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Akeyless: The Leading HashiCorp Vault Alternative

HashiCorp vault vs Akeyless


Today’s digital landscape poses unique challenges for managing secrets, with businesses demanding more flexibility, security, and efficiency than ever before. Enter Akeyless, a groundbreaking secrets management solution and a secure HashiCorp Vault alternative. Akeyless transcends traditional secrets management approaches to deliver a robust, user-friendly Vaultless SaaS solution. By focusing on the specific pain points teams face in dynamic environments, Akeyless offers a compelling suite of features designed to streamline secret management across multiple platforms, making it the go-to choice for organizations aiming to stay ahead in a rapidly changing digital world. Let’s explore more in this blog post.

A Demo Video

Why Consider an Alternative to HashiCorp Vault?

Akeyless vs. HashiCorp Vault

While HashiCorp Vault has been celebrated for its security features, its evolution from a self-hosted solution (enterprise version) to a SaaS offering (HCP Vault) unveils limitations, notably in cost scalability and operational intricacy. The expansion to manage increasing secrets volumes and ensure high availability introduces a cost model that doesn’t favor scaling, presenting a significant challenge for organizations aiming to manage expenses efficiently without compromising security.

Moreover, Vault’s complex setup and management — involving intricate policies, entities, identities, and more — demand substantial time and dedicated resources. This complexity can detract from the agility and innovation businesses seek in a digital-first environment. Now, Akeyless, born in the cloud and crafted as a SaaS-first solution, stands out as a next-generation alternative designed to navigate and streamline the secrets management landscape quickly and efficiently.

Akeyless goes beyond traditional boundaries with its Distributed Fragments Cryptography (DFC) for enhanced security, FIPS 140-2 certification, and a scalable architecture that minimizes hardware dependency. This pivot to Akeyless represents a strategic move towards a solution that prioritizes operational efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and security, tailor-made for the dynamic needs of growing businesses.

While HashiCorp Vault boasts a robust set of security features, organizations seeking external support and enterprise features may find Akeyless comprehensive service and support model more aligned with their needs.

Overview of Akeyless

Overview of Akeyless

Akeyless is revolutionizing secrets management with its Vaultless SaaS platform, offering a seamless, scalable solution for modern digital environments. Moving away from traditional vault-based architectures, Akeyless introduces a more adaptable and streamlined approach to managing digital secrets. This cloud-native solution simplifies the integration and management of secrets across diverse environments, from entirely cloud-based to complex hybrid systems, significantly reducing the operational overhead linked to physical infrastructures.

The main concern I had when I heard of Akeyless as a secrets management solution offered as a SaaS was privacy. There was no way I would store an organization’s secrets under management by a cloud vendor That’s when I learned about Akeyless Distributed Fragments Cryptography (DFC) patented technology.

DFC ensures that secrets are never fully assembled in any location, not even within Akeyless’s infrastructure. Instead, a customer fragment remains within the user’s control, guaranteeing that no organization, cloud service provider, government agency, or Akeyless can access your secrets. This unique approach enhances security and reinforces trust in Akeyless’s commitment to data protection, setting a new standard for SaaS secrets management solutions.

High-Level Comparison between HashiCorp Vault and Akeyless

Choosing between HashiCorp Vault and Akeyless is critical for organizations prioritizing efficient, secure secrets management. Drawing from over six years of my experience with Vault, it’s clear that while it offers robust capabilities, the steep adoption curve can pose challenges, especially for teams seeking agility and simplicity. As we delve into this comparison, it’s essential to understand why Akeyless shines as one of the most efficient HashiCorp Vault alternatives, especially when considering ease of use, cost-effectiveness, and scalability.

