Tutorial: Integrate Azure Key Vault in Resource Manager Template deployment

Learn how to retrieve secrets from Azure Key Vault and pass the secrets as parameters during Resource Manager deployment. The value is never exposed because you only reference its key vault ID. For more information, see Use Azure Key Vault to pass secure parameter value during deployment

In the Set resource deployment order tutorial, you create a virtual machine. You need to provide the virtual machine administrator username and password. Instead of providing the password, you can pre-store the password in an Azure Key Vault and then customize the template to retrieve the password from the key vault during the deployment.

Resource Manager template Key Vault integration diagram

This tutorial covers the following tasks:

  • Prepare a key vault
  • Open a QuickStart template
  • Edit the parameters file
  • Deploy the template
  • Validate the deployment
  • Clean up resources

If you don't have an Azure subscription, create a free account before you begin.


This article has been updated to use the new Azure PowerShell Az module. You can still use the AzureRM module, which will continue to receive bug fixes until at least December 2020. To learn more about the new Az module and AzureRM compatibility, see Introducing the new Azure PowerShell Az module. For Az module installation instructions, see Install Azure PowerShell.


To complete this article, you need:

Prepare a key vault

In this section, you create a key vault and add a secret to the key vault, so that you can retrieve the secret when you deploy your template. There are many ways to create a key vault. In this tutorial, you use Azure PowerShell to deploy a Resource Manager template. This template does:

  • Create a key vault with the enabledForTemplateDeployment property enables. This property must be true before the template deployment process can access the secrets defined in this key vault.
  • Add a secret to the key vault. The secret stores the virtual machine administrator password.


If you (as the user to deploy the virtual machine template) are not the owner or the contributor of the key vault, the Owner or a Contributor of the key vault must grant you the access to the Microsoft.KeyVault/vaults/deploy/action permission for the key vault. For more information, see Use Azure Key Vault to pass secure parameter value during deployment

To run the following PowerShell script, select Try it to open the Cloud shell. To paste the script, right-click the shell pane, and then select Paste.

$projectName = Read-Host -Prompt "Enter a project name that is used for generating resource names"
$location = Read-Host -Prompt "Enter the location (i.e. centralus)"
$upn = Read-Host -Prompt "Enter your user principal name (email address) used to sign in to Azure"
$secretValue = Read-Host -Prompt "Enter the virtual machine administrator password" -AsSecureString

$resourceGroupName = "${projectName}rg"
$keyVaultName = $projectName
$adUserId = (Get-AzADUser -UserPrincipalName $upn).Id
$templateUri = "https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Azure/azure-docs-json-samples/master/tutorials-use-key-vault/CreateKeyVault.json"

New-AzResourceGroup -Name $resourceGroupName -Location $location
New-AzResourceGroupDeployment -ResourceGroupName $resourceGroupName -TemplateUri $templateUri -keyVaultName $keyVaultName -adUserId $adUserId -secretValue $secretValue

A few pieces of important information:

  • The resource group name is the project name with rg appended. To make it easier to clean up the resources created in this tutorial, use the same project name and resource group name when you deploy the next template.
  • The default name for the secret name is vmAdminPassword. It is hardcoded in the template.
  • To be able for the template to retrieve the secret, you must enable an access policy called Enable access to Azure Resource Manager for template deployment for the key vault. This policy is enabled in the template. For more information about this access policy, see Deploy key vaults and secrets.

The template has one output value called keyVaultId. Write down the value. You need this ID when you deploy the virtual machine. The Resource ID format is:


When you copy and paste the ID, the ID might be broken into multiple lines. You must merge the lines and trim the extra spaces.

To validate the deployment, run the following PowerShell command in the same shell pane to retrieve the secret in clear text. The command only works in the same shell session because it uses a variable $keyVaultName defined in the previous PowerShell script.

(Get-AzKeyVaultSecret -vaultName $keyVaultName  -name "vmAdminPassword").SecretValueText

Now you have prepared a key vault and a secret, the following sections show you how to customize an existing template to retrieve the secret during the deployment.

Open a Quickstart template

Azure QuickStart Templates is a repository for Resource Manager templates. Instead of creating a template from scratch, you can find a sample template and customize it. The template used in this tutorial is called Deploy a simple Windows VM.

  1. From Visual Studio Code, select File>Open File.

  2. In File name, paste the following URL:

  3. Select Open to open the file. It is the same scenario used in Tutorial: create Azure Resource Manager templates with dependent resources.

  4. There are five resources defined by the template:

  5. Select File>Save As to save a copy of the file to your local computer with the name azuredeploy.json.

  6. Repeat steps 1-4 to open the following URL, and then save the file as azuredeploy.parameters.json.


Edit the parameters file

You don't need to make any changes to the template file.

  1. Open azuredeploy.parameters.json in Visual Studio Code if it is not opened.

  2. Update the adminPassword parameter to:

    "adminPassword": {
        "reference": {
            "keyVault": {
            "id": "/subscriptions/<SubscriptionID>/resourceGroups/mykeyvaultdeploymentrg/providers/Microsoft.KeyVault/vaults/<KeyVaultName>"
            "secretName": "vmAdminPassword"


    Replace the value of id with the resource ID of your key vault created in the last procedure.

    integrate key vault and Resource Manager template virtual machine deployment parameters file

  3. Give the values to:

    • adminUsername: name the virtual machine administrator account.
    • dnsLabelPrefix: name the dnsLabelPrefix.

    See an example in the previous screenshot.

  4. Save the changes.

Deploy the template

Follow the instructions in Deploy the template to deploy the template. You must upload both azuredeploy.json and azuredeploy.parameters.json to the Cloud shell, and then use the following PowerShell script to deploy the template:

$projectName = Read-Host -Prompt "Enter the same project name that is used for creating the key vault"
$location = Read-Host -Prompt "Enter the same location that is used for creating the key vault (i.e. centralus)"
$resourceGroupName = "${projectName}rg"

New-AzResourceGroupDeployment `
    -ResourceGroupName $resourceGroupName `
    -TemplateFile "$HOME/azuredeploy.json" `
    -TemplateParameterFile "$HOME/azuredeploy.parameters.json"

When you deploy the template, use the same resource group as the key vault. It makes easier when you clean up the resources. You only need to delete one resource group instead of two.

Validate the deployment

After you have successfully deployed the virtual machine, test the login using the password stored in the key vault.

  1. Open the Azure portal.
  2. Select Resource grouips/YourResourceGroupName>/simpleWinVM
  3. Select connect from the top.
  4. Select Download RDP File and then follow the instructions to sign in into the virtual machine using the password stored in the key vault.

Clean up resources

When the Azure resources are no longer needed, clean up the resources you deployed by deleting the resource group.

$projectName = Read-Host -Prompt "Enter the same project name that is used for creating the key vault"
$resourceGroupName = "${projectName}rg"

Remove-AzResourceGroup -Name $resourceGroupName

Next steps

In this tutorial, you retrieved a secret from Azure Key Vault, and used the secret in your template deployment. To learn how to create linked templates, see: