How can I store my key pair (typically the id_rsa and id_rsa.pub) in azure key vault. I want to put the public key in my GIT service and allow a virtual machine to download the private key from Azure key vault -> So that it can access GIT securely.

I tried making a pair of PEM files and combining them into a pfx and uploading that as a secret bu the file I get back appears to be completely different to either pem file.

I also tried manually inputting my secret key into Azure but it turns the newlines into spaces.


3 Answers 3


You could use Azure CLI to upload id_rsa to Azure Key Vault.

azure keyvault secret set --name shui --vault-name shui --file ~/.ssh/id_rsa

You could use -h to get help.

--file <file-name>                 the file that contains the secret value to be uploaded; cannot be used along with the --value or --json-value flag

You could also download secret from key vault.

az keyvault secret download --name shui --vault-name shui --file ~/.ssh/id_rsa

I compare the keys on my lab. They are same.

  • Sorry, I'm not the OP, I just read this and tested it and filed it away as useful knowledge and felt I owed you a vote up + comment :). Apologies for the confusion.
    – Reaces
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 12:02
  • >Sorry, I'm not the OP, I just read this and tested it and filed it away as useful knowledge and felt I owed you a vote up + comment :) Sounds funny. So friendly community.
    – Net Runner
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 14:04
  • I'm OP, thanks a lot Walter! I couldn't get the native CLI to work but did it through Python. Was able to log in, store my key and retrieve it. The -h tip was really helpful because it shows much more information than when you just get something wrong Commented May 4, 2017 at 14:41
  • what are the -u and -s flags? I don't see them on azure-cli (2.0.14)
    – s g
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 23:50
  • 2
    FYI, following is proper ways to get secret get does not work anymore. az keyvault secret download --name <KeyNameHere> --vault-name <vaultNamehere> --file <filename here> Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 1:06

The previous answer by Shengbao Shui shows the command to store a secret using the Azure CLI 1.0 (Node). For Azure CLI 2.0 (Python) use the following syntax:

Set / Store Key:

az keyvault secret set --vault-name 'myvault' -n 'secret-name' -f '~/.ssh/id_rsa'


    --name -n    [Required]: Name of the secret.
    --vault-name [Required]: Name of the key vault.
    --description          : Description of the secret contents (e.g. password, connection string,
    --disabled             : Create secret in disabled state.  Allowed values: false, true.
    --expires              : Expiration UTC datetime  (Y-m-d'T'H:M:S'Z').
    --not-before           : Key not usable before the provided UTC datetime  (Y-m-d'T'H:M:S'Z').
    --tags                 : Space-separated tags in 'key[=value]' format. Use '' to clear existing

Content Source Arguments
    --encoding -e          : Source file encoding. The value is saved as a tag (`file-
                             encoding=<val>`) and used during download to automatically encode the
                             resulting file.  Allowed values: ascii, base64, hex, utf-16be,
                             utf-16le, utf-8.  Default: utf-8.
    --file -f              : Source file for secret. Use in conjunction with '--encoding'.
    --value                : Plain text secret value. Cannot be used with '--file' or '--encoding'.

Global Arguments
    --debug                : Increase logging verbosity to show all debug logs.
    --help -h              : Show this help message and exit.
    --output -o            : Output format.  Allowed values: json, jsonc, table, tsv.  Default:
    --query                : JMESPath query string. See http://jmespath.org/ for more information
                             and examples.
    --verbose              : Increase logging verbosity. Use --debug for full debug logs.

Retrieve / Get Key:

Save the key to a file ~/.ssh/mykey using the jq utility.

az keyvault secret show --vault-name myvault --name 'secret-name' | jq -r .value > ~/.ssh/mykey

Files may print with a trailing newline, which you can remove with a perl one-liner:

perl -pi -e 'chomp if eof' ~/.ssh/mykey

# Set permissions to user-read only
chmod 600 ~/.ssh/mykey

Generate the public key from the private key file...

ssh-keygen -y -f ~/.ssh/myfile > ~/.ssh/myfile.pub
  • You can combine the built-in jmespath --query option of az with the -o tsv option to output the key without requiring jq: az keyvault secret show --vault-name myvault --name 'secret-name' --query "value" -o tsv > ~/.ssh/mykey
    – daviewales
    Commented Jan 25 at 5:05

If we want to store the ssh key in KeyVault in ASCII Encoded format then we can use the below command. $az keyvault secret set –-vault-name <KEY_VAULT_NAME> -–name <NAME_OF_THE_KEY> –-file <PATH_OF_THE_SSH_KEY_FILE> -–encoding ascii

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