Create and use a volume with Azure Files in Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)

A persistent volume represents a piece of storage that has been provisioned for use with Kubernetes pods. You can use a persistent volume with one or many pods, and it can be dynamically or statically provisioned. If multiple pods need concurrent access to the same storage volume, you can use Azure Files to connect using the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. This article shows you how to dynamically create an Azure file share for use by multiple pods in an Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) cluster.

This article shows you how to:

  • Work with a dynamic persistent volume (PV) by installing the Container Storage Interface (CSI) driver and dynamically creating one or more Azure file shares to attach to a pod.
  • Work with a static PV by creating one or more Azure file shares, or use an existing one and attach it to a pod.

For more information on Kubernetes volumes, see Storage options for applications in AKS.

Before you begin

  • You need an Azure storage account.
  • Make sure you have Azure CLI version 2.0.59 or later installed and configured. Run az --version to find the version. If you need to install or upgrade, see Install Azure CLI.
  • When choosing between standard and premium file shares, it's important you understand the provisioning model and requirements of the expected usage pattern you plan to run on Azure Files. For more information, see Choosing an Azure Files performance tier based on usage patterns.

Dynamically provision a volume

This section provides guidance for cluster administrators who want to provision one or more persistent volumes that include details of one or more shares on Azure Files. A persistent volume claim (PVC) uses the storage class object to dynamically provision an Azure Files file share.

Dynamic provisioning parameters

Name Meaning Available Value Mandatory Default value
accountAccessTier Access tier for storage account Standard account can choose Hot or Cool, and Premium account can only choose Premium. No Empty. Use default setting for different storage account types.
accountQuota Limits the quota for an account. You can specify a maximum quota in GB (102400GB by default). If the account exceeds the specified quota, the driver skips selecting the account. No 102400
allowBlobPublicAccess Allow or disallow public access to all blobs or containers for storage account created by driver. true or false No false
disableDeleteRetentionPolicy Specify whether disable DeleteRetentionPolicy for storage account created by driver. true or false No false
enableLargeFileShares Specify whether to use a storage account with large file shares enabled or not. If this flag is set to true and a storage account with large file shares enabled doesn't exist, a new storage account with large file shares enabled is created. This flag should be used with the Standard sku as the storage accounts created with Premium sku have largeFileShares option enabled by default. true or false No false
folderName Specify folder name in Azure file share. Existing folder name in Azure file share. No If folder name doesn't exist in file share, the mount fails.
getLatestAccount Determins whether to get the latest account key based on the creation time. This driver gets the first key by default. true or false No false
location Specify the Azure region of the Azure storage account. For example, eastus. No If empty, driver uses the same location name as current AKS cluster.
matchTags Match tags when driver tries to find a suitable storage account. true or false No false
networkEndpointType Specify network endpoint type for the storage account created by driver. If privateEndpoint is specified, a private endpoint is created for the storage account. For other cases, a service endpoint is created by default. "",privateEndpoint No ""
protocol Specify file share protocol. smb, nfs No smb
requireInfraEncryption Specify whether or not the service applies a secondary layer of encryption with platform managed keys for data at rest for storage account created by driver. true or false No false
resourceGroup Specify the resource group for the Azure Disks. Existing resource group name No If empty, driver uses the same resource group name as current AKS cluster.
selectRandomMatchingAccount Determines whether to randomly select a matching account. By default, the driver always selects the first matching account in alphabetical order (Note: This driver uses account search cache, which results in uneven distribution of file creation across multiple accounts). true or false No false
server Specify Azure storage account server address. Existing server address, for example accountname.privatelink.file.core.windows.net. No If empty, driver uses default accountname.file.core.windows.net or other sovereign cloud account address.
shareAccessTier Access tier for file share General purpose v2 account can choose between TransactionOptimized (default), Hot, and Cool. Premium storage account type for file shares only. No Empty. Use default setting for different storage account types.
shareName Specify Azure file share name. Existing or new Azure file share name. No If empty, driver generates an Azure file share name.
shareNamePrefix Specify Azure file share name prefix created by driver. Share name can only contain lowercase letters, numbers, hyphens, and length should be fewer than 21 characters. No
skuName Azure Files storage account type (alias: storageAccountType) Standard_LRS, Standard_ZRS, Standard_GRS, Standard_RAGRS, Standard_RAGZRS,Premium_LRS, Premium_ZRS No StandardSSD_LRS
Minimum file share size for Premium account type is 100 GB.
ZRS account type is supported in limited regions.
NFS file share only supports Premium account type.
storageEndpointSuffix Specify Azure storage endpoint suffix. core.windows.net, core.chinacloudapi.cn, etc. No If empty, driver uses default storage endpoint suffix according to cloud environment. For example, core.windows.net.
tags Tags are created in new storage account. Tag format: 'foo=aaa,bar=bbb' No ""
--- Following parameters are only for SMB protocol --- ---
subscriptionID Specify Azure subscription ID where Azure file share is created. Azure subscription ID No If not empty, resourceGroup must be provided.
storeAccountKey Specify whether to store account key to Kubernetes secret. true or false
false means driver uses kubelet identity to get account key.
No true
secretName Specify secret name to store account key. No
secretNamespace Specify the namespace of secret to store account key.

