/server/data/puppetserver/.gnupg
    path: "nodes/%{::trusted.certname}.yaml"
  - name: "Role data"
    lookup_key: eyaml_lookup_key
      gpg_gnupghome: /opt/puppetlabs/server/data/puppetserver/.gnupg
      - "role/%{facts.role}.yaml"
  - name: "Per platform data"
    lookup_key: eyaml_lookup_key
      gpg_gnupghome: /opt/puppetlabs/server/data/puppetserver/.gnupg
      - "kernel/%{::kernel}.yaml"
      - "osfamily/%{::osfamily}.yaml"
      - "osfamily/%{::osfamily}-%{::operatingsystemmajrelease}.yaml"
  - name: "Default"
    lookup_key: eyaml_lookup_key
      gpg_gnupghome: /opt/puppetlabs/server/data/puppetserver/.gnupg
      - "common.yaml"

For command line uses such as puppet lookup where the gpg_gnupghome setting in the hiera.yaml configuration does not match a directory the user has access to, you can override the gpg_gnupghome setting by setting the path in the environment variable HIERA_EYAML_GPG_GNUPGHOME and, if set, that will be used instead of gpg_gnupghome.

$ HIERA_EYAML_GPG_GNUPGHOME=~/.gnupg puppet lookup my_key


Thanks to Simon Hildrew for the inital code. Other contributors can be seen at