Helpful Azure KeyVault configuration resolver for Node.js objects

2 years after

Azure KeyVault configuration secrets resolver

This library extends the official Azure KeyVault client library for Node.js with a new method, resolveObjectSecrets, that takes an object graph (typically a set of configuration data), walks the object to identify strings that use a custom syntax to identify KeyVault secrets, and then gets the secret(s) using the KeyVault client, updating the value with the resolved secret.

At this time the library is available on npm with the module name keyvault-configuration-resolver.

npm install keyvault-configuration-resolver --save

Intended scenario

The purpose of this library is to help resolve a bunch of secrets at app startup, or other times.

The goal is to prevent developer mistakes by keeping secrets in a KeyVault instead of checking in credentials to a repository. It also helps keep production secrets more secret by not authorizing the production key vault instance to work with other applications.

Since the resolution of key vault secrets in this case requires a client ID and secret, anyone with the client ID and secret could resolve the secrets, but for us it's enough to prevent most mistakes.

Limitations/ known issues

  • npm-shrinkwrap.json: shrinkwrap files may break this script

Unofficial but useful

This component was developed by the Open Source Programs Office at Microsoft. The OSPO team uses Node.js for some of its applications and has found this component to be useful. We are sharing this in the hope that others may find it useful.

It's important to understand that this library was developed for use by a team at Microsoft, but that this is not an official library or module built by the KeyVault team.

Why a custom URI protocol syntax

We use a custom URI syntax to identify KeyVault secrets that we would like to address inside of an object.

This is as opposed to trying to identify strings that are URIs and contain KeyVault addresses; we have many valid scenarios where we resolve KeyVault secrets at runtime, so we do not want to resolve them just once.

The custom syntax makes it very clear that the developer/configuration explicitly wants to take the string with the keyvault:// syntax and resolve it.

How to use the library

The library simply extends the provided Azure KeyVault client for Node.js, or creates a new instance, with a new method called getObjectSecrets.

getObjectSecrets method

The get object secrets method takes in an object and a callback. Anything identified as a KeyVault string URI (by having the custom keyvault:// scheme) will be resolved using KeyVault. The application will need to have permission to the vault(s) or it will error out.


Here is the environment that we are making available to this application:

AZURE_STORAGE_ACCOUNT=keyvault://[email protected]/secrets/azure-storage-account/7038c64d4b094ee897bc62dd43b29640

Note that this AAD client ID has been authorized as a service principal to have secret GET access to the KeyVault. You can configure this in the Azure portal or using PowerShell, etc.

Our Azure storage key in this example also has a custom "tag" set called "account" that includes the account name. This is to demonstrate how to refer to tag values stored alongside the secret version.

Here is a sample object graph that contains some configuration information that our application would like to use:

let config = {
  session: {
    salt: process.env.SESSION_SALT,
  storage: {
    account: process.env.AZURE_STORAGE_ACCOUNT,
    key: process.env.AZURE_STORAGE_KEY,

And here is how we go ahead at startup inside of our Express app to resolve these secrets:

const keyVaultResolver = require('keyvault-configuration-resolver');

const keyVaultConfig = {
  clientId: process.env.AZUREAD_CLIENT_ID,
  clientSecret: process.env.AZUREAD_CLIENT_SECRET,

keyVaultResolver(keyVaultConfig).getObjectSecrets(config, (resolutionError) => {
  if (resolutionError) {
    throw resolutionError;
  // at this point, config values such as now have the secrets

  // ... continue your app work, or store in middleware

How to instantiate the library

With an AAD client ID and secret

Pass in the clientId and clientSecret as options to the library.

Alternatively, you can pass in a function called getClientCredentials that will be called when they are needed. clientId and clientSecret values are expected at this time.

With an existing KeyVault credentials instance

Pass in the credentials as a property called credentials, and the KeyVaultClient will be instantiated for you, along with the new method getObjectSecrets.

With an existing KeyVault client instance

Simply pass in the client instance as the value of a property called client. The client will then have a getObjectSecrets method.

You may also just pass in a KeyVault client instance. This is detected by the presence of a function called "getSecret" on the passed-in object.

With an AAD client certificate

Not supported

This work is not yet complete but may be available in a future update. At this time the app secret must be provided for KeyVault resolution to work with Node.js apps.




Pull requests will gladly be considered! A CLA may be needed.

This project has adopted the Microsoft Open Source Code of Conduct. For more information see the Code of Conduct FAQ or contact [email protected] with any additional questions or comments.



  • For each resolution call (a set of changes through the object graph), a cache of secret responses is maintained. This improves performance for apps that include many sub-secret tag values or reuse the same secret many times.


  • First stable release