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Configuring Workload ID and AWS Roles Anywhere


Teleport Workload Identity is currently in Preview. This means that some features may be missing. We're actively looking for design partners to help us shape the future of Workload Identity and would love to hear your feedback.

Teleport Workload Identity issues flexible short-lived identities in X.509 certificates. AWS Roles Anywhere allows you to use these certificates to authenticate to AWS services.

This can be useful in cases where a machine needs to securely authenticate with AWS services without the use of a long-lived credential. This is because the machine can authenticate with Teleport without using any shared secrets by using one of our delegated join methods.

How it works

This implementation differs from using the Teleport Application Service to protect AWS APIs in a few ways:

  • Requests to AWS are not proxied through the Teleport Proxy Service, meaning reduced latency but also less visibility, as these requests will not be recorded in Teleport's audit log.
  • Workload ID works with any AWS client, including the command-line tool but also their SDKs
  • Using the Teleport Application Service to access AWS does not work with Machine ID and therefore cannot be used when a machine needs to authenticate with AWS.

Whilst this guide is primarily aimed at allowing a machine to access AWS, the tsh svid issue command can be used in place of Machine ID to allow a human user to authenticate with using AWS Roles Anywhere.


  • A running Teleport cluster version 16.0.4 or above. If you want to get started with Teleport, sign up for a free trial or set up a demo environment.

  • The tctl admin tool and tsh client tool.

    Visit Installation for instructions on downloading tctl and tsh.

  • To check that you can connect to your Teleport cluster, sign in with tsh login, then verify that you can run tctl commands using your current credentials. tctl is supported on macOS and Linux machines. For example:
    tsh login --user=[email protected]
    tctl status


    Version 16.0.4

    CA pin sha256:abdc1245efgh5678abdc1245efgh5678abdc1245efgh5678abdc1245efgh5678

    If you can connect to the cluster and run the tctl status command, you can use your current credentials to run subsequent tctl commands from your workstation. If you host your own Teleport cluster, you can also run tctl commands on the computer that hosts the Teleport Auth Service for full permissions.
  • tbot must already be installed and configured on the host where the workloads which need to access Teleport Workload Identity will run. For more information, see the deployment guides.

Deciding on a SPIFFE ID structure

Within Teleport Workload Identity, all identities are represented using a SPIFFE ID. This is a URI that uniquely identifies the entity that the identity represents. The scheme is always spiffe://, and the host will be the name of your Teleport cluster. The structure of the path of this URI is up to you.

For the purposes of this guide, we will be granting access to AWS to the spiffe:// SPIFFE ID.

If you have already deployed Teleport Workload Identity, then you will already have a SPIFFE ID structure in place. If you have not, then you will need to decide on a structure for your SPIFFE IDs.

If you are only using Teleport Workload ID with AWS Roles Anywhere, you way structure your SPIFFE IDs so that they explicitly specify the AWS role they are allowed to assume. However, it often makes more sense to name the workload or person that will use the SPIFFE ID. See the best practices guide for further advice.

Step 1/4. Configure AWS Roles Anywhere

Configuring AWS Roles Anywhere for the first time involves a few steps. Some of these may not be necessary if you have previously configured AWS Roles Anywhere for your Teleport cluster.

Configure a Roles Anywhere Trust Anchor

If you have previously configured AWS Roles Anywhere for your Teleport cluster, you can skip this step.

First, we must establish trust between your Teleport cluster and your AWS Roles Anywhere. This will allow AWS to validate X.509 certificates that are issued by your Teleport cluster. This is done by configuring the Teleport cluster's SPIFFE certificate authority as the trust anchor for AWS Roles Anywhere.

First, you must obtain your Teleport cluster's SPIFFE CA:

$ tctl auth export --type spiffe

Now, navigate to "Roles Anywhere" in the AWS console and click "Create a trust anchor". You will need to give it a descriptive name, we suggest using the name of your Teleport cluster with "spiffe" appended.

Select "External certificate bundle" and then paste the output you received from the tctl command into the text box.

You can now click the "Create trust anchor" button.

Create a Role

Next, we must create a role in AWS for your workload to assume. You may also modify the trust policy of an existing role if you prefer.

Navigate to the "Roles" section of the AWS IAM console and click "Create role".

For the "Trusted entity type" select "Custom trust policy".

