When configuring Fluentd we often need to provide credentials to access event sources, targets, and associated services such as notification tools like Slack and PagerDuty. The challenge is that we don’t want the credentials to be in clear text in the Fluentd configuration.
Using Env Vars
In the Logging In Action with Fluentd book, we illustrated how we can take the sensitive values from environment variables so the values don’t show up in the configuration file. But, we’ve seen regularly the question of how secure is this, can’t the environment variable be seen by everyone on that machine?
The answer to this question comes down to having a deeper understanding of how environment variables work. There is a really good explanation here. The long and short of it is that environment variables can only be seen by the process that creates the variable and any child process will receive a copy of the parent’s variables.
This means that if we create the variable in a shell, only that shell and any processes launched by that shell can see the environment variable. So as long as we don’t set variables up as part of a system-level configuration then we already have a level of security. So we could wrap the start of Fluentd with a script that sets the environment variables needed. Then everything launches that script.