Extending MySQL 8.4  /  ...  /  Writing Keyring Plugins

4.4.12 Writing Keyring Plugins

MySQL Server supports a keyring service that enables internal server components and plugins to securely store sensitive information for later retrieval. This section describes how to write a server-side keyring plugin that can be used by service functions to perform key-management operations. For general keyring information, see The MySQL Keyring.


MySQL 8.4 removed the deprecated keyring plugins in favor of using the keyring components. For example, use component_keyring_file instead of keyring_file. For related information, see Keyring Components Versus Keyring Plugins.

The instructions here are based on the source code in the plugin/keyring directory of MySQL source distributions. The source files in that directory implement a plugin named keyring_file that uses a file local to the server host for data storage.

To write a keyring plugin, include the following header file in the plugin source file. Other MySQL or general header files might also be needed, depending on the plugin capabilities and requirements.

#include <mysql/plugin_keyring.h>

plugin_keyring.h includes plugin.h, so you need not include the latter file explicitly. plugin.h defines the MYSQL_KEYRING_PLUGIN server plugin type and the data structures needed to declare the plugin. plugin_keyring.h defines data structures specific to keyring plugins.

A keyring plugin, like any MySQL server plugin, has a general plugin descriptor (see Section, “Server Plugin Library and Plugin Descriptors”). In keyring.cc, the general descriptor for keyring_file looks like this:

  MYSQL_KEYRING_PLUGIN,     /* type                                     */
  &keyring_descriptor,      /* descriptor                               */
  "keyring_file",           /* name                                     */
  "Oracle Corporation",     /* author                                   */
  "store/fetch authentication data to/from a flat file", /* description */
  keyring_init,             /* init function (when loaded)              */
  keyring_deinit,           /* deinit function (when unloaded)          */
  0x0100,                   /* version                                  */
  NULL,                     /* status variables                         */
  keyring_system_variables, /* system variables                         */

The name member (keyring_file) indicates the plugin name. This is the name displayed by INFORMATION_SCHEMA.PLUGINS or SHOW PLUGINS.

The general descriptor also refers to keyring_system_variables, a structure that exposes a system variable to the SHOW VARIABLES statement:

static struct st_mysql_sys_var *keyring_system_variables[]= {

The keyring_init initialization function creates the data file if it does not exist, then reads it and initializes the keystore. The keyring_deinit function frees data structures associated with the file.

The keyring_descriptor value in the general descriptor points to the type-specific descriptor. For keyring plugins, this descriptor has the following structure:

struct st_mysql_keyring
  int interface_version;
  bool (*mysql_key_store)(const char *key_id, const char *key_type,
                          const char* user_id, const void *key, size_t key_len);
  bool (*mysql_key_fetch)(const char *key_id, char **key_type,
                          const char *user_id, void **key, size_t *key_len);
  bool (*mysql_key_remove)(const char *key_id, const char *user_id);
  bool (*mysql_key_generate)(const char *key_id, const char *key_type,
                             const char *user_id, size_t key_len);

The type-specific descriptor has these members:

  • interface_version: By convention, type-specific plugin descriptors begin with the interface version for the given plugin type. The server checks interface_version when it loads the plugin to see whether the plugin is compatible with it. For keyring plugins, the value of the interface_version member is MYSQL_KEYRING_INTERFACE_VERSION (defined in plugin_keyring.h).

  • mysql_key_store: A function that obfuscates and stores a key in the keyring.

  • mysql_key_fetch: A function that deobfuscates and retrieves a key from the keyring.

  • mysql_key_remove: A function that removes a key from the keyring.

  • mysql_key_generate: A function that generates a new random key and stores it in the keyring.

For the keyring_file plugin, the type-specific descriptor looks like this:

static struct st_mysql_keyring keyring_descriptor=

The mysql_key_xxx functions implemented by a keyring plugin are analogous to the my_key_xxx functions exposed by the keyring service API. For example, the mysql_key_store plugin function is analogous to the my_key_store keyring service function. For information about the arguments to keyring service functions and how they are used, see The Keyring Service.

To compile and install a plugin library file, use the instructions in Section 4.4.3, “Compiling and Installing Plugin Libraries”. To make the library file available for use, install it in the plugin directory (the directory named by the plugin_dir system variable). For the keyring_file plugin, it is compiled and installed when you build MySQL from source. It is also included in binary distributions. The build process produces a shared object library with a name of keyring_file.so (the .so suffix might differ depending on your platform).

Keyring plugins typically are loaded early during the server startup process so that they are available to built-in plugins and storage engines that might depend on them. For keyring_file, use these lines in the server my.cnf file, adjusting the .so suffix for your platform as necessary:


For additional information about plugin loading, see Installing and Uninstalling Plugins.

To verify plugin installation, examine the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.PLUGINS table or use the SHOW PLUGINS statement (see Obtaining Server Plugin Information). For example:

       WHERE PLUGIN_NAME LIKE 'keyring%';
| keyring_file | ACTIVE        |

While the keyring_file plugin is installed, it exposes a system variable that indicates the location of the data file it uses for secure information storage:

mysql> SHOW VARIABLES LIKE 'keyring_file%';
| Variable_name     | Value                            |
| keyring_file_data | /usr/local/mysql/keyring/keyring |

To disable the plugin after testing it, restart the server without an --early-plugin-load option that names the plugin.