Note:
If secretNamespace isn't specified, the secret is created in the same namespace as the pod.
default,kube-system, etc. No PVC namespace, for example csi.storage.k8s.io/pvc/namespace
useDataPlaneAPI Specify whether to use data plane API for file share create/delete/resize, which could solve the SRP API throttling issue because the data plane API has almost no limit, while it would fail when there's firewall or Vnet settings on storage account. true or false No false
--- Following parameters are only for NFS protocol --- ---
mountPermissions Mounted folder permissions. The default is 0777. If set to 0, driver doesn't perform chmod after mount 0777 No
rootSquashType Specify root squashing behavior on the share. The default is NoRootSquash AllSquash, NoRootSquash, RootSquash No
--- Following parameters are only for VNet setting. For example, NFS, private end point --- ---
fsGroupChangePolicy Indicates how the driver changes volume's ownership. Pod securityContext.fsGroupChangePolicy is ignored. OnRootMismatch (default), Always, None No OnRootMismatch
subnetName Subnet name Existing subnet name of the agent node. No If empty, driver uses the subnetName value in Azure cloud config file.
vnetName Virtual network name Existing virtual network name. No If empty, driver uses the vnetName value in Azure cloud config file.
vnetResourceGroup Specify VNet resource group where virtual network is defined. Existing resource group name. No If empty, driver uses the vnetResourceGroup value in Azure cloud config file.

Create a storage class

Storage classes define how to create an Azure file share. A storage account is automatically created in the node resource group for use with the storage class to hold the Azure Files file share. Choose of the following Azure storage redundancy SKUs for skuName:

  • Standard_LRS: Standard locally redundant storage (LRS)
  • Standard_GRS: Standard geo-redundant storage (GRS)
  • Standard_ZRS: Standard zone redundant storage (ZRS)
  • Standard_RAGRS: Standard read-access geo-redundant storage (RA-GRS)
  • Premium_LRS: Premium locally redundant storage (LRS)
  • Premium_ZRS: pPremium zone redundant storage (ZRS)

Note

Minimum premium file share is 100GB.

For more information on Kubernetes storage classes for Azure Files, see Kubernetes Storage Classes.

  1. Create a file named azure-file-sc.yaml and copy in the following example manifest. For more information on mountOptions, see the Mount options section.

    kind: StorageClass
    apiVersion: storage.k8s.io/v1
    metadata:
      name: my-azurefile
    provisioner: file.csi.azure.com # replace with "kubernetes.io/azure-file" if aks version is less than 1.21
    allowVolumeExpansion: true
    mountOptions:
     - dir_mode=0777
     - file_mode=0777
     - uid=0
     - gid=0
     - mfsymlinks
     - cache=strict
     - actimeo=30
    parameters:
      skuName: Premium_LRS
    
  2. Create the storage class using the kubectl apply command.

    kubectl apply -f azure-file-sc.yaml
    

Create a persistent volume claim

A persistent volume claim (PVC) uses the storage class object to dynamically provision an Azure file share. You can use the following YAML to create a persistent volume claim 100 GB in size with ReadWriteMany access. For more information on access modes, see Kubernetes persistent volume.