You will now enter the following:

    "Version": "2012-10-17",
    "Statement": [
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Principal": {
                "Service": ""
            "Action": [
            "Condition": {
                "StringEquals": {
                    "aws:PrincipalTag/x509SAN/URI": "spiffe://"
                "ArnEquals": {
                    "aws:SourceArn": "arn:aws:rolesanywhere:us-east-1:12345789:trust-anchor/0000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000"


  • spiffe:// with the SPIFFE ID you have chosen for your workload.
  • arn:aws:rolesanywhere:us-east-1:12345789:trust-anchor/0000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000 with the ARN of the trust anchor you created in the previous step.

Click "Next" to proceed to the "Add permissions" page. Now select the permissions you wish to grant to your workload on AWS.

Click "Next" to proceed to the "Name, review, and create" page. Give your role a descriptive name, e.g "my-workload-roles-anywhere".

Click "Create role".

Create a Roles Anywhere Profile

Finally, you must create a Roles Anywhere profile.

Navigate back to the "Roles Anywhere" section of the AWS IAM console and click "Create a profile".

Give your profile a descriptive name, e.g "my-workload".

Select the role you created in the previous step.

Click "Create profile".

Step 2/4. Configure Teleport RBAC

Now we need to configure Teleport to allow a X.509 certificate to be issued containing the SPIFFE ID we have chosen.

kind: role
version: v6
  name: my-workload-roles-anywhere
      - path: /svc/example-service


  • my-workload-roles-anywhere with a descriptive name for the role.
  • /my-workload with the path part of the SPIFFE ID you have chosen.

If you intend this SPIFFE ID to be issued by a human, you now need to assign this role to their user:

$ tctl edit user/my-user
# And add the role to the user's roles list

If you intend this SPIFFE ID to be issued by a machine, you now need to assign this role to the bot:

$ tctl bots update my-bot --add-roles my-workload-roles-anywhere

Step 3/4. Issue Workload ID certificates

For machines using tbot

For machines, the tbot service can be used to issue and renew SPIFFE SVIDs as a background process.

Take your already deployed tbot service and configure it to issue SPIFFE SVIDs by adding the following to the tbot configuration file:

  - type: spiffe-svid
      type: directory
      path: /opt/roles-anywhere-svid
      path: /svc/example-service

Restart your tbot service to apply the new configuration.

For humans using tsh

For humans, the tsh CLI can be used to issue a SPIFFE SVID using their pre-existing authentication session.

The tsh command will need to be re-invoked when the SVID expires. By default, SVIDs are issued with a TTL of 1 hour, but this can be configured to be up to 24 hours. It can be convenient to configure this to around 8 hours to allow an engineer to run the command once at the start of their working day.

For example, to issue a SPIFFE SVID for /svc/example-service with an 8 hour TTL:

$ tsh svid issue --output /opt/roles-anywhere-svid --svid-ttl 8h /svc/example-service

Step 4/4. Configure the AWS CLI and SDKs to use Roles Anywhere to authenticate

In order for AWS to use the SVID for authentication, you must also install the AWS Roles Anywhere credential helper. This is a small utility that the AWS CLI and SDKs will use to exchange the SVID for a temporary AWS credential.

Obtain the latest release of the credential helper from the Obtaining temporary security credentials from AWS Identity and Access Management Roles Anywhere guide.

Now, you need to configure a profile that leverages this credential helper.

Add the following to your ~/.aws/config file:

[profile use-roles-anywhere]
credential_process = ./aws_signing_helper credential-process --certificate /opt/roles-anywhere-svid/svid.pem --private-key /opt/roles-anywhere-svid/svid_key.pem --profile-arn $PROFILE_ARN --trust-anchor-arn $TRUST_ANCHOR_ARN --role-arn $ROLE_ARN

Replace $PROFILE_ARN, $TRUST_ANCHOR_ARN, and $ROLE_ARN with the ARNs of the profile, trust anchor, and role you created in the previous steps.

You can now use the use-roles-anywhere profile with the AWS CLI, for example:

$ aws --profile use-roles-anywhere s3 ls

You can also use this profile with the AWS SDKs by setting the AWS_PROFILE environment variable:

$ export AWS_PROFILE=use-roles-anywhere
$ ./my-app

Next steps