Using OpenFaaS on AKS

OpenFaaS is a framework for building serverless functions on top of containers. As an open source project, it has gained large-scale adoption within the community. This document details installing and using OpenFaas on an Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) cluster.


In order to complete the steps within this article, you need the following.

  • Basic understanding of Kubernetes.
  • An Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) cluster and AKS credentials configured on your development system.
  • Azure CLI installed on your development system.
  • Git command-line tools installed on your system.

Get OpenFaaS

Clone the OpenFaaS project repository to your development system.

git clone

Change into the directory of the cloned repository.

cd faas-netes

Deploy OpenFaaS

As a good practice, OpenFaaS and OpenFaaS functions should be stored in their own Kubernetes namespace.

Create a namespace for the OpenFaaS system.

kubectl create namespace openfaas

Create a second namespace for OpenFaaS functions.

kubectl create namespace openfaas-fn

A Helm chart for OpenFaaS is included in the cloned repository. Use this chart to deploy OpenFaaS into your AKS cluster.

helm install --namespace openfaas -n openfaas \
  --set functionNamespace=openfaas-fn, \
  --set serviceType=LoadBalancer, \
  --set rbac=false chart/openfaas/


NAME:   openfaas
LAST DEPLOYED: Wed Feb 28 08:26:11 2018
NAMESPACE: openfaas

==> v1/ConfigMap
NAME                 DATA  AGE
prometheus-config    2     20s
alertmanager-config  1     20s


To verify that openfaas has started, run:

  kubectl --namespace=openfaas get deployments -l "release=openfaas, app=openfaas"

A public IP address is created for accessing the OpenFaaS gateway. To retrieve this IP address, use the kubectl get service command. It may take a minute for the IP address to be assigned to the service.

kubectl get service -l component=gateway --namespace openfaas


NAME               TYPE           CLUSTER-IP     EXTERNAL-IP    PORT(S)          AGE
gateway            ClusterIP   <none>         8080/TCP         7m
gateway-external   LoadBalancer   8080:30800/TCP   7m

To test the OpenFaaS system, browse to the external IP address on port 8080, in this example.

OpenFaaS UI

Finally, install the OpenFaaS CLI. This example used brew, see the OpenFaaS CLI documentation for more options.

brew install faas-cli

Create first function

Now that OpenFaaS is operational, create a function using the OpenFaas portal.

Click on Deploy New Function and search for Figlet. Select the Figlet function, and click Deploy.


Use curl to invoke the function. Replace the IP address in the following example with that of your OpenFaas gateway.

curl -X POST -d "Hello Azure"


 _   _      _ _            _
| | | | ___| | | ___      / \    _____   _ _ __ ___
| |_| |/ _ \ | |/ _ \    / _ \  |_  / | | | '__/ _ \
|  _  |  __/ | | (_) |  / ___ \  / /| |_| | | |  __/
|_| |_|\___|_|_|\___/  /_/   \_\/___|\__,_|_|  \___|

Create second function

Now create a second function. This example will be deployed using the OpenFaaS CLI and includes a custom container image and retrieving data from a Cosmos DB. Several items need to be configured before creating the function.

First, create a new resource group for the Cosmos DB.

az group create --name serverless-backing --location eastus

Deploy a CosmosDB instance of kind MongoDB. The instance needs a unique name, update openfaas-cosmos to something unique to your environment.

az cosmosdb create --resource-group serverless-backing --name openfaas-cosmos --kind MongoDB

Get the Cosmos database connection string and store it in a variable.

Update the value for the --resource-group argument to the name of your resource group, and the --name argument to the name of your Cosmos DB.

COSMOS=$(az cosmosdb list-connection-strings \
  --resource-group serverless-backing \
  --name openfaas-cosmos \
  --query connectionStrings[0].connectionString \
  --output tsv)

Now populate the Cosmos DB with test data. Create a file named plans.json and copy in the following json.

    "name" : "two_person",
    "friendlyName" : "Two Person Plan",
    "portionSize" : "1-2 Person",
    "mealsPerWeek" : "3 Unique meals per week",
    "price" : 72,
    "description" : "Our basic plan, delivering 3 meals per week, which will feed 1-2 people.",
    "__v" : 0

Use the mongoimport tool to load the CosmosDB instance with data.

If needed, install the MongoDB tools. The following example installs these tools using brew, see the MongoDB documentation for other options.

brew install mongodb

Load the data into the database.

mongoimport --uri=$COSMOS -c plans < plans.json


2018-02-19T14:42:14.313+0000    connected to: localhost
2018-02-19T14:42:14.918+0000    imported 1 document

Run the following command to create the function. Update the value of the -g argument with your OpenFaaS gateway address.

faas-cli deploy -g --image=shanepeckham/openfaascosmos --name=cosmos-query --env=NODE_ENV=$COSMOS

Once deployed, you should see your newly created OpenFaaS endpoint for the function.

Deployed. 202 Accepted.

Test the function using curl. Update the IP address with the OpenFaaS gateway address.

curl -s


[{"ID":"","Name":"two_person","FriendlyName":"","PortionSize":"","MealsPerWeek":"","Price":72,"Description":"Our basic plan, delivering 3 meals per week, which will feed 1-2 people."}]

You can also test the function within the OpenFaaS UI.

alt text

Next Steps

The default deployment of OpenFaas needs to be locked down for both OpenFaaS Gateway and Functions. Alex Ellis' Blog post has more details on secure configuration options.