Using a certificate stored in Key Vault in an Azure App Service

For the last two days, I’ve been trying to deploy some new microservices using a certificate stored in Key Vault in an Azure App Service. By now, you’ve probably figured out that we love them around here. I’ve also been slamming my head against the wall because of some not-well-documented functionality about granting permissions to the Key Vault.

As a quick primer, here’s the basics of what I was trying to do:

resource "azurerm_app_service" "centralus-app-service" {
   name                = "${var.service-name}-centralus-app-service-${var.environment_name}"
   location            = "${azurerm_resource_group.centralus-rg.location}"
   resource_group_name = "${}"
   app_service_plan_id = "${}"

   identity {
     type = "SystemAssigned"

data "azurerm_key_vault" "cert" {
   name                = "${var.key-vault-name}"
   resource_group_name = "${var.key-vault-rg}"
resource "azurerm_key_vault_access_policy" "centralus" {
   key_vault_id = "${}"
   tenant_id = "${azurerm_app_service.centralus-app-service.identity.0.tenant_id}"
   object_id = "${azurerm_app_service.centralus-app-service.identity.0.principal_id}"
   secret_permissions = [
   certificate_permissions = [
resource "azurerm_app_service_certificate" "centralus" {
   name                = "${local.full_service_name}-cert"
   resource_group_name = "${}"
   location            = "${azurerm_resource_group.centralus-rg.location}"
   key_vault_secret_id = "${var.key-vault-secret-id}"
   depends_on          = [azurerm_key_vault_access_policy.centralus]

and these are the relevant values I was passing into the module:

  key-vault-secret-id       = ""
  key-vault-rg              = "example-keyvault"
  key-vault-name            = "example-keyvault"

But no matter what I did, I kept bumping up against this error:

Error: Error creating/updating App Service Certificate "example-app-dev-cert" (Resource Group "example-app-centralus-rg-dev"): web.CertificatesClient#CreateOrUpdate: Failure responding to request: StatusCode=400 -- Original Error: autorest/azure: Service returned an error. Status=400 Code="BadRequest" Message="The service does not have access to '/subscriptions/[SUBSCRIPTIONID]/resourcegroups/example-keyvault/providers/microsoft.keyvault/vaults/example-keyvault' Key Vault. Please make sure that you have granted necessary permissions to the service to perform the request operation." Details=[{"Message":"The service does not have access to '/subscriptions/[SUBSCRIPTIONID]/resourcegroups/example-keyvault/providers/microsoft.keyvault/vaults/example-keyvault' Key Vault. Please make sure that you have granted necessary permissions to the service to perform the request operation."},{"Code":"BadRequest"},{"ErrorEntity":{"Code":"BadRequest","ExtendedCode":"59716","Message":"The service does not have access to '/subscriptions/[SUBSCRIPTIONID]/resourcegroups/example-keyvault/providers/microsoft.keyvault/vaults/example-keyvault' Key Vault. Please make sure that you have granted necessary permissions to the service to perform the request operation.","MessageTemplate":"The service does not have access to '{0}' Key Vault. Please make sure that you have granted necessary permissions to the service to perform the request operation.","Parameters":["/subscriptions/[SUBSCRIPTIONID]/resourcegroups/example-keyvault/providers/microsoft.keyvault/vaults/example-keyvault"]}}]

I checked and re-checked and triple-checked and had colleagues check, but no matter what I did, it kept puking with this permissions issue. I confirmed that the App Service’s identity was being provided and saved, but nothing seemed to work.

Then I found this blog post from 2016 talking about a magic Service Principal (or more specifically, a Resource Principal) that requires access to the Key Vault too. All I did was add the following resource with the magic SP, and everything worked perfectly.

resource "azurerm_key_vault_access_policy" "azure-app-service" {
   key_vault_id = "${}"
   tenant_id = "${azurerm_app_service.centralus-app-service.identity.0.tenant_id}"

   # This object is the Microsoft Azure Web App Service magic SP 
   # as per
   object_id = "abfa0a7c-a6b6-4736-8310-5855508787cd" 

   secret_permissions = [

   certificate_permissions = [

It’s frustrating that Microsoft hasn’t documented this piece (at least officially), but hopefully with this knowledge, you’ll be able to automate using a certificate stored in Key Vault in your next Azure App Service.

Generate Terraform files for existing resources

You may find yourself in a position where a resource already exists in your cloud environment but was created in the respective provider’s GUI rather than in Terraform. You may feel a bit overwhelmed at first, but there are a few ways to generate Terraform files for existing resources, and we’re going to talk about the various ways today. This is also not an exhaustive list; if you have any other suggestions, please leave a comment and I’ll be sure to update this post.

