Custom images

This document will help you get a CAPZ Kubernetes cluster up and running with your custom image.

Reference images

An image defines the operating system and Kubernetes components that will populate the disk of each node in your cluster.

By default, images offered by “capi” in the Azure Marketplace are used. You can list these reference images with this command:

az vm image list --publisher cncf-upstream --offer capi --all -o table

Note: These images are not updated for security fixes and it is recommended to always use the latest patch version for the Kubernetes version you wish to run. For production-like environments, and for more control over your nodes, it is highly recommended to build and use your own custom images.

Building a custom image

Cluster API uses the Kubernetes Image Builder tools. You should use the Azure images from that project as a starting point for your custom image.

The Image Builder Book explains how to build the images defined in that repository, with instructions for Azure CAPI Images in particular.

Operating system requirements

For your custom image to work with Cluster API, it must meet the operating system requirements of the bootstrap provider. For example, the default kubeadm bootstrap provider has a set of preflight checks that a VM is expected to pass before it can join the cluster.

Kubernetes version requirements

The reference images are each built to support a specific version of Kubernetes. When using your custom images based on them, take care to match the image to the version: field of the KubeadmControlPlane and MachineDeployment in the YAML template for your workload cluster.

To upgrade to a new Kubernetes release with custom images requires this preparation:

  • create a new custom image which supports the Kubernetes release version
  • copy the existing AzureMachineTemplate and change its image: section to reference the new custom image
  • create the new AzureMachineTemplate on the management cluster
  • modify the existing KubeadmControlPlane and MachineDeployment to reference the new AzureMachineTemplate and update the version: field to match

See Upgrading workload clusters for more details.

Creating a cluster from a custom image

To use a custom image, it needs to be referenced in an image: section of your AzureMachineTemplate. See below for more specific examples.

Using Shared Image Gallery (Recommended)

To use an image from the Shared Image Gallery, fill in the resourceGroup, name, subscriptionID, gallery, and version fields:

kind: AzureMachineTemplate
  name: capz-shared-gallery-example
          resourceGroup: "cluster-api-images"
          name: "capi-1234567890"
          subscriptionID: "01234567-89ab-cdef-0123-4567890abcde"
          gallery: "ClusterAPI"
          version: "0.3.1234567890"

If you build Azure CAPI images with the make targets in Image Builder, these required values are printed after a successful build. For example:

$ make -C images/capi/ build-azure-sig-ubuntu-1804
# many minutes later...
==> sig-ubuntu-1804:
Build 'sig-ubuntu-1804' finished.

==> Builds finished. The artifacts of successful builds are:
--> sig-ubuntu-1804: Azure.ResourceManagement.VMImage:

OSType: Linux
ManagedImageResourceGroupName: cluster-api-images
ManagedImageName: capi-1234567890
ManagedImageId: /subscriptions/01234567-89ab-cdef-0123-4567890abcde/resourceGroups/cluster-api-images/providers/Microsoft.Compute/images/capi-1234567890
ManagedImageLocation: southcentralus
ManagedImageSharedImageGalleryId: /subscriptions/01234567-89ab-cdef-0123-4567890abcde/resourceGroups/cluster-api-images/providers/Microsoft.Compute/galleries/ClusterAPI/images/capi-ubuntu-1804/versions/0.3.1234567890

Please also see the replication recommendations for the Shared Image Gallery.

Using image ID

To use a managed image resource by ID, only the id field must be set:

kind: AzureMachineTemplate
  name: capz-image-id-example
        id: "/subscriptions/01234567-89ab-cdef-0123-4567890abcde/resourceGroups/myResourceGroup/providers/Microsoft.Compute/images/myImage"

A managed image resource can be created from a Virtual Machine. Please refer to Azure documentation on creating a managed image for more detail.

Managed images support only 20 simultaneous deployments, so for most use cases Shared Image Gallery is recommended.

Using Azure Marketplace

To use an image from Azure Marketplace, populate the publisher, offer, sku, and version fields and, if this image is published by a third party publisher, set the thirdPartyImage flag to true so an image Plan can be generated for it. In the case of a third party image, you must accept the license terms with the Azure CLI before consuming it.

kind: AzureMachineTemplate
  name: capz-marketplace-example
          publisher: "example-publisher"
          offer: "example-offer"
          sku: "k8s-1dot18dot8-ubuntu-1804"
          version: "2020-07-25"
          thirdPartyImage: true