  1. Create a file named azure-file-pvc.yaml and copy in the following YAML. Make sure the storageClassName matches the storage class you created in the previous step.

    apiVersion: v1
    kind: PersistentVolumeClaim
    metadata:
      name: my-azurefile
    spec:
      accessModes:
        - ReadWriteMany
      storageClassName: my-azurefile
      resources:
        requests:
          storage: 100Gi
    

    Note

    If using the Premium_LRS SKU for your storage class, the minimum value for storage must be 100Gi.

  2. Create the persistent volume claim using the kubectl apply command.

    kubectl apply -f azure-file-pvc.yaml
    

    Once completed, the file share is created. A Kubernetes secret is also created that includes connection information and credentials. You can use the kubectl get command to view the status of the PVC:

    kubectl get pvc my-azurefile
    

    The output of the command resembles the following example:

    NAME           STATUS    VOLUME                                     CAPACITY   ACCESS MODES   STORAGECLASS      AGE
    my-azurefile   Bound     pvc-8436e62e-a0d9-11e5-8521-5a8664dc0477   100Gi       RWX            my-azurefile      5m
    

Use the persistent volume

The following YAML creates a pod that uses the persistent volume claim my-azurefile to mount the Azure Files file share at the /mnt/azure path. For Windows Server containers, specify a mountPath using the Windows path convention, such as 'D:'.

  1. Create a file named azure-pvc-files.yaml, and copy in the following YAML. Make sure the claimName matches the PVC you created in the previous step.

    kind: Pod
    apiVersion: v1
    metadata:
      name: mypod
    spec:
      containers:
        - name: mypod
          image: mcr.microsoft.com/oss/nginx/nginx:1.15.5-alpine
          resources:
            requests:
              cpu: 100m
              memory: 128Mi
            limits:
              cpu: 250m
              memory: 256Mi
          volumeMounts:
            - mountPath: /mnt/azure
              name: volume
              readOnly: false
      volumes:
       - name: volume
         persistentVolumeClaim:
           claimName: my-azurefile
    
  2. Create the pod using the kubectl apply command.

    kubectl apply -f azure-pvc-files.yaml
    

    You now have a running pod with your Azure Files file share mounted in the /mnt/azure directory. This configuration can be seen when inspecting your pod using the kubectl describe command. The following condensed example output shows the volume mounted in the container.

    Containers:
      mypod:
        Container ID:   docker://053bc9c0df72232d755aa040bfba8b533fa696b123876108dec400e364d2523e
        Image:          mcr.microsoft.com/oss/nginx/nginx:1.15.5-alpine
        Image ID:       docker-pullable://nginx@sha256:d85914d547a6c92faa39ce7058bd7529baacab7e0cd4255442b04577c4d1f424
        State:          Running
          Started:      Fri, 01 Mar 2019 23:56:16 +0000
        Ready:          True
        Mounts:
          /mnt/azure from volume (rw)
          /var/run/secrets/kubernetes.io/serviceaccount from default-token-8rv4z (ro)
    [...]
    Volumes:
      volume:
        Type:       PersistentVolumeClaim (a reference to a PersistentVolumeClaim in the same namespace)
        ClaimName:  my-azurefile
        ReadOnly:   false
    [...]
    

Mount options

The default value for fileMode and dirMode is 0777 for Kubernetes versions 1.13.0 and above. If you're dynamically creating the persistent volume with a storage class, you can specify mount options on the storage class object. For more information, see Mount options. The following example sets 0777:

kind: StorageClass
apiVersion: storage.k8s.io/v1
metadata:
  name: my-azurefile
provisioner: file.csi.azure.com # replace with "kubernetes.io/azure-file" if aks version is less than 1.21
allowVolumeExpansion: true
mountOptions:
  - dir_mode=0777
  - file_mode=0777
  - uid=0
  - gid=0
  - mfsymlinks
  - cache=strict
  - actimeo=30
parameters:
  skuName: Premium_LRS

Using Azure tags

For more information on using Azure tags, see Use Azure tags in Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS).

Statically provision a volume

This section provides guidance for cluster administrators who want to create one or more persistent volumes that include details of an existing Azure Files share to use with a workload.

