The Benefits of Using SOPS with Kubernetes and ArgoCD

Pelotech’s Joachim Hill-Grannec discusses (K)SOPS-K8S-ArgoCD.

However much we love technology, it’s not always rainbows and unicorns. Security is a major concern, and any breaches can lead to serious problems. That’s where SOPS comes in.

UPDATE: There’s a new way to handle Kustomize generator plugins — you can find the new blog here —

So, what is SOPS? SOPS stands for “Secrets OPerationS,” and it’s a tool that helps you manage and encrypt secrets in a vendor agnostic way. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Why do I need another tool to manage secrets? Can’t I just use Kubernetes secrets?” Well, you could, but SOPS has some advantages.

Firstly, SOPS allows you to store your secrets safely in your git repository using encryption. This means you can include secrets in your existing workflows (i.e. GitOps) rather than managing them separately. You’ll also get an audit trail for free since every secrets change is tracked in git history.

Secondly, SOPS encrypts your secrets, which adds an extra layer of security. Kubernetes secrets by default are only base64-encoded, which is not encryption. With SOPS, you can use a variety of encryption methods, including PGP, AWS KMS, and Google Cloud KMS.

Now, let’s talk about ArgoCD. ArgoCD is a tool that helps you manage your Kubernetes clusters using GitOps workflows. It allows you to deploy your applications and infrastructure declaratively, which means you specify what you want, and ArgoCD takes care of the how.

So, how do SOPS and ArgoCD work together? Well, SOPS allows you to encrypt your secrets and store them in a Git repository. ArgoCD can then pull those secrets and use them to deploy your applications and infrastructure. This means that your secrets are never exposed in plain text, even during deployment…