»Consul Secrets Engine

The Consul secrets engine generates Consul API tokens dynamically based on Consul ACL policies.


Most secrets engines must be configured in advance before they can perform their functions. These steps are usually completed by an operator or configuration management tool.

  1. Enable the Consul secrets engine:

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

    By default, the secrets engine will mount at the name of the engine. To enable the secrets engine at a different path, use the -path argument.

  2. In Consul versions below 1.4, acquire a management token from Consul, using the acl_master_token from your Consul configuration file or another management token:

    $ curl \
        --header "X-Consul-Token: my-management-token" \
        --request PUT \
        --data '{"Name": "sample", "Type": "management"}' \
    $ curl \    --header "X-Consul-Token: my-management-token" \    --request PUT \    --data '{"Name": "sample", "Type": "management"}' \    https://consul.rocks/v1/acl/create

    Vault must have a management type token so that it can create and revoke ACL tokens. The response will return a new token:

      "ID": "7652ba4c-0f6e-8e75-5724-5e083d72cfe4"
    {  "ID": "7652ba4c-0f6e-8e75-5724-5e083d72cfe4"}

    For Consul 1.4 and above, use the command line to generate a token with the appropriate policy:

    $ CONSUL_HTTP_TOKEN=d54fe46a-1f57-a589-3583-6b78e334b03b consul acl token create -policy-name=global-management
    AccessorID:   865dc5e9-e585-3180-7b49-4ddc0fc45135
    SecretID:     ef35f0f1-885b-0cab-573c-7c91b65a7a7e
    Local:        false
    Create Time:  2018-10-22 17:40:24.128188 -0700 PDT
        00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000001 - global-management
    $ CONSUL_HTTP_TOKEN=d54fe46a-1f57-a589-3583-6b78e334b03b consul acl token create -policy-name=global-managementAccessorID:   865dc5e9-e585-3180-7b49-4ddc0fc45135SecretID:     ef35f0f1-885b-0cab-573c-7c91b65a7a7eDescription:Local:        falseCreate Time:  2018-10-22 17:40:24.128188 -0700 PDTPolicies:    00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000001 - global-management
  3. Configure Vault to connect and authenticate to Consul:

    $ vault write consul/config/access \
        address= \
    Success! Data written to: consul/config/access
    $ vault write consul/config/access \    address= \    token=7652ba4c-0f6e-8e75-5724-5e083d72cfe4Success! Data written to: consul/config/access
  4. Configure a role that maps a name in Vault to a Consul ACL policy. Depending on your Consul version, you will either provide a policy document and a token_type, or a set of policies. When users generate credentials, they are generated against this role. For Consul versions below 1.4:

    $ vault write consul/roles/my-role policy=$(base64 <<< 'key "" { policy = "read" }')
    Success! Data written to: consul/roles/my-role
    $ vault write consul/roles/my-role policy=$(base64 <<< 'key "" { policy = "read" }')Success! Data written to: consul/roles/my-role

    The policy must be base64-encoded. The policy language is documented by Consul.

    For Consul versions 1.4 and above, generate a policy in Consul, and proceed to link it to the role:

    $ vault write consul/roles/my-role policies=readonly
    Success! Data written to: consul/roles/my-role
    $ vault write consul/roles/my-role policies=readonlySuccess! Data written to: consul/roles/my-role


After the secrets engine is configured and a user/machine has a Vault token with the proper permission, it can generate credentials.

Generate a new credential by reading from the /creds endpoint with the name of the role:

$ vault read consul/creds/my-role
Key                Value
---                -----
lease_id           consul/creds/my-role/b2469121-f55f-53c5-89af-a3ba52b1d6d8
lease_duration     768h
lease_renewable    true
token              642783bf-1540-526f-d4de-fe1ac1aed6f0
$ vault read consul/creds/my-roleKey                Value---                -----lease_id           consul/creds/my-role/b2469121-f55f-53c5-89af-a3ba52b1d6d8lease_duration     768hlease_renewable    truetoken              642783bf-1540-526f-d4de-fe1ac1aed6f0

When using Consul 1.4, the response will include the accessor for the token

$ vault read consul/creds/my-role
Key                Value
---                -----
lease_id           consul/creds/my-role/7miMPnYaBCaVWDS9clNE0Nv3
lease_duration     768h
lease_renewable    true
accessor           6d5a0348-dffe-e87b-4266-2bec03800abb
token              bc7a42c0-9c59-23b4-8a09-7173c474dc42
$ vault read consul/creds/my-roleKey                Value---                -----lease_id           consul/creds/my-role/7miMPnYaBCaVWDS9clNE0Nv3lease_duration     768hlease_renewable    trueaccessor           6d5a0348-dffe-e87b-4266-2bec03800abbtoken              bc7a42c0-9c59-23b4-8a09-7173c474dc42


Refer to Administer Consul Access Control Tokens with Vault for a step-by-step tutorial.


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