Azure Kubernetes network policies overview

Network Policies provide micro-segmentation for pods just like Network Security Groups (NSGs) provide micro-segmentation for VMs. The Azure Network Policy implementation supports the standard Kubernetes Network Policy specification. You can use labels to select a group of pods and define a list of ingress and egress rules that specify the kind of traffic that is allowed to and from these pods. Learn more about the Kubernetes network policies in the Kubernetes documentation.

Kubernetes network policies overview

Azure network policies work in conjunction with the Azure CNI that provides VNet integration for containers. It is supported only on Linux nodes today. The implementations configure Linux IP Table rules based on the defined policies to enforce traffic filtering.

Planning security for your Kubernetes cluster

When implementing security for your cluster, use network security groups (NSGs) to filter North-South traffic, that is, traffic entering and leaving your cluster subnet, and use Kubernetes network policies for East-West traffic, that is, traffic between pods in your cluster.

Using Azure Kubernetes network policies

Azure Network Policies can be used in the following ways to provide micro-segmentation for pods.


ACS-Engine is a tool that generates an Azure Resource Manager template for the deployment of a Kubernetes cluster in Azure. The cluster configuration is specified in a JSON file that is passed to the tool when generating the template. To learn more about the entire list of supported cluster settings and their descriptions, see Microsoft Azure Container Service Engine - Cluster Definition.

To enable policies on clusters deployed using acs-engine, specify the value of the networkPolicy setting in the cluster definition file to be "azure".

Example configuration

The below JSON example configuration creates a new virtual network and subnet, and deploys a Kubernetes cluster in it with Azure CNI. We recommend that you use “Notepad” to edit the JSON file.

  "apiVersion": "vlabs",
  "properties": {
    "orchestratorProfile": {
      "orchestratorType": "Kubernetes",
      "kubernetesConfig": {
         "networkPolicy": "azure"
    "masterProfile": {
      "count": 1,
      "dnsPrefix": "<specify a cluster name>",
      "vmSize": "Standard_D2s_v3"
    "agentPoolProfiles": [
        "name": "agentpool",
        "count": 2,
        "vmSize": "Standard_D2s_v3",
        "availabilityProfile": "AvailabilitySet"
   "linuxProfile": {
      "adminUsername": "<specify admin username>",
      "ssh": {
        "publicKeys": [
            "keyData": "<cut and paste your ssh key here>"
    "servicePrincipalProfile": {
      "clientId": "<enter the client ID of your service principal here >",
      "secret": "<enter the password of your service principal here>"

Creating your own Kubernetes cluster in Azure

The implementation can be used to provide Network Policies for Pods in Kubernetes clusters that you deploy yourself, without relying on tools like the ACS-Engine. In this case, you first install the CNI plug-in and enable it on every virtual machine in a cluster. For detailed instructions, see Deploy the plug-in for a Kubernetes cluster that you deploy yourself.

Once the cluster is deployed run the following kubectl command to download and apply the Azure network policy daemonset to the cluster.

kubectl apply -f

The solution is also open source and the code is available on the Azure Container Networking repository.

Next steps