NashTech Insights

Azure CNI in Kubernetes Service: Empowering Network Flexibility and Security

Atisha Shaurya
Atisha Shaurya
Table of Contents
blue and red light from computer

Kubernetes has revolutionized the way organizations deploy and manage containerized applications, but effective networking in Kubernetes clusters can be a complex task. Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) simplifies this challenge with Azure CNI (Container Networking Interface). In this blog post, we’ll delve into Azure CNI, its features, benefits, and how it empowers networking in AKS.

What is Azure CNI?

Azure CNI (Container Networking Interface) is a networking plugin for Kubernetes clusters running in Azure. It provides a networking model that leverages Azure’s virtual network infrastructure, offering seamless integration with Azure resources. Azure CNI enables fine-grained control over pod networking, robust security, and scalability within AKS clusters.

Key Features of Azure CNI:

1. Azure VNet Integration

Azure CNI seamlessly integrates with Azure Virtual Networks (VNets), allowing pods to directly communicate with Azure resources like virtual machines, databases, and other services. This integration simplifies network configuration and enhances security.

2. IPv4 and IPv6 Support

Azure CNI supports both IPv4 and IPv6 addressing, giving you flexibility in designing your network architecture and addressing future scalability needs.

3. Pod-Level IP Addressing

Each pod in an AKS cluster gets its own IP address from the Azure VNet subnet. This pod-level addressing simplifies network routing and allows for direct communication between pods without NAT.

4. Security Group Integration

Azure CNI integrates with Azure Network Security Groups (NSGs) to enforce network policies and control traffic flows to and from pods. NSGs provide layer-4 security controls, enhancing security within the AKS cluster.

5. Advanced Networking Scenarios

Azure CNI supports complex networking scenarios such as deploying pods across multiple subnets, enabling peering between VNets, and connecting on-premises networks to AKS clusters.

Benefits of Using Azure CNI in AKS:

1. Network Flexibility

Azure CNI offers flexibility in designing your AKS network architecture. You can define how pods and services communicate within and outside the cluster, tailoring the network to your specific requirements.

2. Security and Isolation

By integrating with Azure NSGs, Azure CNI enables you to implement robust network security policies. You can control traffic between pods, between pods and Azure resources, and even from on-premises networks, enhancing isolation and security.

3. Improved Performance

Pod-level IP addressing reduces the complexity of network routing, resulting in improved network performance within the AKS cluster. Pods can communicate directly, reducing latency and bottlenecks.

4. Scalability and Availability

Azure CNI is designed to scale with your AKS clusters. As your application grows, you can easily add more pods, nodes, and even additional AKS clusters while maintaining network performance and availability.

How to Enable Azure CNI in AKS:

Enabling Azure CNI in your AKS cluster is straightforward:

  1. Create a Virtual Network: If you don’t already have one, create an Azure Virtual Network (VNet) or use an existing one.
  2. Enable Azure CNI: When creating your AKS cluster, specify the --network-plugin azure flag to enable Azure CNI.
  3. Specify Subnets: Define the subnets within your VNet that AKS should use for pod and service IP addressing.
  4. Network Policies: Optionally, define Azure Network Policies to control traffic flow within the cluster.


Azure CNI in Azure Kubernetes Service is a powerful networking solution that simplifies network configuration, enhances security, and improves performance for containerized applications. By leveraging Azure CNI, organizations can confidently deploy, manage, and scale their Kubernetes workloads, ensuring they meet the network demands of modern applications and services.

Atisha Shaurya

Atisha Shaurya

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Suggested Article

%d bloggers like this: