Configure Azure CNI networking in Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)
By default, AKS clusters use kubenet, and a virtual network and subnet are created for you. With kubenet, nodes get an IP address from a virtual network subnet. Network address translation (NAT) is then configured on the nodes, and pods receive an IP address "hidden" behind the node IP. This approach reduces the number of IP addresses that you need to reserve in your network space for pods to use.
With Azure Container Networking Interface (CNI), every pod gets an IP address from the subnet and can be accessed directly. These IP addresses must be unique across your network space, and must be planned in advance. Each node has a configuration parameter for the maximum number of pods that it supports. The equivalent number of IP addresses per node are then reserved up front for that node. This approach requires more planning, and often leads to IP address exhaustion or the need to rebuild clusters in a larger subnet as your application demands grow.
This article shows you how to use Azure CNI networking to create and use a virtual network subnet for an AKS cluster. For more information on network options and considerations, see Network concepts for Kubernetes and AKS.
- The virtual network for the AKS cluster must allow outbound internet connectivity.
- AKS clusters may not use
192.0.2.0/24for the Kubernetes service address range, pod address range, or cluster virtual network address range.
- The cluster identity used by the AKS cluster must have at least Network Contributor permissions on the subnet within your virtual network. If you wish to define a custom role instead of using the built-in Network Contributor role, the following permissions are required:
- The subnet assigned to the AKS node pool cannot be a delegated subnet.
- AKS doesn't apply Network Security Groups (NSGs) to its subnet and will not modify any of the NSGs associated with that subnet. If you provide your own subnet and add NSGs associated with that subnet, you must ensure the security rules in the NSGs allow traffic within the node CIDR range. For more details, see Network security groups.
Plan IP addressing for your cluster
Clusters configured with Azure CNI networking require additional planning. The size of your virtual network and its subnet must accommodate the number of pods you plan to run and the number of nodes for the cluster.
IP addresses for the pods and the cluster's nodes are assigned from the specified subnet within the virtual network. Each node is configured with a primary IP address. By default, 30 additional IP addresses are pre-configured by Azure CNI that are assigned to pods scheduled on the node. When you scale out your cluster, each node is similarly configured with IP addresses from the subnet. You can also view the maximum pods per node.
The number of IP addresses required should include considerations for upgrade and scaling operations. If you set the IP address range to only support a fixed number of nodes, you cannot upgrade or scale your cluster.
When you upgrade your AKS cluster, a new node is deployed into the cluster. Services and workloads begin to run on the new node, and an older node is removed from the cluster. This rolling upgrade process requires a minimum of one additional block of IP addresses to be available. Your node count is then
n + 1.
- This consideration is particularly important when you use Windows Server node pools. Windows Server nodes in AKS do not automatically apply Windows Updates, instead you perform an upgrade on the node pool. This upgrade deploys new nodes with the latest Window Server 2019 base node image and security patches. For more information on upgrading a Windows Server node pool, see Upgrade a node pool in AKS.
When you scale an AKS cluster, a new node is deployed into the cluster. Services and workloads begin to run on the new node. Your IP address range needs to take into considerations how you may want to scale up the number of nodes and pods your cluster can support. One additional node for upgrade operations should also be included. Your node count is then
n + number-of-additional-scaled-nodes-you-anticipate + 1.
If you expect your nodes to run the maximum number of pods, and regularly destroy and deploy pods, you should also factor in some additional IP addresses per node. These additional IP addresses take into consideration it may take a few seconds for a service to be deleted and the IP address released for a new service to be deployed and acquire the address.
The IP address plan for an AKS cluster consists of a virtual network, at least one subnet for nodes and pods, and a Kubernetes service address range.
|Address range / Azure resource||Limits and sizing|
|Virtual network||The Azure virtual network can be as large as /8, but is limited to 65,536 configured IP addresses. Consider all your networking needs, including communicating with services in other virtual networks, before configuring your address space. For example, if you configure too large of an address space, you may run into issues with overlapping other address spaces within your network.|
|Subnet||Must be large enough to accommodate the nodes, pods, and all Kubernetes and Azure resources that might be provisioned in your cluster. For example, if you deploy an internal Azure Load Balancer, its front-end IPs are allocated from the cluster subnet, not public IPs. The subnet size should also take into account upgrade operations or future scaling needs.To calculate the minimum subnet size including an additional node for upgrade operations:
If you don't specify a maximum number of pods per node when you create your cluster, the maximum number of pods per node is set to 30. The minimum number of IP addresses required is based on that value. If you calculate your minimum IP address requirements on a different maximum value, see how to configure the maximum number of pods per node to set this value when you deploy your cluster.
|Kubernetes service address range||This range should not be used by any network element on or connected to this virtual network. Service address CIDR must be smaller than /12. You can reuse this range across different AKS clusters.|
|Kubernetes DNS service IP address||IP address within the Kubernetes service address range that will be used by cluster service discovery. Don't use the first IP address in your address range. The first address in your subnet range is used for the kubernetes.default.svc.cluster.local address.|
|Docker bridge address||The Docker bridge network address represents the default docker0 bridge network address present in all Docker installations. While docker0 bridge is not used by AKS clusters or the pods themselves, you must set this address to continue to support scenarios such as docker build within the AKS cluster. It is required to select a CIDR for the Docker bridge network address because otherwise Docker will pick a subnet automatically, which could conflict with other CIDRs. You must pick an address space that does not collide with the rest of the CIDRs on your networks, including the cluster's service CIDR and pod CIDR. Default of 172.17.0.1/16. You can reuse this range across different AKS clusters.|
Maximum pods per node
The maximum number of pods per node in an AKS cluster is 250. The default maximum number of pods per node varies between kubenet and Azure CNI networking, and the method of cluster deployment.
|Deployment method||Kubenet default||Azure CNI default||Configurable at deployment|
|Azure CLI||110||30||Yes (up to 250)|
|Resource Manager template||110||30||Yes (up to 250)|
|Portal||110||110 (configurable in the Node Pools tab)||Yes (up to 250)|
Configure maximum - new clusters
You're able to configure the maximum number of pods per node at cluster deployment time or as you add new node pools. You can set the maximum pods per node value as high as 250.
If you don't specify maxPods when creating new node pools, you receive a default value of 30 for Azure CNI.
A minimum value for maximum pods per node is enforced to guarantee space for system pods critical to cluster health. The minimum value that can be set for maximum pods per node is 10 if and only if the configuration of each node pool has space for a minimum of 30 pods. For example, setting the maximum pods per node to the minimum of 10 requires each individual node pool to have a minimum of 3 nodes. This requirement applies for each new node pool created as well, so if 10 is defined as maximum pods per node each subsequent node pool added must have at least 3 nodes.
The minimum value in the table above is strictly enforced by the AKS service. You can not set a maxPods value lower than the minimum shown as doing so can prevent the cluster from starting.
- Azure CLI: Specify the
--max-podsargument when you deploy a cluster with the az aks create command. The maximum value is 250.
- Resource Manager template: Specify the
maxPodsproperty in the ManagedClusterAgentPoolProfile object when you deploy a cluster with a Resource Manager template. The maximum value is 250.
- Azure portal: Change the
Max pods per nodefield in the node pool settings when creating a cluster or adding a new node pool.
Configure maximum - existing clusters
The maxPod per node setting can be defined when you create a new node pool. If you need to increase the maxPod per node setting on an existing cluster, add a new node pool with the new desired maxPod count. After migrating your pods to the new pool, delete the older pool. To delete any older pool in a cluster, ensure you are setting node pool modes as defined in the system node pools document.
When you create an AKS cluster, the following parameters are configurable for Azure CNI networking:
Virtual network: The virtual network into which you want to deploy the Kubernetes cluster. If you want to create a new virtual network for your cluster, select Create new and follow the steps in the Create virtual network section. For information about the limits and quotas for an Azure virtual network, see Azure subscription and service limits, quotas, and constraints.
Subnet: The subnet within the virtual network where you want to deploy the cluster. If you want to create a new subnet in the virtual network for your cluster, select Create new and follow the steps in the Create subnet section. For hybrid connectivity, the address range shouldn't overlap with any other virtual networks in your environment.
Azure Network Plugin: When Azure network plugin is used, the internal LoadBalancer service with "externalTrafficPolicy=Local" can't be accessed from VMs with an IP in clusterCIDR that does not belong to AKS cluster.
Kubernetes service address range: This parameter is the set of virtual IPs that Kubernetes assigns to internal services in your cluster. You can use any private address range that satisfies the following requirements:
- Must not be within the virtual network IP address range of your cluster
- Must not overlap with any other virtual networks with which the cluster virtual network peers
- Must not overlap with any on-premises IPs
- Must not be within the ranges
Although it's technically possible to specify a service address range within the same virtual network as your cluster, doing so is not recommended. Unpredictable behavior can result if overlapping IP ranges are used. For more information, see the FAQ section of this article. For more information on Kubernetes services, see Services in the Kubernetes documentation.
Kubernetes DNS service IP address: The IP address for the cluster's DNS service. This address must be within the Kubernetes service address range. Don't use the first IP address in your address range. The first address in your subnet range is used for the kubernetes.default.svc.cluster.local address.
