Azure’s managed kubernetes service (AKS) is surprisingly easy to get started.  Let’s start our series by clearing up an FUD and fire up a little cluster on our own.

Creating the service

Like most things, just go to the portal and choose “+ Create Resource”.  Enter “Kubernetes Service” and choose create.

Resource Creation Window
Creation settings

Let's go through the settings a bit.

  1. The Cluster name is what will show up in the portal and be referred to in command line arguments.
  2. The DNS Prefix name is what shows up in the URLs for the public facing endpoints.
  3. By default the node count is 3 which is reasonable.  But for a demo, a one node cluster will serve our purposes


Allow AKS to create a new Service Principal and for now, we will not enable RBAC. Role Based Access Control is a topic we can dive into later, but when you are in a position where the cluster will be directly interacted with by many people, then you’ll want to enable it.  If your cluster is private or the interactions are entirely driven through pipelines, then there is no need.


  1. HTTP application routing: this is a quick start for ingress controllers. I always leave this off, however, for this demo, i actually don’t mind the public DNS and exposing my service so i’ll allow it


You can choose to disable the Azure Monitor. It’s pretty cheap. For instance, on East US it’s 2.30 per Gb of injested data AFTER 5gb.  And 10c a gig to retain beyond 30 days.  Another way to put it, if you keep it under 5Gb and don’t save beyond 30d, the service is free.  For this demo I’ll leave it enabled.  We will cover this later.


These are often required by your organization for billing (such as usage with Cloud Custodian).

Our last step is to create the cluster.

Final creation screen
  • Download a Template will let you download the ARM template for re-use.
  • Click Create to Create the Cluster.

Interacting with your AKS cluster.

First, install the azure cli and then login to Azure on the command line:

$ az login --use-device-code
To sign in, use a web browser to open the page and enter the code FD2BKM76B to authenticate.
    "cloudName": "AzureCloud",
    "id": "d955c0ba-13dc-44cf-a29a-8fed74cbb22d",
    "isDefault": true,
    "name": "Pay-As-You-Go",
    "state": "Enabled",
    "tenantId": "28c575f6-ade1-4838-8e7c-7e6d1ba0eb4a",
    "user": {
      "name": "",
      "type": "user"

Next install the kubernetes cli (kubectl).  You can install the Azure CLI to make it that much easier;

$ az aks install-cli
Downloading client to /usr/local/bin/kubectl from
Please ensure that /usr/local/bin is in your search PATH, so the `kubectl` command can be found.

And our last step is to get the credentials to access our cluster:

$ az aks get-credentials --name idj-aks --resource-group idj-aks
Merged "idj-aks" as current context in /Users/isaac.johnson/.kube/config

Our last step is to check for any pods:

$ kubectl get pods
No resources found.


While it is not required to install Helm to use Kubernetes, Helm (and Tiller which is the backend that Helm installs and with which it interacts) make life a bit easier.

