Version 1.9. This version is supported as outlined in the Anthos version support policy, offering the latest patches and updates for security vulnerabilities, exposures, and issues impacting Anthos clusters on VMware (GKE on-prem). Refer to the release notes for more details. This is not the most recent version.

Available versions:   1.11    1.10    1.9    Earlier versions

Using always-on secrets encryption

Anthos clusters on VMware (GKE on-prem) version 1.9 supports encrypting secrets without the need for an external KMS (Key Management Service), or any other dependencies.

Enable always-on secrets encryption

Always-on secrets encryption works by automatically generating an encryption key that is used to encrypt secrets before they are stored on the etcd database for that cluster.

The key version is a version number to indicate the key currently in use.

You can enable secrets encryption after a cluster has already been created.

  • For the admin cluster:

    1. Edit the admin cluster configuration file to add the secretsEncryption section.

    2. Run the gkectl update command.

      gkectl update admin --config ADMIN_CLUSTER_CONFIG_FILE --kubeconfig ADMIN_CLUSTER_KUBECONFIG
  • For a user cluster:

    1. Edit the user cluster configuration file to add the secretsEncryption section.

    2. Run the gkectl update command.

      gkectl update cluster --config USER_CONFIG_FILE --kubeconfig ADMIN_CLUSTER_KUBECONFIG

Replace the following:

  • ADMIN_KUBECONFIG with the path of your admin cluster kubeconfig file.
  • ADMIN_CLUSTER_CONFIG with the path of your admin cluster configuration file.
  • USER_CLUSTER_CONFIG with the path of your user cluster configuration file.

The gkectl update commands provided in this section can also be used for any other updates to the corresponding cluster.

Key storage

The encryption keys for the admin cluster are stored on the admin cluster data disk. This disk is mounted on the admin master machine at /opt/data, and the encryption keys can be found at /opt/data/gke-k8s-kms-plugin/generatedkeys/. These keys must be backed up to retain access to the encrypted secrets used by that key.

Key rotation

To rotate an existing encryption key for a cluster, increment the keyVersion in the corresponding admin cluster configuration file or user cluster configuration file, and run the appropriate gkectl update command. This creates a new key matching the new version number, re-encrypts each secret, and securely erases the old one. All subsequent new secrets are encrypted using the new encryption key.

Disable always-on secrets encryption

To disable secrets encryption on an existing cluster, remove the keyVersion field and add a disabled: true field. Next, run the corresponding gkectl update command. This update decrypts each existing secret and stores each secret in plain text. All subsequent new secrets are stored in plain text.

  mode: GeneratedKey
    disabled: true