Static provisioning parameters

Name Meaning Available Value Mandatory Default value
volumeAttributes.resourceGroup Specify an Azure resource group name. myResourceGroup No If empty, driver uses the same resource group name as current cluster.
volumeAttributes.storageAccount Specify an existing Azure storage account name. storageAccountName Yes
volumeAttributes.shareName Specify an Azure file share name. fileShareName Yes
volumeAttributes.folderName Specify a folder name in Azure file share. folderName No If folder name doesn't exist in file share, mount would fail.
volumeAttributes.protocol Specify file share protocol. smb, nfs No smb
volumeAttributes.server Specify Azure storage account server address Existing server address, for example accountname.privatelink.file.core.windows.net. No If empty, driver uses default accountname.file.core.windows.net or other sovereign cloud account address.
--- Following parameters are only for SMB protocol --- --- ---
volumeAttributes.secretName Specify a secret name that stores storage account name and key. No
volumeAttributes.secretNamespace Specify a secret namespace. default,kube-system, etc. No PVC namespace (csi.storage.k8s.io/pvc/namespace)
nodeStageSecretRef.name Specify a secret name that stores storage account name and key. Existing secret name Yes
nodeStageSecretRef.namespace Specify a secret namespace. Kubernetes namespace Yes
--- Following parameters are only for NFS protocol --- --- ---
volumeAttributes.fsGroupChangePolicy Indicates how the driver changes a volume's ownership. Pod securityContext.fsGroupChangePolicy is ignored. OnRootMismatch (default), Always, None No OnRootMismatch
volumeAttributes.mountPermissions Specify mounted folder permissions. The default is 0777 No

Create an Azure file share

Before you can use an Azure Files file share as a Kubernetes volume, you must create an Azure Storage account and the file share.

  1. Get the resource group name using the az aks show command with the --query nodeResourceGroup parameter.

    az aks show --resource-group myResourceGroup --name myAKSCluster --query nodeResourceGroup -o tsv
    

    The output of the command resembles the following example:

    MC_myResourceGroup_myAKSCluster_eastus
    
  2. Create a storage account using the az storage account create command with the --sku parameter. The following command creates a storage account using the Standard_LRS SKU. Make sure to replace the following placeholders:

    • myAKSStorageAccount with the name of the storage account
    • nodeResourceGroupName with the name of the resource group that the AKS cluster nodes are hosted in
    • location with the name of the region to create the resource in. It should be the same region as the AKS cluster nodes.
    az storage account create -n myAKSStorageAccount -g nodeResourceGroupName -l location --sku Standard_LRS
    
  3. Export the connection string as an environment variable using the following command, which you use to create the file share.

    export AZURE_STORAGE_CONNECTION_STRING=$(az storage account show-connection-string -n storageAccountName -g resourceGroupName -o tsv)
    
  4. Create the file share using the az storage share create command. Make sure to replace shareName with your share name.

    az storage share create -n shareName --connection-string $AZURE_STORAGE_CONNECTION_STRING
    
  5. Export the storage account key as an environment variable using the following command.

    STORAGE_KEY=$(az storage account keys list --resource-group nodeResourceGroupName --account-name myAKSStorageAccount --query "[0].value" -o tsv)
    
  6. Echo the storage account name and key using the following command. Copy this information, as you need these values when creating the Kubernetes volume.

    echo Storage account key: $STORAGE_KEY
    

Create a Kubernetes secret

Kubernetes needs credentials to access the file share created in the previous step. These credentials are stored in a Kubernetes secret, which is referenced when you create a Kubernetes pod.

