Azure Service Operator


CAPZ interfaces with Azure to create and manage some types of resources using Azure Service Operator (ASO).

More context around the decision for CAPZ to pivot towards using ASO can be found in the proposal.

Primary changes

For most users, the introduction of ASO is expected to be fully transparent and backwards compatible. Changes that may affect specific use cases are described below.


Beginning with CAPZ v1.11.0, ASO’s control plane will be installed automatically by clusterctl in the capz-system namespace alongside CAPZ’s control plane components. When ASO is already installed on a cluster, installing ASO again with CAPZ is expected to fail and clusterctl cannot install CAPZ without ASO. The suggested workaround for users facing this issue is to uninstall the existing ASO control plane (but keep the ASO CRDs) and then to install CAPZ.

Bring-your-own (BYO) resource

CAPZ had already allowed users to pre-create some resources like resource groups and virtual networks and reference those resources in CAPZ resources. CAPZ will then use those existing resources without creating new ones and assume the user is responsible for managing them, so will not actively reconcile changes to or delete those resources.

This use case is still supported with ASO installed. The main difference is that an ASO resource will be created for CAPZ’s own bookkeeping, but configured not to be actively reconciled by ASO. When the Cluster API Cluster owning the resource is deleted, the ASO resource will also be deleted from the management cluster but the resource will not be deleted in Azure.

Additionally, BYO resources may include ASO resources managed by the user. CAPZ will not modify or delete such resources. Note that clusterctl move will not move user-managed ASO resources.

Configuration with Environment Variables

These environment variables are passed through to the aso-controller-settings Secret to configure ASO when CAPZ is installed and are consumed by clusterctl init. They may also be modified directly in the Secret after installing ASO with CAPZ:


More details on each can be found in ASO’s documentation.

Using ASO for non-CAPZ resources

CAPZ’s installation of ASO can be used directly to manage Azure resources outside the domain of Cluster API.

Installing more CRDs

CAPZ’s installation of ASO configures only the ASO CRDs that are required by CAPZ. To make more resource types available, install their corresponding CRDs. ASO publishes a manifest containing all CRDs for each release. Extract only the ones you need using tool like yq, then make the following modifications to each CRD to account for CAPZ installing ASO in the capz-system namespace:

  • Change metadata.annotations."" to capz-system/azureserviceoperator-serving-cert
  • Change spec.conversion.webhook.clientConfig.service.namespace to capz-system

More details about how ASO manages CRDs can be found here.