Using the keyring_vault Plugin with Percona Server for MySQL 5.7

keyring_vault store database encryption keys

keyring_vault store database encryption keysThis is the first of a two-part series on using the keyring_vault plugin with Percona Server for MySQL 5.7. The second part, Backing up Percona Server for MySQL with keyring_vault plugin enabledwalks through how to use Percona Xtrabackup to backup from this instance and restore to another server and set it up as a slave with keyring_vault plugin.

What is the keyring_vault plugin?

The keyring_vault is a plugin that allows the database to interface with a Hashicorp Vault server to store and secure encryption keys. The Vault server then acts as a centralized encryption key management solution which is critical for security and for compliance with various security standards.

Configuring Vault

Create SSL certificates to be used by Vault. You can use the sample ssl.conf template below to generate the necessary files.

[root@vault1 ~]# cat /etc/sslkeys/ssl.conf
distinguished_name = req_distinguished_name
x509_extensions = v3_req
prompt = no
C = US
L =  R
O = Percona
CN = *
subjectKeyIdentifier = hash
authorityKeyIdentifier = keyid,issuer
basicConstraints = CA:TRUE
subjectAltName = @alt_names
IP =

Then run the two commands below to generated the cert and key files and the certificate chain:

$ openssl req -config ssl.conf -x509 -days 365 -batch -nodes -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout vault.key -out vault.crt
$ cat vault.key vault.crt > vault.pem

Once the SSL certificates are created start Vault with the sample configuration below. Take note that you should follow the suggested best practices when deploying Vault in production, this example is to get us by with a simple working setup.

[root@vault1 ~]# cat /etc/vault.hcl
listener "tcp" {
address = ""
storage "file" {
path = "/var/lib/vault"

Assuming Vault started up fine and you are able to unseal Vault, the next step is to create the policy file. For more details on initializing and unsealing Vault please read the manual here.

[root@vault1 ~]# cat /etc/vault/policy/dc1.hcl
path "secret/*" {
capabilities = ["list"]
path "secret/dc1/*" {
capabilities = ["create", "read", "delete", "update", "list"]

Create a Vault policy named dc1-secrets using the dc1.hcl file like this:

[root@vault1 ~]# vault policy write dc1-secrets /etc/vault/policy/dc1.hcl -ca-cert=/etc/sslkeys/vault.pem
Success! Uploaded policy: dc1-secrets

Next, create a token associated with the newly created policy:

[root@vault1 ~]# vault token create -policy=dc1-secrets -ca-cert=/etc/sslkeys/vault.pem > dc1-token
[root@vault1 ~]# cat dc1-token
Key                  Value
---                  -----
token                be515093-b1a8-c799-b237-8e04ea90ad7a
token_accessor       4c1ba5c5-3fed-e9bb-d230-5bf1392e2d7e
token_duration       8760h
token_renewable      true
token_policies       ["dc1-secrets" "default"]
identity_policies    []
policies             ["dc1-secrets" "default"]

Setting up MySQL

The following instructions should work starting from Percona Server for MySQL 5.7.20-18 and through later versions.

Configure my.cnf with the following variables:


Create the keyring_vault.conf file in the path above with the following contents:

[root@mysql1 ~]# cat /var/lib/mysql-keyring/keyring_vault.conf
vault_url =
secret_mount_point = secret/dc1/master
token = be515093-b1a8-c799-b237-8e04ea90ad7a
vault_ca = /etc/vault_ca/vault.pem

Here we are using the vault.pem file generated by combining the vault.crt and vault.key files. Observe that our secret_mount_point is secret/dc1/master. We want to make sure that this mount point is unique across all servers, this is in fact advised in the manual here.

Ensure that the CA certificate is owned by mysql user:

[root@mysql1 ~]# ls -la /etc/vault_ca/
total 24
drwxr-xr-x  2 mysql mysql   41 Jul 14 11:39 .
drwxr-xr-x 63 root  root  4096 Jul 14 13:17 ..
-rw-------  1 mysql mysql 1139 Jul 14 11:39 vault.pem

Initialize the MySQL data directory on the Master:

[root@mysql1 ~]# mysqld --initialize-insecure --datadir=/var/lib/mysql --user=mysql

For production systems we do not recommend using --initialize-insecure option, this is just to skip additional steps in this tutorial.

Finally, start mysqld instance and then test the setup by creating an encrypted table.

[root@mysql1 ~]# systemctl status mysqld
● mysqld.service - MySQL Server
Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/mysqld.service; disabled; vendor preset: disabled)
Active: active (running) since Sat 2018-07-14 23:53:16 UTC; 2s ago
Docs: man:mysqld(8)
Process: 1401 ExecStart=/usr/sbin/mysqld --daemonize --pid-file=/var/run/mysqld/ $MYSQLD_OPTS (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
Process: 1383 ExecStartPre=/usr/bin/mysqld_pre_systemd (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
Main PID: 1403 (mysqld)
CGroup: /system.slice/mysqld.service
└─1403 /usr/sbin/mysqld --daemonize --pid-file=/var/run/mysqld/
Jul 14 23:53:16 mysql1 systemd[1]: Starting MySQL Server...
Jul 14 23:53:16 mysql1 systemd[1]: Started MySQL Server.

At this point you should have Percona Server for MySQL instance with tablespace encryption using Vault.

Researching database security?

You might also enjoy this pre-recorded webinar securing your database servers from external attacks presented by my colleague Colin Charles.

The post Using the keyring_vault Plugin with Percona Server for MySQL 5.7 appeared first on Percona Database Performance Blog.



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