  • Ease of Use and Adoption: Akeyless stands out for its intuitive user experience and straightforward setup process, making it easy to get started. Unlike the intricate setup and deep understanding required for Vault’s policies, entities, and group hierarchies, Akeyless simplifies access roles, making secrets management accessible to teams of all skill levels. The platform’s design removes the complexities associated with identity and permissions management, which can often become overwhelming in Vault, especially for beginners. While Akeyless also employs advanced security measures like DFC for unparalleled secure access to sensitive data, it emphasizes a user-friendly approach, ensuring teams can adopt and scale their secrets management efforts without the headache. Below is a screenshot showing the customer fragment ID in the Akeyless gateway which allows Zero Knowledge Encryption.DFC Zero Knowledge Encryption
  • Cost-Effectiveness and Scalability: Akeyless offers a gateway architecture that makes it easy to use and less dependent on hardware, which is cost-effective for businesses of all sizes. Akeyless utilizes lightweight software components called gateways that run on commodity hardware to reduce hardware costs. This model cuts down initial investments and curtails ongoing operational costs. As a SaaS solution, Akeyless is scalable, accommodating growth effortlessly without the need for extensive infrastructure adjustments required by solutions like Vault. This flexibility and efficiency underscore Akeyless advantages, particularly for organizations looking to manage secrets effectively without the complexity and high costs.

In essence, transitioning to Akeyless from HashiCorp Vault represents a strategic move towards simplification, cost reduction, and scalability. Akeyless intuitive approach to access roles and permissions and its straightforward setup offer a compelling alternative for businesses seeking to streamline their secret management without compromising security.

Unique Akeyless Features

Akeyless not only enhances secure access to your systems but also manages API keys, encryption keys, and sensitive data with a level of efficiency and security unmatched by traditional solutions. Now let’s take a look at some of the unique features that Akeyless has that are not currently available in HashiCorp Vault.

1. Automated Rotated Secrets

Akeyless automates the rotation of secrets, ensuring that keys and credentials are regularly updated without manual intervention, reducing the risk of unauthorized access. This is different from dynamic secrets. We’re talking about automating the rotation of Akeyless credentials to connect to external services such as AWS, GCP, Azure, or Databases such as Oracle, MySQL, etc. The key here is the automation. HashiCorp Vault can rotate such credentials, but it’s a manual process every time.

Automated Rotated Secrets

2. RDP, Docker Hub, Ping Client for Dynamic Just-in-Time Secrets

Akeyless supports dynamic secrets for RDP, Docker Hub, and Ping Client, among others. This facilitates secure, temporary access that minimizes the risk of secret exposure. Dynamic secrets have become essential in today’s world. We should no longer rely on static, long-lived secrets.

Dynamic Secrets in Akeyless

3. Custom Targets for Dynamic Secrets

Targets simplify resource and credential management, organizing endpoints in Akeyless and eliminating manual credential updates. This enhances operational efficiency across diverse environments.

Akeyless Targets

4. Secrets Sharing

Akeyless enables easy and secure secret sharing across teams, ensuring that sensitive information is accessible only to authorized users.

Sharing Secrets

5. Universal Identity (UID)

Addressing the secret zero problem challenge, Akeyless’s Universal Identity feature ensures secure access to secrets in on-prem environments. This is one of my favorite features. HashiCorp Vault’s solution to the secret zero problem for on-prem environments is to use the AppRole authentication method alongside the Vault agent. This approach has multiple issues with delivering the role ID and secret ID to the Vault agent. The secret ID is token-bound and has a time-to-live. The vault operator needs to find a way to deliver a new secret ID to the vault agent regularly. This is necessary in case the vault agent restarts for whatever reason.

The Akeyless UID authentication method lets you identify your machines without an initial secret. This authentication method effectively solves the secret zero problem by providing an inherited identity derived from the parent system and an ephemeral token for continuous authentication. The following diagram illustrates the flow of credentials when using UID tokens, demonstrating the elimination of the secret zero problem.

Universal Identity Workflow

The authentication process has an initial phase where the administrator creates the original authentication method. The UID is repeatedly rotated to avoid the secret zero problem until the original credentials become unusable. Constant rotation helps protect against any vulnerability.

6. Password Manager Mobile App and Chrome/Firefox Extension

With its mobile app and browser extensions, Akeyless offers convenient secrets management and autofill capabilities for end-users, enhancing productivity without compromising security. This tool allows for the secure storage management and sharing of personal passwords within a private folder that is inaccessible even to vault admins, ensuring your corporate secrets remain confidential and secure.

Chrome Extension

7. Secure Remote Access

Unlike HashiCorp Vault, which requires a separate product (Boundary) for secure access, Akeyless integrates this feature, providing a streamlined, unified solution for secure remote connections.

