Customize cluster egress with outbound types in Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)

Egress from an AKS cluster can be customized to fit specific scenarios. By default, AKS will provision a Standard SKU Load Balancer to be set up and used for egress. However, the default setup may not meet the requirements of all scenarios if public IPs are disallowed or additional hops are required for egress.

This article covers the various types of outbound connectivity that are available in AKS Clusters.


  • Outbound type can only be defined at cluster create time and can't be updated afterwards.
    • Reconfiguring outbound type is now supported in preview; see below.
  • Setting outboundType requires AKS clusters with a vm-set-type of VirtualMachineScaleSets and load-balancer-sku of Standard.

Overview of outbound types in AKS

An AKS cluster can be configured with three different categories of outbound type: load balancer, NAT gateway, or user-defined routing.


Outbound type impacts only the egress traffic of your cluster. For more information, see setting up ingress controllers.


You can use your own route table with UDR and kubenet networking. Make sure your cluster identity (service principal or managed identity) has Contributor permissions to the custom route table.

Outbound type of loadBalancer

If loadBalancer is set, AKS completes the following configuration automatically. The load balancer is used for egress through an AKS assigned public IP. An outbound type of loadBalancer supports Kubernetes services of type loadBalancer, which expect egress out of the load balancer created by the AKS resource provider.

The following configuration is done by AKS.

  • A public IP address is provisioned for cluster egress.
  • The public IP address is assigned to the load balancer resource.
  • Backend pools for the load balancer are set up for agent nodes in the cluster.

Below is a network topology deployed in AKS clusters by default, which use an outboundType of loadBalancer.

Diagram shows ingress I P and egress I P, where the ingress I P directs traffic to a load balancer, which directs traffic to and from an internal cluster and other traffic to the egress I P, which directs traffic to the Internet, M C R, Azure required services, and the A K S Control Plane.

For more information, see using a standard load balancer in AKS for more information.

Outbound type of managedNatGateway or userAssignedNatGateway

If managedNatGateway or userAssignedNatGateway are selected for outboundType, AKS relies on Azure Networking NAT gateway for cluster egress.

  • managedNatGateway is used when using managed virtual networks, and tells AKS to provision a NAT gateway and attach it to the cluster subnet.
  • userAssignedNatGateway is used when using bring-your-own virtual networking, and requires that a NAT gateway has been provisioned before cluster creation.

NAT gateway has significantly improved handling of SNAT ports when compared to Standard Load Balancer.

For more information, see using NAT Gateway with AKS for more information.

Outbound type of userDefinedRouting


Using outbound type is an advanced networking scenario and requires proper network configuration.

If userDefinedRouting is set, AKS won't automatically configure egress paths. The egress setup must be done by you.

The AKS cluster must be deployed into an existing virtual network with a subnet that has been previously configured because when not using standard load balancer (SLB) architecture, you must establish explicit egress. As such, this architecture requires explicitly sending egress traffic to an appliance like a firewall, gateway, proxy or to allow the Network Address Translation (NAT) to be done by a public IP assigned to the standard load balancer or appliance.

For more information, see configuring cluster egress via user-defined routing for more information.

Updating outboundType after cluster creation (PREVIEW)

Changing the outbound type after cluster creation will deploy or remove resources as required to put the cluster into the new egress configuration.

Migration is only supported between loadBalancer, managedNATGateway (if using a managed virtual network), and userDefinedNATGateway (if using a custom virtual network).


Changing the outbound type on a cluster is disruptive to network connectivity and will result in a change of the cluster's egress IP address. If any firewall rules have been configured to restrict traffic from the cluster, they will need to be updated to match the new egress IP address.


AKS preview features are available on a self-service, opt-in basis. Previews are provided "as is" and "as available," and they're excluded from the service-level agreements and limited warranty. AKS previews are partially covered by customer support on a best-effort basis. As such, these features aren't meant for production use. For more information, see the following support articles:

Install the aks-preview Azure CLI extension

aks-preview version 0.5.113 is required.

To install the aks-preview extension, run the following command:

az extension add --name aks-preview

Run the following command to update to the latest version of the extension released:

az extension update --name aks-preview

Register the 'AKS-OutBoundTypeMigrationPreview' feature flag

Register the AKS-OutBoundTypeMigrationPreview feature flag by using the [az feature register][az-feature-register] command, as shown in the following example:

az feature register --namespace "Microsoft.ContainerService" --name "AKS-OutBoundTypeMigrationPreview"

It takes a few minutes for the status to show Registered. Verify the registration status by using the [az feature show][az-feature-show] command:

az feature show --namespace "Microsoft.ContainerService" --name "AKS-OutBoundTypeMigrationPreview"

When the status reflects Registered, refresh the registration of the Microsoft.ContainerService resource provider by using the [az provider register][az-provider-register] command:

az provider register --namespace Microsoft.ContainerService

Update a cluster to use a new outbound type

Run the following command to change a cluster's outbound configuration:

az aks update -g <resourceGroup> -n <clusterName> --outbound-type <loadBalancer|managedNATGateway|userAssignedNATGateway>

Next steps