Upgrading Vault Plugins

The following procedure details steps for upgrading a plugin that has already been registered to the catalog on a running server. This procedure is applicable to secret, auth, and database plugins.

Upgrade Procedure

Vault executes plugin binaries when they are configured and roles are established around them. The binary cannot be modified or replaced while running, so upgrades cannot be performed by simply swapping the binary and updating the hash in the plugin catalog.

Instead, you can restart or reload a plugin with the sys/plugins/reload/backend API. Follow these steps to replace or upgrade a Vault plugin binary:

  1. Register plugin_v1 to the catalog
  2. Mount the plugin backend
  3. Register plugin_v2 to the catalog under the same plugin name, but with updated command to run plugin_v2 and updated sha256 of plugin_v2
  4. Trigger a plugin reload with sys/plugins/reload/backend to reload all mounted backends using that plugin or a subset of the mounts using that plugin with either the plugin or mounts parameter respectively.

Until step 4, the mount will still use plugin_v1, and when the reload is triggered, Vault will kill plugin_v1’s process and start a plugin_v2 process.