Barbican is a ReST API designed for the secure storage, provisioning and management of secrets, including in OpenStack environments.
You can not select more than 25 topics Topics must start with a letter or number, can include dashes ('-') and can be up to 35 characters long.
Zuul ca6c205e87 Merge "Remove six" 1 week ago
api-guide/source Remove unnecessary unicode prefixes 7 months ago
barbican Merge "Remove six" 1 week ago
bin Update json module to jsonutils 4 years ago
devstack Update devstack plugin installation doc 2 months ago
doc Merge "Remove unnecessary unicode prefixes" 1 month ago
etc Add audit middleware options to barbican.conf 2 months ago
functionaltests Merge "Remove six" 1 week ago
playbooks Add FIPS gate job 2 years ago
releasenotes Imported Translations from Zanata 2 months ago
.coveragerc Update .coveragerc after the removal of respective directory 6 years ago
.gitignore Switch to stestr 4 years ago
.gitreview OpenDev Migration Patch 4 years ago
.mailmap Add .mailmap file 9 years ago
.stestr.conf Switch to stestr 4 years ago
.zuul.yaml Switch to 2023.1 Python3 unit tests and generic template name 2 months ago
HACKING.rst Remove six 1 month ago
LICENSE Update LICENSE 10 years ago
README.rst docs: Update Freenode to OFTC 2 years ago
apiary.apib Replace URLs with URLs 4 years ago
bindep.txt Add FIPS gate job 2 years ago
requirements.txt Remove six 1 month ago
setup.cfg Drop python3.6/3.7 support in testing runtime 7 months ago Cleanup py27 support 3 years ago
test-requirements.txt Merge "Update doc8 version" 2 years ago
tox.ini Merge "Remove unnecessary hacking checks" 2 months ago


Team and repository tags



Barbican is a REST API designed for the secure storage, provisioning and management of secrets. It is aimed at being useful for all environments, including large ephemeral Clouds.

Barbican is an OpenStack project developed by the Barbican Project Team with support from Rackspace Hosting <>_, EMC, Ericsson, Johns Hopkins University, HP, Red Hat, Cisco Systems, and many more.

The full documentation can be found on the Barbican Developer Documentation Site.

To file a bug, use our bug tracker on OpenStack Storyboard.

Release notes for the project can be found at

Future design work is tracked at

For development questions or discussion, use the OpenStack-discuss mailing list at and let us know what you think, just add [barbican] to the subject. You can also join our IRC channel #openstack-barbican on OFTC.

Client Libraries

Getting Started

Please visit our Users, Developers and Operators documentation for details.

Why Should You Use Barbican?

The current state of key management is atrocious. While Windows does have some decent options through the use of the Data Protection API (DPAPI) and Active Directory, Linux lacks a cohesive story around how to manage keys for application use.

Barbican was designed to solve this problem. The system was motivated by internal Rackspace needs, requirements from OpenStack and a realization that the current state of the art could use some help.

Barbican will handle many types of secrets, including:

  • Symmetric Keys - Used to perform reversible encryption of data at rest, typically using the AES algorithm set. This type of key is required to enable features like encrypted Swift containers and Cinder volumes, encrypted Cloud Backups, etc.
  • Asymmetric Keys - Asymmetric key pairs (sometimes referred to as public / private keys) are used in many scenarios where communication between untrusted parties is desired. The most common case is with SSL/TLS certificates, but also is used in solutions like SSH keys, S/MIME (mail) encryption and digital signatures.
  • Raw Secrets - Barbican stores secrets as a base64 encoded block of data (encrypted, naturally). Clients can use the API to store any secrets in any format they desire.

For the symmetric and asymmetric key types, Barbican supports full life cycle management including provisioning, expiration, reporting, etc.

Design Goals

  1. Provide a central secret-store capable of distributing secret / keying material to all types of deployments including ephemeral Cloud instances.
  2. Support reasonable compliance regimes through reporting and auditability.
  3. Application adoption costs should be minimal or non-existent.
  4. Build a community and ecosystem by being open-source and extensible.
  5. Improve security through sane defaults and centralized management of policies for all secrets.
  6. Provide an out of band communication mechanism to notify and protect sensitive assets.