Method 1 – Manual

Be warned, the manual method takes a little more time, but is not restricted to certain resource types. I prefer this method because it means that you’ll be able to see every setting that is already set on your resource with your own two eyes, which is good for sanity checking.

First, you’re going to want to create a .tf file with just the outline of the resource type you’re trying to import or generate.

For example, if I wanted to create the Terraform for a resource group called example-resource-group that had several tags attached to it, I would do:

resource "azurerm_resource_group" "example-resource-group" {

and then save it.

Next, I would go to the Azure GUI, find and open the resource group, and then open the ‘Properties’ section from the blade.

I would look for the Resource ID, for example /subscriptions/54ba8d50-7332-4f23-88fe-f88221f75bb3/resourceGroups/example-resource-group and copy it.

I would then open up a command prompt / terminal and import the state by running: terraform import azurerm_resource_group.example-resource-group /subscriptions/54ba8d50-7332-4f23-88fe-f88221f75bb3/resourceGroups/example-resource-group

Finally, and this is the crucial part, I would immediately run terraform plan. There may be required fields that you will need to fill out before this comamnd works, but in general, this will compare the existing state that you just imported to the blank resource in the .tf file, and show you all of the differences which you can then copy into your new Terraform file, and be confident that you have imported all of the settings.


# azurerm_resource_group.example-resource-group will be updated in-place
   ~ resource "azurerm_resource_group" "example-resource-group" {
         id       = "/subscriptions/54ba8d50-7332-4f23-88fe-f88221f75bb3/resourceGroups/example-resource-group"
         location = "centralus"
         name     = "example-resource-group"
       ~ tags     = {
           ~ "environment" = "dev" -> null
           ~ "owner"       = "example.person" -> null
           ~ "product"     = "internal" -> null

A shortcut I’ve found is to just copy the entire resource section, and then replace all of the tildes (~) with spaces, and then find and remove all instances of -> null.

Method 2 – Az2tf (Azure only)

Andy Thomas (Microsoft employee) put together a tool called Az2tf which iterates over your entire subscription, and generates .tf files for most of the common types of resources, and he’s adding more all the time. Requesting a specific resource type is as simple as opening an issue and explaining which resource is missing. In my experience, he’s responded within a few hours with a solution.

Method 3 – Terraforming (AWS only)

Daisuke Fujita put together a tool called Terraforming that with a little bit of scripting can generate Terraform files for all of your AWS resources.

Method 4 – cf-terraforming (Cloudflare only)

Cloudflare put together a fantastic tool called cf-terraforming which rips through your Cloudflare tenant and generates .tf files for everything Cloudflare related. The great thing about cf-terraforming is that because it’s written by the vendor of the original product, they treat it as a first class citizen and keep it very up-to-date with any new resources they themselves add to their product. I wish all vendors would do this.

To sum things up, there are plenty of ways to generate Terraform files for existing resources. Some are more time consuming than others, but they all have the goal of making your environment less brittle and your processes more repeatable, which will save time, money, and most importantly stress, when an inevitable incident takes place.

Do you know of any other tools for these or other providers that can assist in bringing previously unmanaged resources under Terraform management? Leave a comment and we’ll add them to this page as soon as possible!

Store a private key in Azure Key Vault for use in a Logic App

Today, I found myself in need of an automated SFTP connection that would reach out to one of our partners, download a file, and then dump it in to a Data Lake for further processing. This meant that I would need to store a private in Azure Key Vault for use in a Logic App. While this was mainly a straightforward process, there was a small hiccup that we encountered and wanted to pass along.

First, we went ahead and generated a public/private key pair using:

ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096

where rsa is the algorithm and 4096 is the length of the key in bits. We avoided the ec25519 and ecdsa algorithms as our partner does not support elliptic-curve cryptography. As this command was run on a Mac laptop which already has it’s own ~/.ssh/id_rsa[.pub] key pair, we chose a new filename and location /tmp/sftp to temporarily store this new pair.

The problem arose when we tried to insert the private key data into Key Vault as a secret: the Azure portal does not support multi-line secret entry, resulting in a non-standard and ultimately broken key entry.

The solution was to use the Azure CLI to upload the contents of the private key by doing:

az keyvault secret set --vault-name sftp-keyvault -n private-key -f '/tmp/sftp'

This uploaded the file correctly to the secret titled private-key, which means that we can now add a Key Vault action in our Logic App to pull the secret, without having to leave the key in plain view, and then use it as the data source for the private key field in SFTP - Copy File action.

As an aside, we also created a new secret called public-key and uploaded a copy of just so that 6 months from now if we need to recall a copy of it to send to another partner, it’s there for us to grab.

Posts navigation