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Getting Started with kOps on Azure

Azure support on kOps is currently in alpha. The original issue ticket is #3957.

Please see #10412 for the remaining items and limitations. For example, Azure DNS is not currently supported, and clusters need to be created with Gossip DNS.

Create Creation Steps

Step 1. Install Azure CLI

First, install Azure CLI.

$ curl -sL | sudo bash

Then type the following command to login to Azure. This will redirect you to the browser login.

$ az login


You have logged in. Now let us find all the subscriptions to which you have access...
    "cloudName": "AzureCloud",
    "homeTenantId": "76253...",
    "id": "7e232...",
    "isDefault": true,
    "managedByTenants": [],
    "name": "Your name...",
    "state": "Enabled",
    "tenantId": "76253...",
    "user": {
      "name": "...",
      "type": "user"

One Azure account has one or more than one “subscription”, which serves as a single billing unit for Azure resources. Set the env var AZURE_SUBSCRIPTION_ID to the ID of the subscription you want to use.

$ export AZURE_SUBSCRIPTION_ID=7e232...

Step 2. Create a Container in Azure Blob

Next, create an Azure Blob storage container for the kOps cluster store.

First, you need to create a resource group, which provides an isolated namespace for resources.

$ az group create --name kops-test --location eastus
  "id": "/subscriptions/7e232.../resourceGroups/kops-test",
  "location": "eastus",
  "managedBy": null,
  "name": "kops-test",
  "properties": {
    "provisioningState": "Succeeded"
  "tags": null,
  "type": "Microsoft.Resources/resourceGroups"

Then create a storage account for the resource group. The storage account provides an isolated namespace for all storage resources. The name must be unique across all Azure accounts.

$ az storage account create --name kopstest --resource-group kops-test

Set the env var AZURE_STORAGE_ACCOUNT to the storage account name for later use.

$ export AZURE_STORAGE_ACCOUNT=kopstest

Then create a blob container.

$ az storage container create --name cluster-configs
  "created": true

You can confirm that the container has been successfully created from Storage Exporter or via az storage container list.

$ az storage container list --output table
Name             Lease Status    Last Modified
---------------  --------------  -------------------------
cluster-configs  unlocked        2020-10-06T21:12:36+00:00

Set the env var KOPS_STATE_STORE to the container name URL using kOps' azureblob:// protocol. The URL may include a path within the container. kOps stores all of its cluster configuration within this path.

export KOPS_STATE_STORE=azureblob://cluster-configs

Step 3. Set up Credentials for kOps

Use the following commands to generate kOps credentials.

First, create a service principal in Active Directory.

$ az ad sp create-for-rbac --name kops-test --role owner --sdk-auth

  "clientId": "8c6fddb5...",
  "clientSecret": "dUFzX1...",
  "subscriptionId": "7e232...",
  "tenantId": "76253...",

Set corresponding env vars:

  • Set AZURE_TENANT_ID to the tenantId of the output
  • Set AZURE_CLIENT_ID to the clienteId of the output
  • Set AZURE_CLIENT_SECRET to the clientSecret of the output.
$ export AZURE_TENANT_ID="76253..."
$ export AZURE_CLIENT_ID="8c6fddb5..."
$ export AZURE_CLIENT_SECRET="dUFzX1..."

Step 4. Run kOps Commands

Use the following command to create cluster configs in the blob container. The command line flags prefixed with --azure- are for Azure-specific configurations.


$ kops create cluster \
  --cloud azure \
  --name my-azure.k8s.local \
  --zones eastus-1 \
  --network-cidr \
  --networking calico \
  --azure-subscription-id "${AZURE_SUBSCRIPTION_ID}" \
  --azure-tenant-id "${AZURE_TENANT_ID}" \
  --azure-resource-group-name kops-test \
  --azure-route-table-name kops-test \
  --azure-admin-user ubuntu

Confirm that config files are created in Blob storage.

$ az storage blob list --container-name cluster-configs --output table

Use the following command to preview the Azure resources kOps will create for the k8s cluster.

$ kops update cluster  \
  --name my-azure.k8s.local

Now add the --yes flag to have kOps provision the resources and create the cluster. This will also add a kubeconfig context for the cluster.

$ kops update cluster  \
  --name my-azure.k8s.local \

It may take a few minutes for the cluster's API server to become reachable. Please run basic kubectl commands like kubectl get namespaces to verify the API server is reachable.

Currently kOps creates the following resources in Azure:

  • Virtual Machine Scale Sets (equivalent to AWS Auto Scaling Groups)
  • Managed Disks (equivalent to AWS Elastic Volume Storage)
  • Virtual network
  • Subnet
  • Route Table
  • Role Assignment

By default, kOps create two VM Scale Sets - one for the k8s master and the other for worker nodes. Managed Disks are used as etcd volumes ("main" database and "event" database) and attached to the K8s master VMs. Role assignments are needed to grant API access and Blob storage access to the VMs.