Docker Bridge address: The Docker bridge network address represents the default docker0 bridge network address present in all Docker installations. While docker0 bridge is not used by AKS clusters or the pods themselves, you must set this address to continue to support scenarios such as docker build within the AKS cluster. It is required to select a CIDR for the Docker bridge network address because otherwise Docker will pick a subnet automatically which could conflict with other CIDRs. You must pick an address space that does not collide with the rest of the CIDRs on your networks, including the cluster's service CIDR and pod CIDR.
Configure networking - CLI
When you create an AKS cluster with the Azure CLI, you can also configure Azure CNI networking. Use the following commands to create a new AKS cluster with Azure CNI networking enabled.
First, get the subnet resource ID for the existing subnet into which the AKS cluster will be joined:
$ az network vnet subnet list \ --resource-group myVnet \ --vnet-name myVnet \ --query ".id" --output tsv /subscriptions/<guid>/resourceGroups/myVnet/providers/Microsoft.Network/virtualNetworks/myVnet/subnets/default
Use the az aks create command with the
--network-plugin azure argument to create a cluster with advanced networking. Update the
--vnet-subnet-id value with the subnet ID collected in the previous step:
az aks create \ --resource-group myResourceGroup \ --name myAKSCluster \ --network-plugin azure \ --vnet-subnet-id <subnet-id> \ --docker-bridge-address 172.17.0.1/16 \ --dns-service-ip 10.2.0.10 \ --service-cidr 10.2.0.0/24 \ --generate-ssh-keys
Configure networking - portal
The following screenshot from the Azure portal shows an example of configuring these settings during AKS cluster creation:
Dynamic allocation of IPs and enhanced subnet support
A drawback with the traditional CNI is the exhaustion of pod IP addresses as the AKS cluster grows, resulting in the need to rebuild the entire cluster in a bigger subnet. The new dynamic IP allocation capability in Azure CNI solves this problem by allotting pod IPs from a subnet separate from the subnet hosting the AKS cluster. It offers the following benefits:
Better IP utilization: IPs are dynamically allocated to cluster Pods from the Pod subnet. This leads to better utilization of IPs in the cluster compared to the traditional CNI solution, which does static allocation of IPs for every node.
Scalable and flexible: Node and pod subnets can be scaled independently. A single pod subnet can be shared across multiple node pools of a cluster or across multiple AKS clusters deployed in the same VNet. You can also configure a separate pod subnet for a node pool.
High performance: Since pod are assigned VNet IPs, they have direct connectivity to other cluster pod and resources in the VNet. The solution supports very large clusters without any degradation in performance.
Separate VNet policies for pods: Since pods have a separate subnet, you can configure separate VNet policies for them that are different from node policies. This enables many useful scenarios such as allowing internet connectivity only for pods and not for nodes, fixing the source IP for pod in a node pool using a VNet Network NAT, and using NSGs to filter traffic between node pools.
Kubernetes network policies: Both the Azure Network Policies and Calico work with this new solution.
When using dynamic allocation of IPs, exposing an application as a Private Link Service using a Kubernetes Load Balancer Service is not supported.
The prerequisites already listed for Azure CNI still apply, but there are a few additional limitations:
- Only linux node clusters and node pools are supported.
- AKS Engine and DIY clusters are not supported.
- Azure CLI version
Planning IP addressing
When using this feature, planning is much simpler. Since the nodes and pods scale independently, their address spaces can also be planned separately. Since pod subnets can be configured to the granularity of a node pool, customers can always add a new subnet when they add a node pool. The system pods in a cluster/node pool also receive IPs from the pod subnet, so this behavior needs to be accounted for.
The planning of IPs for Kubernetes services and Docker bridge remain unchanged.
Maximum pods per node in a cluster with dynamic allocation of IPs and enhanced subnet support
The pods per node values when using Azure CNI with dynamic allocation of IPs have changed slightly from the traditional CNI behavior:
|CNI||Default||Configurable at deployment|
|Traditional Azure CNI||30||Yes (up to 250)|
|Azure CNI with dynamic allocation of IPs||250||Yes (up to 250)|
All other guidance related to configuring the maximum nodes per pod remains the same.
Additional deployment parameters
The deployment parameters described above are all still valid, with one exception:
- The subnet parameter now refers to the subnet related to the cluster's nodes.
- An additional parameter pod subnet is used to specify the subnet whose IP addresses will be dynamically allocated to pods.
