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How does this compare to Vault? [1]

Looks like Confidant is tied to AWS whereas Vault can use various backends..?

[1] https://www.vaultproject.io/




Vault is a nice piece of engineering (we use it), but it has what I call serious "backend-itis". Everything is pluggable, which makes it a bit of a nightmare to understand and use. For example, "secret backends" and "storage backends" are entirely separate things, but the docs aren't super clear about it (not to mention auth backends, audit backends, listeners ...).

Unsurprisingly it buys completely into the Hashicorp ecosystem (Consul, weirdo HCL configs, etc) which is a plus or minus depending upon your perspective I guess. Vault servers are also stateful, which complicates deployment (you can't just stick N Vault servers behind a load balancer).

If I had infinite time I'd consider creating a "SimpleVault" fork consisting of exactly one secret and storage backend, one way to auth, one curated workflow and make it run in a stateless manner. I'd probably also remove all the clever secret generation stuff, since 90% of applications just require a secure place to store secret blobs of data, as opposed to creating dynamic time-limited IAM credentials on the fly or whatever.


I just want to correct some of your points, I don't want to detract or compare Vault to Confidant here, as this is their time to shine!

"Buys into the HashiCorp ecosystem": Consul is completely optional. We also support ZooKeeper, SQL, etcd, and more. There is zero forced tie to Consul. HCL is correct though!

"you can't just stick N Vault servers behind an LB": Actually, that is exactly what we recommend! https://vaultproject.io/docs/concepts/ha.html Vault servers are stateful in that there can only be one leader, but we use leader election and all data is stored in the storage backends, so it can die without issue.

"90% of applications just require a secure place to store secret blobs": Just use Vault out of the box. You'll have to configure only storage, after that you can use the token you get from initialization (one form of auth) and the `/secret` path to store arbitrary blobs that is preconfigured (one form of backend).


Hi, quick question since you seem to be on top of Vault.

My team and I were investigating possible configuration options and secret management, and we couldn't figure out a good reason as to why the tool doesn't use S3 as one of the backends, which would essentially eliminate the need to maintain our own etcd/consul/sql whatever - plus, since the entire thing is path based, it seems incredibly well suited for that backend.

I couldn't think of one, but I might be missing something.


S3 is one of the available storage backends. You only need consul/etcd/zookeeper if you want to have a high availability setup.


not trying to be snarky, but you do understand who posted the response above(i.e. mitchellh) right??


Your fork description is pretty close to what Confidant is. You should give it a try if you're in AWS!


We also wanted things to be simple & wrote a custom cli and ansible module to wrap around https://github.com/oleiade/trousseau, but have slowly found the need for more of the features that tools like these provide.

We're planning on switching to Vault or something similar in the near future & will be testing out both of these. I definitely agree with the "backend" confusion surrounding Vault but I'm interested in where Confidant may be lacking. We host services on AWS and Heroku, so in some places AWS' KMS may not be the best option.

Regardless, I do have to say it's so refreshing to see security tools with decent documentation & a clean user experience. I'm almost stunned to see a swiftype search box, one page threat model description & preconfigured turn-key container all in one place. Props to Lyft for opening up a great tool to the masses!


FAQ in the post discussed this:

"The main difference between Confidant and the others is that Confidant is purposely not cloud agnostic, choosing to use AWS’s features to deliver a more integrated experience. By leveraging AWS’s KMS service, Confidant is able to ensure the master encryption key can’t be stolen, that authentication credentials for Confidant don’t need to be distributed to clients, and that authentication credentials for Confidant clients don’t need to generated and trusted through quasi-trustable metadata."

Confidant is purposely tied to AWS so that it can rely on KMS for its master key and for authentication.


Indeed, thanks. I just found a little more on Vault's take on this: https://www.vaultproject.io/intro/vs/kms.html




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