$ brew install kubernetes-helm
Updating Homebrew...
==> Auto-updated Homebrew!
Updated 1 tap (homebrew/core).
==> New Formulae
cafeobj               gloo-ctl              h3                    i386-elf-grub         libopenmpt            reprepro              sd                    stolon                zydis
dockerize             gnunet                homeassistant-cli     kcov                  re-flex               riff                  serve                 v2ray-plugin
==> Updated Formulae
azure-cli ✔                      boxes                            diffoscope                       goreleaser                       metricbeat                       roswell
git ✔                            brew-php-switcher                diffstat                         grafana                          micronaut                        rtags
node ✔                           bro                              digdag                           grpc                             minio-mc                         rust
terraform ✔                      buildifier                       dita-ot                          grpcurl                          mkl-dnn                          rustup-init
abcde                            burp                             django-completion                gwyddion                         mosh                             sbcl
abcmidi                          bwm-ng                           dmd                              gx                               mosquitto                        scrcpy
activemq-cpp                     bzt                              dmenu                            gx-go                            mpd                              scw
aescrypt-packetizer              c-blosc                          docfx                            handbrake                        mysql@5.6                        sfml
afflib                           caffe                            docker                           hdf5                             ncompress                        shadowsocks-libev
afio                             calabash                         docker-completion                helmfile                         needle                           shellz
agedu                            calcurse                         double-conversion                hub                              netcdf                           ship
akamai                           calicoctl                        dovecot                          i386-elf-binutils                netpbm                           siege
algernon                         cargo-completion                 dpkg                             ibex                             nginx                            simutrans
ammonite-repl                    carrot2                          draco                            imagemagick                      nifi                             singular
amqp-cpp                         cash-cli                         dscanner                         immortal                         node-build                       sip
angular-cli                      cassandra@2.1                    dtc                              ipfs                             node@10                          skaffold
annie                            cassandra@2.2                    dub                              ispc                             node@6                           skinny
ansible                          cataclysm                        duck                             jadx                             node@8                           skopeo
apache-arrow                     cdk                              dwdiff                           jdupes                           nspr                             sn0int
apache-arrow-glib                cdogs-sdl                        dwm                              jenkins                          nss                              solr
apache-flink                     certbot                          dyld-headers                     jenv                             ntopng                           solr@5.5
apache-zeppelin                  cfengine                         dynamips                         jetty                            ntp                              sourcery
apktool                          cflow                            eccodes                          jetty-runner                     numpy                            sphinx-doc
app-engine-java                  cfr-decompiler                   elasticsearch                    jhipster                         nwchem                           spotbugs
apt-dater                        cglm                             elasticsearch@5.6                jo                               ocrmypdf                         sqlmap
arangodb                         chakra                           elektra                          joplin                           odpi                             step
aravis                           check_postgres                   emscripten                       jruby                            offlineimap                      supersonic
arm-linux-gnueabihf-binutils     checkstyle                       erlang                           kibana@5.6                       ohcount                          svgo
armadillo                        chkrootkit                       erlang@20                        kitchen-sync                     openssl@1.1                      swagger-codegen
arpack                           cli53                            eslint                           knot                             opentracing-cpp                  swagger-codegen@2
artifactory                      click                            exiftool                         kompose                          osquery                          swiftformat
asciidoctorj                     closure-compiler                 exploitdb                        kops                             packer                           swiftlint
asdf                             cmark-gfm                        faas-cli                         kube-ps1                         paket                            syncthing
asio                             cocoapods                        fabio                            kubeprod                         pandoc                           telegraf
ask-cli                          cointop                          firebase-cli                     kubernetes-cli                   pandoc-citeproc                  terragrunt
at-spi2-atk                      collada-dom                      flake8                           kubernetes-helm                  parallel                         tgui
at-spi2-core                     collector-sidecar                flann                            kustomize                        parallelstl                      thors-serializer
atkmm                            commandbox                       flow                             lcov                             passenger                        thrift
ats2-postiats                    conan                            fluid-synth                      ldc                              pcre                             tile38
auditbeat                        configen                         fn                               lean-cli                         pdftoedn                         tippecanoe
aurora                           confluent-oss                    freetds                          leiningen                        petsc                            tmux-xpanes
autogen                          consul-template                  frugal                           libbi                            petsc-complex                    tomcat-native
avfs                             convox                           fx                               libcerf                          pgweb                            topgrade
aws-sdk-cpp                      coturn                           gambit-scheme                    libdvdread                       phoronix-test-suite              tor
awscli                           couchdb                          gcc                              libgweather                      php                              typescript
axel                             cpprestsdk                       gdal                             libheif                          php@7.1                          ucloud
azure-storage-cpp                cproto                           gdk-pixbuf                       libosinfo                        picard-tools                     unrar
babeld                           crc32c                           geckodriver                      libphonenumber                   planck                           unzip
babl                             cromwell                         gecode                           libpq                            plank                            vagrant-completion
backupninja                      cryptominisat                    geocode-glib                     libpulsar                        platformio                       vala
bacula-fd                        cryptopp                         gerbil-scheme                    libqalculate                     pmd                              vault
balena-cli                       cscope                           get_iplayer                      librealsense                     ponyc                            wabt
batik                            csfml                            ghc                              libsecret                        pre-commit                       wartremover
bazel                            cython                           git-flow-avh                     libtensorflow                    precomp                          weaver
bee                              czmq                             git-lfs                          libuninameslist                  presto                           weboob
befunge93                        darcs                            gitlab-runner                    libxlsxwriter                    primesieve                       wildfly-as
bettercap                        dartsim                          glib                             linkerd                          profanity                        wireguard-tools
bgpstream                        dav1d                            glslang                          liquibase                        prometheus                       wtf
bibtexconv                       davix                            gmsh                             lmod                             protobuf                         xmrig
bigloo                           dcd                              gmt                              logtalk                          protobuf-c                       xtensor
binaryen                         ddrescue                         gmt@4                            lsd                              protobuf-swift                   yara
bind                             deark                            gnome-latex                      lxc                              protoc-gen-go                    ydcv
bindfs                           debianutils                      gnu-tar                          lzlib                            pulumi                           yle-dl
bit                              deja-gnu                         go                               mariadb                          python@2                         you-get
blastem                          deployer                         godep                            mat2                             redis@4.0                        youtube-dl
bluetoothconnector               dhex                             golang-migrate                   maxwell                          rhash                            zbackup
bmake                            dialog                           gomplate                         mesa                             rke
==> Renamed Formulae
ark -> velero
==> Deleted Formulae