Secure Remote Access

8. Automatic Secrets Migration

Akeyless simplifies the transition from other secrets management solutions with capabilities for automatic secrets migration, making it easier for organizations to switch without losing existing configurations. Below is a subset of the supported list:

  • Kubernetes
  • AWS Secrets Manager
  • Azure Key Vault
  • GCP Secret Manager
  • HashiCorp Vault
Automatic Secrets Migration to Akeyless

9. Sync with External Secrets Managers using the Universal Secrets Connector

Akeyless introduced the Universal Secrets Connector, positioning itself as a comprehensive secrets manager of managers. This innovative feature eliminates the isolation of secret stores by facilitating the management of secrets across various platforms directly from the Akeyless interface. This ensures the synchronization of secret updates across multiple platforms, maintaining a single source of truth.

Akeyless supports the following secrets managers:

  • AWS Secrets Manager
  • Azure Key Vault
  • GCP Secret Manager
  • Kubernetes Secrets
Universal Secrets Connector

10. Audit Logs, Log Reporting – UI, Analytics, Event Center

Offering comprehensive auditing and monitoring tools, Akeyless provides detailed insights into secrets usage, access patterns, and potential security threats, facilitating effective governance and compliance. These are all built into the Akeyless platform, providing better visibility over HashiCorp Vault’s current offering.

General Analytics


Certificate Analysis

Certificate Analytics

Audit Logs

Audit Logs

Each feature we explored represents Akeyless’s commitment to advancing secrets management through innovation, security, and ease of use, making it an attractive choice for businesses looking to enhance their secrets management practices.

Frequently Asked Questions SA

  • What are the main differences between Akeyless and HashiCorp Vault? The primary differences lie in their foundational architecture and user experience. Akeyless is designed as a SaaS-first solution, offering a vaultless approach to secrets management that simplifies operations and enhances scalability. Its features, like automatic secrets rotation, dynamic secrets for various platforms, and integrated secure remote access, are tailored for ease of use and comprehensive security. HashiCorp Vault, while robust, relies on a more traditional, vault-based approach, which can introduce complexities in deployment and management.
  • Why is Akeyless considered a better alternative to HashiCorp Vault? Akeyless is considered a better HashiCorp Vault alternative due to its streamlined setup, offering a custom solution that aligns with existing workflows. Its scalable SaaS model, combined with features such as secrets sharing, universal identity, and extensive integrations (including a password manager app and browser extensions), offers a more flexible and cost-effective solution for modern digital environments.
  • How does Akeyless security technology compare to HashiCorp Vault’s? Akeyless advances security technology with its unique DFC mechanism, which encrypts and splits secrets into fragments distributed across different locations, with one fragment always remaining with the customer. This ensures that no single entity, not even Akeyless, can access the complete secret. Coupled with FIPS 140-2 certification, Akeyless provides a robust security framework that is both innovative and compliant with global standards, offering an edge over traditional mechanisms employed by HashiCorp Vault.
  • What are the cost benefits of choosing Akeyless over HashiCorp Vault? Choosing Akeyless over HashiCorp Vault presents significant cost benefits, primarily due to its efficient SaaS model that reduces the need for extensive hardware and maintenance overhead. Its gateway architecture minimizes hardware dependency, allowing for a more scalable and cost-effective approach to secrets management. Additionally, the streamlined operation and management of Akeyless reduce the total cost of ownership by cutting down on the resources required for setup, training, and ongoing management, making it an economically advantageous choice for businesses of all sizes.


As we’ve seen, Akeyless is a compelling alternative to HashiCorp Vault. With its SaaS-first approach, Akeyless offers a unique blend of ease of use, innovative security technologies like DFC, and a cost-effective model that scales with your needs, making it an exemplary privacy-friendly alternative to traditional secrets management solutions. These features, alongside the streamlined management of secrets and the robustness of its security framework, make Akeyless a strong HashiCorp Vault alternative and a next-generation solution for businesses looking to safeguard their secrets efficiently.

But don’t just take my word for it. Every organization has unique needs and challenges when it comes to secrets management. I encourage you to assess how Akeyless offerings align with your requirements. Consider the operational simplicity, the scalability, and the security benefits it brings. How do these factors weigh against the complexities and costs associated with traditional solutions like HashiCorp Vault?

Suppose you’re ready to see Akeyless in action. In that case, I invite you to sign up for free or schedule a demo to experience firsthand how Akeyless can transform your approach to secrets management.


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