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Published: May 8, 2018 License: MIT Imports: 1 Imported by: 0



Chamber is a tool for managing secrets. Currently it does so by storing secrets in SSM Parameter Store, an AWS service for storing secrets.

For detailed info about using chamber, read The Right Way To Manage Secrets

2.0 Breaking Changes

Starting with version 2.0, chamber uses parameter store's path based API by default. Chamber pre-2.0 supported this API using the CHAMBER_USE_PATHS environment variable. The paths based API has performance benefits and is the recommended best practice by AWS.

As a side effect of this change, if you didn't use path based secrets before 2.0, you will need to set CHAMBER_NO_PATHS to enable the old behavior. This option is deprecated, and We recommend only using this setting for supporting existing applications.

To migrate to the new format, you can take advantage of the export and import commands. For example, if you wanted to convert secrets for service foo to the new format using chamber 2.0, you can do:

$ CHAMBER_NO_PATHS chamber export foo | chamber import foo -


Using chamber requires you to be running in an environment with an authenticated AWS user which has the appropriate permission to read/write values to SSM Parameter Store. The easiest way to do so is by using aws-vault, like:

$ aws-vault exec prod -- chamber

For this reason, it is recommended that you create an alias in your shell of choice to save yourself some typing, for example (from my .zshrc):

alias chamberprod='aws-vault exec production -- chamber'

Setting up KMS

Chamber expects to find a KMS key with alias parameter_store_key in the account that you are writing/reading secrets. You can follow the AWS KMS documentation to create your key, and follow this guide to set up your alias.

If you are a Terraform user, you can create your key with the following:

resource "aws_kms_key" "parameter_store" {
  description             = "Parameter store kms master key"
  deletion_window_in_days = 10
  enable_key_rotation     = true

resource "aws_kms_alias" "parameter_store_alias" {
  name          = "alias/parameter_store_key"
  target_key_id = "${}"

If you'd like to use an alternate KMS key to encrypt your secrets, you can set the environment variable CHAMBER_KMS_KEY_ALIAS.


Writing Secrets
$ chamber write <service> <key> <value|->

This operation will write a secret into the secret store. If a secret with that key already exists, it will increment the version and store a new value.

If - is provided as the value argument, the value will be read from standard input.

Listing Secrets
$ chamber list service
Key         Version                  LastModified      User
apikey      2                        06-09 17:30:56    daniel-fuentes
other       1                        06-09 17:30:34    daniel-fuentes

Listing secrets should show the key names for a given service, along with other useful metadata including when the secret was last modified, who modified it, and what the current version is.

$ chamber list -e service
Key         Version                  LastModified      User             Value
apikey      2                        06-09 17:30:56    daniel-fuentes   apikeyvalue
other       1                        06-09 17:30:34    daniel-fuentes   othervalue

Listing secrets with expand parameter should show the key names and values for a given service, along with other useful metadata including when the secret was last modified, who modified it, and what the current version is.

Historic view
$ chamber history service key
Event       Version     Date            User
Created     1           06-09 17:30:19  daniel-fuentes
Updated     2           06-09 17:30:56  daniel-fuentes

The history command gives a historical view of a given secret. This view is useful for auditing changes, and can point you toward the user who made the change so it's easier to find out why changes were made.

$ chamber exec <service...> -- <your executable>

exec populates the environment with the secrets from the specified services and executes the given command. Secret keys are converted to upper case (for example a secret with key secret_key will become SECRET_KEY).

Secrets from services are loaded in the order specified in the command. For example, if you do chamber exec app apptwo -- ... and both apps have a secret named api_key, the api_key from apptwo will be the one set in your environment.

$ chamber read service key
Key             Value                           Version         LastModified    User
key             secret                          1               06-09 17:30:56  daniel-fuentes

read provides the ability to print out the value of a single secret, as well as the secret's additional metadata. It does not provide the ability to print out multiple secrets in order to discourage accessing extra secret material that is unneeded. Parameter store automatically versions secrets and passing the --version/-v flag to read can print older versions of the secret. Default version (-1) is the latest secret.

$ chamber export [--format <format>] [--output-file <file>]  <service...>

export provides ability to export secrets in various file formats. The following file formats are supported:

  • json (default)
  • java-properties
  • csv
  • tsv
  • dotenv

File is written to standard output by default but you may specify an output file.

$ chamber import <service> <filepath>

import provides the ability to import secrets from a json file (like the kind you get from chamber export).

You can set filepath to - to instead read input from stdin.

$ chamber delete service key

delete provides the ability to remove a secret from chamber permanently, including the secret's additional metadata. There is no way to recover a secret once it has been deleted so care should be taken with this command.

AWS Region

Chamber uses AWS SDK for Go. To use a region other than what is specified in $HOME/.aws/config, set the environment variable "AWS_REGION".

$ AWS_REGION=us-west-2 chamber list service
Key         Version                  LastModified      User
apikey      3                        07-10 09:30:41    daniel-fuentes
other       1                        07-10 09:30:35    daniel-fuentes

Chamber does not currently read the value of "AWS_DEFAULT_REGION". See for more details.

If you'd like to use a different region for chamber without changing AWS_REGION, you can use CHAMBER_AWS_REGION to override just for chamber.


To cut a new release, just push a tag named v<semver> where <semver> is a valid semver version. This tag will be used by Circle to automatically publish a github release.


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