==> Downloading
######################################################################## 100.0%
==> Pouring kubernetes-helm-2.13.0.mojave.bottle.tar.gz
==> Caveats
Bash completion has been installed to:

zsh completions have been installed to:
==> Summary
🍺  /usr/local/Cellar/kubernetes-helm/2.13.0: 51 files, 84.1MB
==> `brew cleanup` has not been run in 30 days, running now...
Removing: /usr/local/Cellar/gdbm/1.17... (20 files, 581.4KB)
Removing: /Users/isaac.johnson/Library/Caches/Homebrew/node--11.9.0.mojave.bottle.tar.gz... (13.4MB)
Removing: /usr/local/Cellar/openssl/1.0.2o_2... (1,792 files, 12.3MB)
Removing: /usr/local/Cellar/openssl/1.0.2p... (1,793 files, 12.3MB)
Removing: /usr/local/Cellar/python/3.7.0... (4,875 files, 103.2MB)
Removing: /usr/local/Cellar/readline/7.0.5... (46 files, 1.5MB)
Removing: /usr/local/Cellar/sqlite/3.24.0... (11 files, 3.5MB)
Removing: /Users/isaac.johnson/Library/Logs/Homebrew/gettext... (64B)
Removing: /Users/isaac.johnson/Library/Logs/Homebrew/pcre2... (64B)
Removing: /Users/isaac.johnson/Library/Logs/Homebrew/openssl... (64B)
Removing: /Users/isaac.johnson/Library/Logs/Homebrew/git... (64B)
Removing: /Users/isaac.johnson/Library/Logs/Homebrew/httrack... (64B)
Pruned 0 symbolic links and 2 directories from /usr/local

$ helm init
Creating /Users/isaac.johnson/.helm 
Creating /Users/isaac.johnson/.helm/repository 
Creating /Users/isaac.johnson/.helm/repository/cache 
Creating /Users/isaac.johnson/.helm/repository/local 
Creating /Users/isaac.johnson/.helm/plugins 
Creating /Users/isaac.johnson/.helm/starters 
Creating /Users/isaac.johnson/.helm/cache/archive 
Creating /Users/isaac.johnson/.helm/repository/repositories.yaml 
Adding stable repo with URL: 
Adding local repo with URL: 
$HELM_HOME has been configured at /Users/isaac.johnson/.helm.

Tiller (the Helm server-side component) has been installed into your Kubernetes Cluster.

Please note: by default, Tiller is deployed with an insecure 'allow unauthenticated users' policy.
To prevent this, run `helm init` with the --tiller-tls-verify flag.
For more information on securing your installation see:
Happy Helming!

Using our cluster

Let’s do a quick install of a two tier app, SonarQube (OSS) just to see things work.

