[ aws . kms ]



Generates a unique symmetric data key. This operation returns a data key that is encrypted under a KMS key that you specify. To request an asymmetric data key pair, use the GenerateDataKeyPair or GenerateDataKeyPairWithoutPlaintext operations.

GenerateDataKeyWithoutPlaintext is identical to the GenerateDataKey operation except that returns only the encrypted copy of the data key. This operation is useful for systems that need to encrypt data at some point, but not immediately. When you need to encrypt the data, you call the Decrypt operation on the encrypted copy of the key.

It’s also useful in distributed systems with different levels of trust. For example, you might store encrypted data in containers. One component of your system creates new containers and stores an encrypted data key with each container. Then, a different component puts the data into the containers. That component first decrypts the data key, uses the plaintext data key to encrypt data, puts the encrypted data into the container, and then destroys the plaintext data key. In this system, the component that creates the containers never sees the plaintext data key.

GenerateDataKeyWithoutPlaintext returns a unique data key for each request. The bytes in the keys are not related to the caller or KMS key that is used to encrypt the private key.

To generate a data key, you must specify the symmetric KMS key that is used to encrypt the data key. You cannot use an asymmetric KMS key to generate a data key. To get the type of your KMS key, use the DescribeKey operation.

If the operation succeeds, you will find the encrypted copy of the data key in the CiphertextBlob field.

You can use the optional encryption context to add additional security to the encryption operation. If you specify an EncryptionContext , you must specify the same encryption context (a case-sensitive exact match) when decrypting the encrypted data key. Otherwise, the request to decrypt fails with an InvalidCiphertextException . For more information, see Encryption Context in the Key Management Service Developer Guide .

The KMS key that you use for this operation must be in a compatible key state. For details, see Key state: Effect on your KMS key in the Key Management Service Developer Guide .

Cross-account use : Yes. To perform this operation with a KMS key in a different Amazon Web Services account, specify the key ARN or alias ARN in the value of the KeyId parameter.

Required permissions : kms:GenerateDataKeyWithoutPlaintext (key policy)

Related operations:

  • Decrypt

  • Encrypt

  • GenerateDataKey

  • GenerateDataKeyPair

  • GenerateDataKeyPairWithoutPlaintext

See also: AWS API Documentation

See ‘aws help’ for descriptions of global parameters.


--key-id <value>
[--encryption-context <value>]
[--key-spec <value>]
[--number-of-bytes <value>]
[--grant-tokens <value>]
[--cli-input-json | --cli-input-yaml]
[--generate-cli-skeleton <value>]


--key-id (string)

The identifier of the symmetric KMS key that encrypts the data key.

To specify a KMS key, use its key ID, key ARN, alias name, or alias ARN. When using an alias name, prefix it with "alias/" . To specify a KMS key in a different Amazon Web Services account, you must use the key ARN or alias ARN.

For example:

  • Key ID: 1234abcd-12ab-34cd-56ef-1234567890ab

  • Key ARN: arn:aws:kms:us-east-2:111122223333:key/1234abcd-12ab-34cd-56ef-1234567890ab

  • Alias name: alias/ExampleAlias

  • Alias ARN: arn:aws:kms:us-east-2:111122223333:alias/ExampleAlias

To get the key ID and key ARN for a KMS key, use ListKeys or DescribeKey . To get the alias name and alias ARN, use ListAliases .

--encryption-context (map)

Specifies the encryption context that will be used when encrypting the data key.

An encryption context is a collection of non-secret key-value pairs that represents additional authenticated data. When you use an encryption context to encrypt data, you must specify the same (an exact case-sensitive match) encryption context to decrypt the data. An encryption context is optional when encrypting with a symmetric KMS key, but it is highly recommended.

For more information, see Encryption Context in the Key Management Service Developer Guide .

key -> (string)

value -> (string)

Shorthand Syntax:


JSON Syntax:

{"string": "string"

--key-spec (string)

The length of the data key. Use AES_128 to generate a 128-bit symmetric key, or AES_256 to generate a 256-bit symmetric key.

Possible values:

  • AES_256

  • AES_128

--number-of-bytes (integer)

The length of the data key in bytes. For example, use the value 64 to generate a 512-bit data key (64 bytes is 512 bits). For common key lengths (128-bit and 256-bit symmetric keys), we recommend that you use the KeySpec field instead of this one.

--grant-tokens (list)

A list of grant tokens.

Use a grant token when your permission to call this operation comes from a new grant that has not yet achieved eventual consistency . For more information, see Grant token and Using a grant token in the Key Management Service Developer Guide .



"string" "string" ...

--cli-input-json | --cli-input-yaml (string) Reads arguments from the JSON string provided. The JSON string follows the format provided by --generate-cli-skeleton. If other arguments are provided on the command line, those values will override the JSON-provided values. It is not possible to pass arbitrary binary values using a JSON-provided value as the string will be taken literally. This may not be specified along with --cli-input-yaml.

--generate-cli-skeleton (string) Prints a JSON skeleton to standard output without sending an API request. If provided with no value or the value input, prints a sample input JSON that can be used as an argument for --cli-input-json. Similarly, if provided yaml-input it will print a sample input YAML that can be used with --cli-input-yaml. If provided with the value output, it validates the command inputs and returns a sample output JSON for that command.

See ‘aws help’ for descriptions of global parameters.


CiphertextBlob -> (blob)

The encrypted data key. When you use the HTTP API or the Amazon Web Services CLI, the value is Base64-encoded. Otherwise, it is not Base64-encoded.

KeyId -> (string)

The Amazon Resource Name (key ARN ) of the KMS key that encrypted the data key.