Configure networking - CLI with dynamic allocation of IPs and enhanced subnet support
Using dynamic allocation of IPs and enhanced subnet support in your cluster is similar to the default method for configuring a cluster Azure CNI. The following example walks through creating a new virtual network with a subnet for nodes and a subnet for pods, and creating a cluster that uses Azure CNI with dynamic allocation of IPs and enhanced subnet support. Be sure to replace variables such as
$subscription with your own values:
First, create the virtual network with two subnets:
resourceGroup="myResourceGroup" vnet="myVirtualNetwork" location="westcentralus" # Create the resource group az group create --name $resourceGroup --location $location # Create our two subnet network az network vnet create -g $resourceGroup --location $location --name $vnet --address-prefixes 10.0.0.0/8 -o none az network vnet subnet create -g $resourceGroup --vnet-name $vnet --name nodesubnet --address-prefixes 10.240.0.0/16 -o none az network vnet subnet create -g $resourceGroup --vnet-name $vnet --name podsubnet --address-prefixes 10.241.0.0/16 -o none
Then, create the cluster, referencing the node subnet using
--vnet-subnet-id and the pod subnet using
clusterName="myAKSCluster" subscription="aaaaaaa-aaaaa-aaaaaa-aaaa" az aks create -n $clusterName -g $resourceGroup -l $location \ --max-pods 250 \ --node-count 2 \ --network-plugin azure \ --vnet-subnet-id /subscriptions/$subscription/resourceGroups/$resourceGroup/providers/Microsoft.Network/virtualNetworks/$vnet/subnets/nodesubnet \ --pod-subnet-id /subscriptions/$subscription/resourceGroups/$resourceGroup/providers/Microsoft.Network/virtualNetworks/$vnet/subnets/podsubnet
Adding node pool
When adding node pool, reference the node subnet using
--vnet-subnet-id and the pod subnet using
--pod-subnet-id. The following example creates two new subnets that are then referenced in the creation of a new node pool:
az network vnet subnet create -g $resourceGroup --vnet-name $vnet --name node2subnet --address-prefixes 10.242.0.0/16 -o none az network vnet subnet create -g $resourceGroup --vnet-name $vnet --name pod2subnet --address-prefixes 10.243.0.0/16 -o none az aks nodepool add --cluster-name $clusterName -g $resourceGroup -n newnodepool \ --max-pods 250 \ --node-count 2 \ --vnet-subnet-id /subscriptions/$subscription/resourceGroups/$resourceGroup/providers/Microsoft.Network/virtualNetworks/$vnet/subnets/node2subnet \ --pod-subnet-id /subscriptions/$subscription/resourceGroups/$resourceGroup/providers/Microsoft.Network/virtualNetworks/$vnet/subnets/pod2subnet \ --no-wait
Frequently asked questions
The following questions and answers apply to the Azure CNI networking configuration.
Can I deploy VMs in my cluster subnet?
What source IP do external systems see for traffic that originates in an Azure CNI-enabled pod?
Systems in the same virtual network as the AKS cluster see the pod IP as the source address for any traffic from the pod. Systems outside the AKS cluster virtual network see the node IP as the source address for any traffic from the pod.
Can I configure per-pod network policies?
Yes, Kubernetes network policy is available in AKS. To get started, see Secure traffic between pods by using network policies in AKS.
Is the maximum number of pods deployable to a node configurable?
Yes, when you deploy a cluster with the Azure CLI or a Resource Manager template. See Maximum pods per node.
You can't change the maximum number of pods per node on an existing cluster.
How do I configure additional properties for the subnet that I created during AKS cluster creation? For example, service endpoints.
The complete list of properties for the virtual network and subnets that you create during AKS cluster creation can be configured in the standard virtual network configuration page in the Azure portal.
Can I use a different subnet within my cluster virtual network for the Kubernetes service address range?
It's not recommended, but this configuration is possible. The service address range is a set of virtual IPs (VIPs) that Kubernetes assigns to internal services in your cluster. Azure Networking has no visibility into the service IP range of the Kubernetes cluster. Because of the lack of visibility into the cluster's service address range, it's possible to later create a new subnet in the cluster virtual network that overlaps with the service address range. If such an overlap occurs, Kubernetes could assign a service an IP that's already in use by another resource in the subnet, causing unpredictable behavior or failures. By ensuring you use an address range outside the cluster's virtual network, you can avoid this overlap risk.
Dynamic allocation of IP addresses and enhanced subnet support FAQs
The following questions and answers apply to the Azure CNI network configuration when using Dynamic allocation of IP addresses and enhanced subnet support.
Can I assign multiple pod subnets to a cluster/node pool?
Only one subnet can be assigned to a cluster or node pool. However, multiple clusters or node pools can share a single subnet.
Can I assign Pod subnets from a different VNet altogether?
No, the pod subnet should be from the same VNet as the cluster.
Can some node pools in a cluster use the traditional CNI while others use the new CNI?
The entire cluster should use only one type of CNI.
Learn more about networking in AKS in the following articles:
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