»Cassandra Secrets Engine

The Cassandra secrets engine for Vault generates database credentials dynamically based on configured roles. This means that services that need to access a database no longer need to hardcode credentials: they can request them from Vault, and use Vault's leasing mechanism to more easily roll keys.

Additionally, it introduces a new ability: with every service accessing the database with unique credentials, it makes auditing much easier when questionable data access is discovered: you can track it down to the specific instance of a service based on the Cassandra username.

This page will show a quick start for this secrets engine. For detailed documentation on every path, use vault path-help after mounting the secrets engine.

»Quick Start

The first step to using the Cassandra secrets engine is to mount it. Unlike the kv secrets engine, the cassandra secrets engine is not mounted by default.

$ vault secrets enable cassandra
Success! Enabled the cassandra secrets engine at: cassandra/

Next, Vault must be configured to connect to Cassandra. This is done by writing one or more hosts, a username, and a password:

$ vault write cassandra/config/connection \
    hosts=localhost \
    username=cassandra \

In this case, we've configured Vault with the user "cassandra" and password "cassandra", It is important that the Vault user is a superuser, in order to manage other user accounts.

The next step is to configure a role. A role is a logical name that maps to a policy used to generated those credentials. For example, lets create a "readonly" role:

$ vault write cassandra/roles/readonly \
    creation_cql="CREATE USER '{{username}}' WITH PASSWORD '{{password}}' NOSUPERUSER; \
Success! Data written to: cassandra/roles/readonly

By writing to the roles/readonly path we are defining the readonly role. This role will be created by evaluating the given creation_cql statements. By default, the {{username}} and {{password}} fields will be populated by Vault with dynamically generated values. This CQL statement is creating the named user, and then granting it SELECT or read-only privileges to keyspaces. More complex GRANT queries can be used to customize the privileges of the role. See the CQL Reference Manual for more information.

To generate a new set of credentials, we simply read from that role: Vault is now configured to create and manage credentials for Cassandra!

$ vault read cassandra/creds/readonly
Key                Value
---                -----
lease_id           cassandra/creds/test/7a23e890-3a26-531d-529b-92d18d1fa63f
lease_duration     3600
lease_renewable    true
password           dfa80eea-ccbe-b228-ebf7-e2f62b245e71
username           vault-root-1434647667-9313

By reading from the creds/readonly path, Vault has generated a new set of credentials using the readonly role configuration. Here we see the dynamically generated username and password, along with a one hour lease.

Using ACLs, it is possible to restrict using the cassandra secrets engine such that trusted operators can manage the role definitions, and both users and applications are restricted in the credentials they are allowed to read.

If you get stuck at any time, simply run vault path-help cassandra or with a subpath for interactive help output.


The Cassandra secrets engine has a full HTTP API. Please see the Cassandra secrets engine API for more details.