Authenticate with Azure Container Registry from Azure Kubernetes Service

When you're using Azure Container Registry (ACR) with Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), an authentication mechanism needs to be established. This operation is implemented as part of the CLI, PowerShell, and Portal experience by granting the required permissions to your ACR. This article provides examples for configuring authentication between these two Azure services.

You can set up the AKS to ACR integration in a few simple commands with the Azure CLI or Azure PowerShell. This integration assigns the AcrPull role to the managed identity associated to the AKS Cluster.


This article covers automatic authentication between AKS and ACR. If you need to pull an image from a private external registry, use an image pull secret.

Before you begin

These examples require:

  • Owner, Azure account administrator, or Azure co-administrator role on the Azure subscription
  • Azure CLI version 2.7.0 or later

To avoid needing an Owner, Azure account administrator, or Azure co-administrator role, you can use an existing managed identity to authenticate ACR from AKS. For more information, see Use an Azure managed identity to authenticate to an Azure container registry.

Create a new AKS cluster with ACR integration

You can set up AKS and ACR integration during the initial creation of your AKS cluster. To allow an AKS cluster to interact with ACR, an Azure Active Directory managed identity is used. The following command allows you to authorize an existing ACR in your subscription and configures the appropriate ACRPull role for the managed identity. Supply valid values for your parameters below.

# set this to the name of your Azure Container Registry.  It must be globally unique

# Run the following line to create an Azure Container Registry if you do not already have one
az acr create -n $MYACR -g myContainerRegistryResourceGroup --sku basic

# Create an AKS cluster with ACR integration
az aks create -n myAKSCluster -g myResourceGroup --generate-ssh-keys --attach-acr $MYACR

Alternatively, you can specify the ACR name using an ACR resource ID, which has the following format:



If you are using an ACR that is located in a different subscription from your AKS cluster, use the ACR resource ID when attaching or detaching from an AKS cluster.

az aks create -n myAKSCluster -g myResourceGroup --generate-ssh-keys --attach-acr /subscriptions/<subscription-id>/resourceGroups/myContainerRegistryResourceGroup/providers/Microsoft.ContainerRegistry/registries/myContainerRegistry

This step may take several minutes to complete.

Configure ACR integration for existing AKS clusters

Integrate an existing ACR with existing AKS clusters by supplying valid values for acr-name or acr-resource-id as below.

az aks update -n myAKSCluster -g myResourceGroup --attach-acr <acr-name>


az aks update -n myAKSCluster -g myResourceGroup --attach-acr <acr-resource-id>


Running az aks update --attach-acr uses the permissions of the user running the command to create the role ACR assignment. This role is assigned to the kubelet managed identity. For more information on the AKS managed identities, see Summary of managed identities.

You can also remove the integration between an ACR and an AKS cluster with the following

az aks update -n myAKSCluster -g myResourceGroup --detach-acr <acr-name>


az aks update -n myAKSCluster -g myResourceGroup --detach-acr <acr-resource-id>

Working with ACR & AKS

Import an image into your ACR

Import an image from docker hub into your ACR by running the following:

az acr import  -n <acr-name> --source --image nginx:v1

Deploy the sample image from ACR to AKS

Ensure you have the proper AKS credentials

az aks get-credentials -g myResourceGroup -n myAKSCluster

Create a file called acr-nginx.yaml that contains the following. Substitute the resource name of your registry for acr-name. Example: myContainerRegistry.

apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
  name: nginx0-deployment
    app: nginx0-deployment
  replicas: 2
      app: nginx0
        app: nginx0
      - name: nginx
        image: <acr-name>
        - containerPort: 80

Next, run this deployment in your AKS cluster:

kubectl apply -f acr-nginx.yaml

You can monitor the deployment by running:

kubectl get pods

You should have two running pods.

NAME                                 READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
nginx0-deployment-669dfc4d4b-x74kr   1/1     Running   0          20s
nginx0-deployment-669dfc4d4b-xdpd6   1/1     Running   0          20s