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Secrets Manager Kubernetes Operator


The Bitwarden Secrets Manager Helm integration is currently in Beta status. Some features may not provide full functionality at this time.

The Bitwarden Secrets Manager Kubernetes Operator will allow teams to integrate Secrets Manager into Kubernetes workflows securely and efficiently. Using the operator, which is deployed using Helm package manager, secrets can be stored and retrieved from Secrets Manager.

Bitwarden Secrets Manager Kubernetes Operator

The sm-operator uses a controller to synchronize Bitwarden secrets into Kubernetes secrets. The operator registers the Custom Resource Definition: BitwardenSecret into the Kubernetes cluster. The cluster will listen for the newly registered BitwardenSecret, and synchronize on a configurable interval.


To get started, an active Bitwarden organization with Secrets Manager is required. Additionally, one or more access tokens associated with a machine account are required.

Additional dependencies

Add the repository to Helm

Add the Bitwarden Secrets Manager chart repository:

helm repo add bitwarden

Update information of locally available charts:

helm repo update


Create a configuration file

Create a custom values file used for deployment:

helm show values bitwarden/sm-operator --devel > my-values.yaml

Update configuration file

Locate my-values.yaml and fill out required values. An example can be located in the Bitwarden repository. We recommend that the following values be adjusted for your setup:




How often the secrets synchronize (in seconds). Minimum value is 180.


Self-hosted users set to US or EU cloud region for sync. See enable cloud communication for additional information.


For self-hosted users only. This is the URL for your instance API.


For self-hosted users only. This is the URL for your instance's identity service.


Set to false to work on older Kubernetes versions (< 1.19) or on vendor versions that do not support this field by default (such as OpenShift < 4.11).

This setting is recommended for most common cases that do not require escalating privileges to make containers restrictive. See Kubernetes documentation for more information.


To use a different operate image version than the one included with the chart, update:

Upgrade Helm chart

Once your values.yaml file has been configured, upgrade the release to a new chart by running:

helm upgrade sm-operator bitwarden/sm-operator -i --debug -n sm-operator-system --create-namespace --values my-values.yaml --devel

This command installs or upgrades a release with the name sm-operator, in the namespace sm-operator-system, with the values from my-values.yaml.


To see information for the helm install or helm upgrade commands, run helm install --help or helm upgrade --help.

Create Bitwarden secrets

To synchronize secrets stored in Bitwarden Secrets Manager into Kubernetes secrets, we must create a BitwardenSecret object.

  1. Create a Kubernetes secret to authenticate with Secrets Manager:

    kubectl create secret generic bw-auth-token -n <YOUR_NAMESPACE> --from-literal=token="<TOKEN_HERE>"

    This command is recorded in your shell history. To avoid exposing access token data, consider deploying with an ephemeral pipeline agent.

Deploy BitwardenSecret

The BitwardenSecret object is the synchronization setting that will be used by the operator to create and synchronize a Kubernetes secret. The Kubernetes secret belongs to a namespace and will be injected with the data that the Secrets Manager machine account has access to.

Example BitwardenSecret deployment with custom mapping:

cat <<EOF | kubectl apply -n <YOUR_NAMESPACE> -f - apiVersion: kind: BitwardenSecret metadata: labels: bitwardensecret bitwardensecret-sample sm-operator kustomize sm-operator name: bitwardensecret-sample spec: organizationId: "a08a8157-129e-4002-bab4-b118014ca9c7" secretName: bw-sample-secret map: - bwSecretId: 6c230265-d472-45f7-b763-b11b01023ca6 secretKeyName: test__secret__1 - bwSecretId: d132a5ed-12bd-49af-9b74-b11b01025d58 secretKeyName: test__secret__2 authToken: secretName: bw-auth-token secretKey: token EOF

In the BitwardenSecret deployment example, the custom map element is optional.



The name of the BitwardenSecret object you are deploying.


The Bitwarden organization ID you are pulling Secrets Manager data from.


The name of the Kubernetes secret that will be created and injected with Secrets Manager data.


The name of a secret inside of the Kubernetes namespace that the BitwardenSecrets object is being deployed into that contains the Secrets Manager machine account authorization token being used across secrets.


Secrets Manager does not guarantee unique secret names across projects. By default, secrets will be created with the Secrets Manager secret UUID used as the Key.

To make generated secrets easier to use, you can create a map of Bitwarden Secrets IDs to Kubernetes secret keys. The generated secret will replace the Bitwarden Secret IDs with the mapped name you provide.

Available map settings:




This is the UUID (universally unique identifier) of the secret in Secrets Manager. This can be found under the secret name in the Secrets Manager web portal or by using the Bitwarden Secrets Manager CLI.


The resulting key inside the Kubernetes secret that replaced the UUID.

Example usage chart

apiVersion: apps/v1 kind: Deployment metadata: name: my-deployment labels: app: my-deployment spec: selector: matchLabels: app: my-deployment template: metadata: labels: app: my-deployment spec: containers: - name: my-deployment image: <some-image> imagePullSecrets: - name: <my-secret-name> envFrom: - secretRef: name: bw-sample-secret

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