$ helm install stable/sonarqube
NAME:   coiling-bee
LAST DEPLOYED: Sun Mar 10 10:13:05 2019
NAMESPACE: default
==> v1/ConfigMap
NAME                                   DATA  AGE
coiling-bee-sonarqube-config           0     1s
coiling-bee-sonarqube-copy-plugins     1     1s
coiling-bee-sonarqube-install-plugins  1     1s
coiling-bee-sonarqube-tests            1     1s
==> v1/PersistentVolumeClaim
coiling-bee-postgresql  Pending  default  1s
==> v1/Pod(related)
NAME                                     READY  STATUS             RESTARTS  AGE
coiling-bee-postgresql-5d7b8fd7f7-srqhk  0/1    Pending            0         1s
coiling-bee-sonarqube-76d8dcc899-kxbbm   0/1    ContainerCreating  0         1s
==> v1/Secret
NAME                    TYPE    DATA  AGE
coiling-bee-postgresql  Opaque  1     1s
==> v1/Service
NAME                    TYPE          CLUSTER-IP   EXTERNAL-IP  PORT(S)         AGE
coiling-bee-postgresql  ClusterIP  <none>       5432/TCP        1s
coiling-bee-sonarqube   LoadBalancer   <pending>    9000:30510/TCP  1s
==> v1beta1/Deployment
coiling-bee-postgresql  0/1    1           0          1s
coiling-bee-sonarqube   0/1    1           0          1s
1. Get the application URL by running these commands:
     NOTE: It may take a few minutes for the LoadBalancer IP to be available.
           You can watch the status of by running 'kubectl get svc -w coiling-bee-sonarqube'
  export SERVICE_IP=$(kubectl get svc --namespace default coiling-bee-sonarqube -o jsonpath='{.status.loadBalancer.ingress[0].ip}')
  echo http://$SERVICE_IP:9000

Let’s get that IP address:

Kubectl get svc --namespace default coiling-bee-sonarqube -o jsonpath='{.status.loadBalancer.ingress[0].ip}'

Checking times out.. Why?

Checking the state of our Deployment

First we can check if the pods have been created yet (again, we chose the tinniest cluster, i expect things might take a bit longer as a result):

NAME                                      READY   STATUS              RESTARTS   AGE
coiling-bee-postgresql-5d7b8fd7f7-srqhk   0/1     ContainerCreating   0          4m33s
coiling-bee-sonarqube-76d8dcc899-kxbbm    0/1     ContainerCreating   0          4m33s

Checking a bit later:
AHD-MBP13-048:current isaac.johnson$ kubectl get pods
NAME                                      READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
coiling-bee-postgresql-5d7b8fd7f7-srqhk   1/1     Running   0          7m33s
coiling-bee-sonarqube-76d8dcc899-kxbbm    0/1     Running   1          7m33s

kubectl get pods
NAME                                      READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
coiling-bee-postgresql-5d7b8fd7f7-srqhk   1/1     Running   0          8m7s
coiling-bee-sonarqube-76d8dcc899-kxbbm    1/1     Running   1          8m7s

Let’s check our ingress IP and see if Sonar is up:

Helm installed SonarQube running: always change the admin password immediately if doing this way (default pw: admin)

Cleanup and Costs:

Perhaps the biggest reason I am a bit of an Azure fanboy despite working in all the public cloud providers is because of how incridebly easy it is to check on costs and tear down things you create.

We can go to the resource group and check costs which in the 30 minutes it took to create a cluster, launch tiller and sonar and write these instructions has amounted to $0.00:

Resource Cost Window

Deleting a helm installed release

If we wish to just delete a helm installed release, we can free up resources on our cluster using the command line.

Find existing running releases:

$ helm list
coiling-bee	1       	Sun Mar 10 10:13:05 2019	DEPLOYED	sonarqube-0.15.0	7.6        	default  

Then delete the named release:

$ helm delete coiling-bee
release "coiling-bee" deleted
AHD-MBP13-048:current isaac.johnson$ kubectl get pods
NAME                                      READY   STATUS        RESTARTS   AGE
coiling-bee-postgresql-5d7b8fd7f7-srqhk   0/1     Terminating   0          58m
coiling-bee-sonarqube-76d8dcc899-kxbbm    0/1     Terminating   1          58m

If we are totally done with this work, we can easily remove the entire resource group which should remove the cluster and anything deployed within it.

Just pull up the resource group, then choose Overview and click "Delete resource group".  

Resource Group Delete from Overview


In a few minutes we quickly created an entire AKS cluster in Azure.  We installed command line tools, including Helm and launched a stable chart.   This chart acquired a public IP and set up a loadbalancer and we verified we could access a usable 2-tier app.

When we were done we showed how we can delete a release installed by helm and lastly how we could remove the entire resource group so as not to incur any costs.