Control access using Azure AD and Kubernetes RBAC in AKS hybrid
Applies to: AKS on Azure Stack HCI, AKS on Windows Server
Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) can be configured to use Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) for user authentication. In this configuration, you sign in to an AKS cluster using an Azure AD authentication token. Once authenticated, you can use the built-in Kubernetes role-based access control (Kubernetes RBAC) to manage access to namespaces and cluster resources based on a user's identity or group membership.
This article describes how to control access using Kubernetes RBAC in an AKS cluster based on Azure AD group membership in AKS hybrid. You'll create a demo group and users in Azure AD. And then you'll create roles and role bindings in the AKS cluster to grant the appropriate permissions to create and view resources.
Before you set up Kubernetes RBAC using Azure AD identity, you'll need:
An AKS cluster created in AKS hybrid
You'll need an AKS cluster created in AKS hybrid. If you need to set up your cluster, you can find instructions for using Windows Admin Center or PowerShell to deploy AKS.
Azure Arc connection
You'll need to have an Azure Arc connection to your AKS cluster. For instruction on enabling Azure Arc, see Connect an Azure Kubernetes Service on Azure Stack HCI cluster to Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes.
You'll need access to the following command line tools:
The Azure command-line interface (Azure CLI) is a set of commands used to create and manage Azure resources. To check whether you have the Azure CLI, open a command line tool, and type:
For installation instructions, see How to install the Azure CLI.
The Kubernetes command-line tool, kubectl, allows you to run commands targeting your Kubernetes clusters. To check whether you have installed kubectl, open a command line tool, and type:
kubectl version --client. Make sure your kubectl client version is at least
For installation instructions, see kubectl.
PowerShell and the AksHci PowerShell module
PowerShell is a cross-platform task automation solution made up of a command-line shell, a scripting language, and a configuration management framework. If you have installed AKS hybrid, you'll have access to the AksHci PowerShell module.
Optional first steps
If you don't already have an Azure AD group that contains members, you may want to create a group and add some members, so that you can follow the instructions in this article.
To demonstrate working with Azure AD and Kubernetes RBAC, you can create an Azure AD group for application developers that can be used to show how Kubernetes RBAC and Azure AD control access to cluster resources. In production environments, you can use existing users and groups within an Azure AD tenant.
Create a demo group in Azure AD
First, create the group in Azure AD in your tenant for the application developers using the az ad group create command. The following example has you sign into your Azure tenant and then creates a group named appdev:
az login az ad group create --display-name appdev --mail-nickname appdev
Add users to your group
With the example group created in Azure AD for our application developers, let's add a user to the
appdev group. You'll use this user account to sign in to the AKS cluster and test the Kubernetes RBAC integration.
Add a user to the appdev group created in the previous section using the az ad group member add command. If you have quit your session, you'll need to reconnect to Azure using
$AKSDEV_ID = az ad user create --display-name <name> --password <strongpassword> --user-principal-name <name>@contoso.onmicrosoft.com az ad group member add --group appdev --member-id $AKSDEV_ID
Create a custom Kubernetes RBAC role binding on the AKS cluster resource for the Azure AD group
Configure the AKS cluster to allow your Azure AD group to access the cluster. If you would like to add a group and users to follow the steps in this guide, see Create demo groups in Azure AD.
Get the cluster admin credentials using the Get-AksHciCredential command.
Get-AksHciCredential -name <name-of-your-cluster>
Create a namespace in the AKS cluster using the kubectl create namespace command. The following example creates a namespace named dev:
kubectl create namespace dev
In Kubernetes, Roles define the permissions to grant, and RoleBindings apply the permissions to desired users or groups. These assignments can be applied to a given namespace or across an entire cluster. For more information, see Using Kubernetes RBAC authorization.
Create a role for the dev namespace. This role grants full permissions to the namespace. In production environments, you may want to specify more granular permissions for different users or groups.
Create a file named
role-dev-namespace.yamland paste the following YAML manifest:
kind: Role apiVersion: rbac.authorization.k8s.io/v1 metadata: name: dev-user-full-access namespace: dev rules: - apiGroups: ["", "extensions", "apps"] resources: ["*"] verbs: ["*"] - apiGroups: ["batch"] resources: - jobs - cronjobs verbs: ["*"]
Create the role using the kubectl apply command, and specify the filename of your YAML manifest:
kubectl apply -f role-dev-namespace.yaml
Get the resource ID for the appdev group using the az ad group show command. This group is set as the subject of a RoleBinding in the next step.
az ad group show --group appdev --query objectId -o tsv
az ad group showcommand returns the value you'll use as
Create a file named
rolebinding-dev-namespace.yaml, and paste in the following YAML manifest. You're establishing the role binding that enables the appdev group to use the
role-dev-namespacerole for namespace access. On the last line, replace
groupObjectIdwith the group object ID produced by the
az ad group showcommand.
kind: RoleBinding apiVersion: rbac.authorization.k8s.io/v1 metadata: name: dev-user-access namespace: dev roleRef: apiGroup: rbac.authorization.k8s.io kind: Role name: dev-user-full-access subjects: - kind: Group namespace: dev name: groupObjectId
If you want to create the RoleBinding for a single user, specify
kind: Userand replace
groupObjectIdwith the user principal name (UPN) in the sample.