  1. Create the secret using the kubectl create secret command. The following example creates a secret named azure-secret and populates the azurestorageaccountname and azurestorageaccountkey from the previous step. To use an existing Azure storage account, provide the account name and key.

    kubectl create secret generic azure-secret --from-literal=azurestorageaccountname=myAKSStorageAccount --from-literal=azurestorageaccountkey=$STORAGE_KEY
    

Mount file share as a persistent volume

  1. Create a new file named azurefiles-pv.yaml and copy in the following contents. Under csi, update resourceGroup, volumeHandle, and shareName. For mount options, the default value for fileMode and dirMode is 0777.

    apiVersion: v1
    kind: PersistentVolume
    metadata:
      annotations:
        pv.kubernetes.io/provisioned-by: file.csi.azure.com
      name: azurefile
    spec:
      capacity:
        storage: 5Gi
      accessModes:
        - ReadWriteMany
      persistentVolumeReclaimPolicy: Retain
      storageClassName: azurefile-csi
      csi:
        driver: file.csi.azure.com
        volumeHandle: unique-volumeid  # make sure this volumeid is unique for every identical share in the cluster
        volumeAttributes:
          resourceGroup: resourceGroupName  # optional, only set this when storage account is not in the same resource group as node
          shareName: aksshare
        nodeStageSecretRef:
          name: azure-secret
          namespace: default
      mountOptions:
        - dir_mode=0777
        - file_mode=0777
        - uid=0
        - gid=0
        - mfsymlinks
        - cache=strict
        - nosharesock
        - nobrl
    
  2. Create the persistent volume using the kubectl create command.

    kubectl create -f azurefiles-pv.yaml
    
  3. Create a new file named azurefiles-mount-options-pvc.yaml and copy the following contents.

    apiVersion: v1
    kind: PersistentVolumeClaim
    metadata:
      name: azurefile
    spec:
      accessModes:
        - ReadWriteMany
      storageClassName: azurefile-csi
      volumeName: azurefile
      resources:
        requests:
          storage: 5Gi
    
  4. Create the PersistentVolumeClaim using the kubectl apply command.

    kubectl apply -f azurefiles-mount-options-pvc.yaml
    
  5. Verify your PersistentVolumeClaim is created and bound to the PersistentVolume using the kubectl get command.

    kubectl get pvc azurefile
    

    The output from the command resembles the following example:

    NAME        STATUS   VOLUME      CAPACITY   ACCESS MODES   STORAGECLASS   AGE
    azurefile   Bound    azurefile   5Gi        RWX            azurefile      5s
    
  6. Update your container spec to reference your PersistentVolumeClaim and your pod in the YAML file. For example:

    ...
      volumes:
      - name: azure
        persistentVolumeClaim:
          claimName: azurefile
    
  7. A pod spec can't be updated in place, so delete the pod using the kubectl delete command and recreate it using the kubectl apply command.

    kubectl delete pod mypod
    
    kubectl apply -f azure-files-pod.yaml
    

Mount file share as an inline volume

Note

To avoid performance issue, we recommend you use a persistent volume instead of an inline volume when numerous pods are accessing the same file share. Inline volume can only access secrets in the same namespace as the pod. To specify a different secret namespace, use a persistent volume.

To mount the Azure Files file share into your pod, you configure the volume in the container spec.

  1. Create a new file named azure-files-pod.yaml and copy in the following contents. If you changed the name of the file share or secret name, update the shareName and secretName. You can also update the mountPath, which is the path where the Files share is mounted in the pod. For Windows Server containers, specify a mountPath using the Windows path convention, such as 'D:'.
apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
metadata:
  name: mypod
spec:
  nodeSelector:
    kubernetes.io/os: linux
  containers:
    - image: 'mcr.microsoft.com/oss/nginx/nginx:1.15.5-alpine'
      name: mypod
      resources:
        requests:
          cpu: 100m
          memory: 128Mi
        limits:
          cpu: 250m
          memory: 256Mi
      volumeMounts:
        - name: azure
          mountPath: /mnt/azure
          readOnly: false
  volumes:
    - name: azure
      csi:
        driver: file.csi.azure.com
        volumeAttributes:
          secretName: azure-secret  # required
          shareName: aksshare  # required
          mountOptions: 'dir_mode=0777,file_mode=0777,cache=strict,actimeo=30,nosharesock'  # optional
  1. Create the pod using the kubectl apply command.

    kubectl apply -f azure-files-pod.yaml
    

    You now have a running pod with an Azure Files file share mounted at /mnt/azure. You can verify the share is mounted successfully using the kubectl describe command.

    kubectl describe pod mypod
    

Next steps

For Azure Files CSI driver parameters, see CSI driver parameters.

For associated best practices, see Best practices for storage and backups in AKS.