Tutorial: Use a managed identity to connect Key Vault to an Azure Spring Apps app


Azure Spring Apps is the new name for the Azure Spring Cloud service. Although the service has a new name, you'll see the old name in some places for a while as we work to update assets such as screenshots, videos, and diagrams.

This article applies to: ✔️ Java ❌ C#

This article applies to: ✔️ Basic/Standard tier ✔️ Enterprise tier

This article shows you how to create a managed identity for an Azure Spring Apps app and use it to access Azure Key Vault.

Azure Key Vault can be used to securely store and tightly control access to tokens, passwords, certificates, API keys, and other secrets for your app. You can create a managed identity in Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), and authenticate to any service that supports Azure AD authentication, including Key Vault, without having to display credentials in your code.

The following video describes how to manage secrets using Azure Key Vault.


Create a resource group

A resource group is a logical container into which Azure resources are deployed and managed. Create a resource group to contain both the Key Vault and Spring Cloud using the command az group create:

az group create --name "myResourceGroup" -l "EastUS"

Set up your Key Vault

To create a Key Vault, use the command az keyvault create:


Each Key Vault must have a unique name. Replace <your-keyvault-name> with the name of your Key Vault in the following examples.

az keyvault create \
    --resource-group <your-resource-group-name> \
    --name "<your-keyvault-name>" 

Make a note of the returned vaultUri, which will be in the format https://<your-keyvault-name>.vault.azure.net. It will be used in the following step.

You can now place a secret in your Key Vault with the command az keyvault secret set:

az keyvault secret set \
    --vault-name "<your-keyvault-name>" \
    --name "connectionString" \
    --value "jdbc:sqlserver://SERVER.database.windows.net:1433;database=DATABASE;"

Create Azure Spring Apps service and app

After installing corresponding extension, create an Azure Spring Apps instance with the Azure CLI command az spring create.

az extension add --name spring
az spring create \
    --resource-group <your-resource-group-name> \
    --name <your-Azure-Spring-Apps-instance-name>

The following example creates an app named springapp with a system-assigned managed identity, as requested by the --system-assigned parameter.

az spring app create \
    --resource-group <your-resource-group-name> \
    --name "springapp" \
    --service <your-Azure-Spring-Apps-instance-name> \
    --assign-endpoint true \
export SERVICE_IDENTITY=$(az spring app show --name "springapp" -s "myspringcloud" -g "myResourceGroup" | jq -r '.identity.principalId')

Make a note of the returned URL, which will be in the format https://<your-app-name>.azuremicroservices.io. This URL will be used in the following step.

Grant your app access to Key Vault

Use the following command to grant proper access in Key Vault for your app:

az keyvault set-policy \
    --name "<your-keyvault-name>" \
    --object-id ${SERVICE_IDENTITY} \
    --secret-permissions set get list


For system-assigned managed identity case, use az keyvault delete-policy --name "<your-keyvault-name>" --object-id ${SERVICE_IDENTITY} to remove the access for your app after system-assigned managed identity is disabled.

Build a sample Spring Boot app with Spring Boot starter

This app will have access to get secrets from Azure Key Vault. Use the Azure Key Vault Secrets Spring boot starter. Azure Key Vault is added as an instance of Spring PropertySource. Secrets stored in Azure Key Vault can be conveniently accessed and used like any externalized configuration property, such as properties in files.

  1. Use the following command to generate a sample project from start.spring.io with Azure Key Vault Spring Starter.

    curl https://start.spring.io/starter.tgz -d dependencies=web,azure-keyvault -d baseDir=springapp -d bootVersion=2.7.2 -d javaVersion=1.8 | tar -xzvf -
  2. Specify your Key Vault in your app.

    cd springapp
    vim src/main/resources/application.properties
  3. To use managed identity for Azure Spring Apps apps, add properties with the following content to the src/main/resources/application.properties file.



You must add the key vault URL in the application.properties file as shown above. Otherwise, the key vault URL may not be captured during runtime.

  1. Add the following code example to src/main/java/com/example/demo/DemoApplication.java. This code retrieves the connection string from the key vault.

    package com.example.demo;
    import org.springframework.boot.SpringApplication;
    import org.springframework.boot.autoconfigure.SpringBootApplication;
    import org.springframework.beans.factory.annotation.Value;
    import org.springframework.boot.CommandLineRunner;
    import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.GetMapping;
    import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RestController;
    public class DemoApplication implements CommandLineRunner {
        private String connectionString;
        public static void main(String[] args) {
            SpringApplication.run(DemoApplication.class, args);
        public String get() {
            return connectionString;
        public void run(String... varl) throws Exception {
            System.out.println(String.format("\nConnection String stored in Azure Key Vault:\n%s\n",connectionString));

    If you open the pom.xml file, you'll see the dependency of spring-cloud-azure-starter-keyvault.

  2. Use the following command to package your sample app.

    ./mvnw clean package -DskipTests
  3. Now you can deploy your app to Azure with the following command:

    az spring app deploy \
        --resource-group <your-resource-group-name> \
        --name "springapp" \
        --service <your-Azure-Spring-Apps-instance-name> \
        --artifact-path target/demo-0.0.1-SNAPSHOT.jar
  4. To test your app, access the public endpoint or test endpoint by using the following command:

    curl https://myspringcloud-springapp.azuremicroservices.io/get

    You'll see the message Successfully got the value of secret connectionString from Key Vault https://<your-keyvault-name>.vault.azure.net/: jdbc:sqlserver://SERVER.database.windows.net:1433;database=DATABASE;.

Next steps