Create the RoleBinding using the kubectl apply command and specify the filename of your YAML manifest:
kubectl apply -f rolebinding-dev-namespace.yaml
Use built-in Kubernetes RBAC roles for your AKS cluster resource
Kubernetes also provides built-in user-facing roles. These built-in roles include:
- Super-user roles (cluster-admin)
- Roles intended to be granted cluster-wide using ClusterRoleBindings
- Roles intended to be granted within particular namespaces using RoleBindings (admin, edit, view)
To learn more about built-in Kubernetes RBAC roles, see Kubernetes RBAC user-facing roles
|Default ClusterRole||Default ClusterRoleBinding||Description|
|cluster-admin||system:masters group||Allows super-user access, to perform any action on any resource. When used in a ClusterRoleBinding, this role gives full control over every resource in the cluster and in all namespaces. When used in a RoleBinding, it gives full control over every resource in the role binding's namespace, including the namespace itself.|
|admin||None||Allows admin access, intended to be granted within a namespace using a role binding. If used in a role binding, allows read/write access to most resources in a namespace, including the capability to create roles and role bindings within the namespace. This role doesn't allow write access to resource quota or to the namespace itself. This role also doesn't allow write access to endpoints in clusters created using Kubernetes v1.22+. For more information, see Write Access for Endpoints.|
|edit||None||Allows read/write access to most objects in a namespace. This role doesn't allow viewing or modifying roles or role bindings. However, this role allows accessing secrets and running pods as any ServiceAccount in the namespace, so it can be used to gain the API access levels of any ServiceAccount in the namespace. This role also doesn't allow write access to endpoints in clusters created using Kubernetes v1.22+. For more information, see Write Access for Endpoints.|
|view||None||Allows read-only access to see most objects in a namespace. It doesn't allow viewing roles or role bindings. This role doesn't allow viewing secrets, since reading the contents of secrets enables access to ServiceAccount credentials in the namespace, which would allow API access as any ServiceAccount in the namespace (a form of privilege escalation).|
Use a built-in Kubernetes RBAC role with Azure AD
To use a built-in Kubernetes RBAC role with Azure AD, do the following steps:
Apply the built-in
viewKubernetes RBAC role to your Azure AD group:
kubectl create clusterrolebinding <name of your cluster role binding> --clusterrole=view --group=<Azure AD group object ID>
Apply the built-in
viewKubernetes RBAC role to each of your Azure AD users:
kubectl create clusterrolebinding <name of your cluster role binding> --clusterrole=view --user=<Azure AD user object ID>
Work with cluster resources using Azure AD identities
Now, test the expected permissions when you create and manage resources in an AKS cluster. In these examples, you'll schedule and view pods in the user's assigned namespace. Then, you'll try to schedule and view pods outside the assigned namespace.
Sign in to the Azure using the
$AKSDEV_IDuser account that you passed as an input to the
az ad group member addcommand. Run the
az connectedk8s proxycommand to open a channel to the AKS cluster:
az connectedk8s proxy -n <cluster-name> -g <resource-group>
After the proxy channel is established, open another session, and schedule an NGINX pod using the kubectl run command in the dev namespace:
kubectl run nginx-dev --image=mcr.microsoft.com/oss/nginx/nginx:1.15.5-alpine --namespace dev
When NGINX has been successfully scheduled, you see the following the output:
Now, use the kubectl get pods command to view pods in the dev namespace:
kubectl get pods --namespace dev
When NGINX is successfully Running, you see the following the output:
$ kubectl get pods --namespace dev NAME READY STATUS RESTARTS AGE nginx-dev 1/1 Running 0 4m
Create and view cluster resources outside the assigned namespace
To attempt to view pods outside the dev namespace, use the kubectl get pods command with the
kubectl get pods --all-namespaces
The user's group membership doesn't have a Kubernetes role that allows this action. Without the permission, the command will throw an error.
Error from server (Forbidden): pods is forbidden: User cannot list resource "pods" in API group "" at the cluster scope
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