Access kubernetes secrets as volumes

2 min read | by Jordi Prats

To be able to use a secret on a Deployment (or generally speaking, any pod) we can choose to share it by using either volumes or environment variables. Let's take a look hwo it would look like using an volume mount.

Let's create first a secret with some data in it:

$ kubectl create secret generic democredentials \
                --from-literal=username=jordi.prats \

Now we are going to create a pod for testing it but you can also use it for deployments, cronjobs, statefullsets and so on: Any other object that manages a pod can use it in the same way:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
  name: secret2file
    - name: demo
      image: busybox
      command: ["sleep"]
      args: ["1h"]
      # mount volume at a given path; secret to volume declared below:
        - name: democredentialsvolume
          mountPath: /etc/democredentials
    # secret as volume
    - name: democredentialsvolume
        secretName: democredentials

We are declaring here a volume from the secret we have already created democredentials named democredentialsvolume that's going to be mounted on /etc/democredentials

We just need to apply this yaml file using kubectl apply

$ kubectl apply -f secret2filepod.yaml 
pod/secret2file created

We'll have to check that's already running:

$ kubectl get pod secret2file
secret2file   1/1     Running   1          23s

Once it's running, we can use kubectl exec to run commands on the pod for checking the contents of /etc/democredentials. We will see the secret as a directory with each key within the secret as a file:

$ kubectl exec -i pod/secret2file -- ls -l /etc/democredentials
total 0
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root            15 Dec 29 09:49 password ->
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root            15 Dec 29 09:49 username ->

Inside each file we will be able to see the value for each key we have in the secret

$ kubectl exec -i pod/secret2file -- cat /etc/democredentials/username
$ kubectl exec -i pod/secret2file -- cat /etc/democredentials/password

Posted on 05/01/2021