Security Token Service (STS) for MinIO Operator


New in version Operator: v5.0.0

The MinIO Operator supports a set of API calls that allows an application to obtain STS credentials for a MinIO Tenant.

Benefits of STS for MinIO Operator include:

  • STS credentials allow an application to access objects on a MinIO Tenant without the need to create credentials for the application on the tenant.

  • Allows applications to access objects in MinIO tenants using a Kubernetes-native authentication mechanism.

    Service Accounts or Service Account Tokens are a core concept of Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) authentication in Kubernetes.

  • Implementing STS for MinIO Operator allows you to utilize infrastructure as code principles and configuration by using the tenant custom resource definition (CRD) and a MinIO PolicyBinding CRD.


Starting with Operator v5.0.11, STS is enabled by default.

Previous versions of the Operator start with STS disabled by default. To use STS with v5.0.10 or older versions of the Operator, you must first explicitly enable it.

The procedure on this page includes instructions to enable the STS API in the MinIO Operator.

How STS Authorization Works in Kubernetes

An application can use an AssumeRoleWithWebIdentity call including a Kubernetes Service Account’s JWT to send a request for temporary credentials to the MinIO Operator. When linked to a pod, such as through a deployment’s .spec.spec.serviceAccountName field, Kubernetes mounts a JWT for the service account from a well-known location, such as /var/run/secrets/ The Pod can access those service accounts from that location.

The Operator checks the validity of the request, retrieves policies for the application, obtains credentials from the tenant, and then passes the credentials back the application. The application uses the issued credentials to work with the object storage on the tenant.

A diagram showing STS token process flow on a Kubernetes MinIO deployment between the requesting application, MinIO Operator, Kubernetes API, PolicyBinding custom resource definition, and the MinIO tenant.

The complete process includes the following steps:

  1. An application sends an AssumeRoleWithWebidentity API request to the MinIO Operator containing the tenant namespace and a service account to use.

  2. The MinIO Operator uses the Kubernetes API to check that the JSON Web Token (JWT) associated with the service account in the application’s request is valid.

  3. The Kubernetes API returns the results of its validity check.

  4. The MinIO Operator checks for Policy Bindings that matches the application.

  5. The PolicyBinding CRD returns the policy or policies that match the request, if any.

  6. The MinIO Operator sends the combined policy information for the application to the MinIO Tenant.

  7. The tenant creates temporary credentials matching the policy or policies for the request and returns those to the MinIO Operator.

  8. The MinIO Operator forwards the temporary credentials back to the application.

  9. The application uses the credentials to send the object storage calls to the MinIO tenant.


STS for the MinIO Operator requires the following:


  1. Enable STS functionality for the deployment


    This step is optional for Operator version 5.0.11 or later.

    kubectl -n minio-operator set env deployment/minio-operator OPERATOR_STS_ENABLED=on
    • Replace minio-operator with the namespace for your deployment.

    • Replace deployment/minio-operator with the value for your deployment’s MinIO Operator.

      You can find the deployment value by running kubectl get deployments -n <namespace>, where you replace <namespace> with the namespace for the MinIO Operator. Your MinIO Operator namespace is typically minio-operator, though this value can change during install.

  2. Ensure an appropriate policy or policies exist on the MinIO Tenant for the application to use for the application

    The next step uses a YAML document to map one or more existing tenant policies to a service account through a custom resource called a PolicyBinding.

  3. Create YAML resources for the Service Account and Policy Binding:

    • Create the Service Account in the MinIO Tenant for the application to use.

      For more on service accounts in Kubernetes, see the Kubernetes documentation.

    • Create a Policy Binding in the target tenant’s namespace that links the application to one or more of the MinIO Tenant’s policies.

  4. Apply the YAML file to create the resources on the deployment

    kubectl apply -k path/to/yaml/file.yaml
  5. Use an SDK that supports the AssumeRoleWithWebIdentity like behavior to send a call from your application to the deployment

    The STS API expects a JWT for the service account to exist in the Kubernetes environment. When linked to a pod, such as through a deployment’s .spec.spec.serviceAccountName field, Kubernetes mounts a JWT for the service account from a well-known location, such as /var/run/secrets/

    Alternatively, you can define the token path as an environment variable:


    The following MinIO SDKs support AssumeRoleRoleWithWebIdentity:

    For examples of using the SDKs to assume a role, see GitHub.

Example Resources

Service Account

A Service Account is a Kubernetes resource type that allows an external application to interact with the Kubernetes deployment. When linked to a pod, such as through a deployment’s .spec.spec.serviceAccountName field, Kubernetes mounts a JWT for the service account from a well-known location, such as /var/run/secrets/

The following yaml creates a service account called stsclient-sa for the sts-client namespace.

apiVersion: v1
kind: ServiceAccount
  namespace: sts-client # The namespace to add the service account to. Usually a tenant, but can be any namespace in the deployment.
  name: stsclient-sa # The name to use for the service account.

Policy Binding

A PolicyBinding is a MinIO-specific custom resource type for Kubernetes that links an application to a set of policies.

Create Policy Bindings in the namespace of the tenant they are for.

For the purposes of the MinIO Operator, an application is any requesting resource that identifies with a specific service account and tenant namespace. The PolicyBinding resource links the application to one or more policies for the tenant on that namespace.

The below yaml creates a PolicyBinding that links an application using the service account stsclient-sa that exists in the namespace sts-client to the policy test-bucket-rw in the target tenant located in the namespace minio-tenant-1. The policies granted in the yaml definition must already exist on the MinIO Tenant.

kind: PolicyBinding
  name: binding-1
  namespace: minio-tenant-1 # The namespace of the tenant this binding is for
    namespace: sts-client # The namespace that contains the service account for the application
    serviceaccount: stsclient-sa # The service account to use for the application
    - test-bucket-rw # A policy that already exists in the tenant
    # - test-bucket-policy-2 # Add as many policies as needed