Azure government regions

OpenShift Container Platform supports deploying a cluster to Microsoft Azure Government (MAG) regions. MAG is specifically designed for US government agencies at the federal, state, and local level, as well as contractors, educational institutions, and other US customers that must run sensitive workloads on Azure. MAG is composed of government-only data center regions, all granted an Impact Level 5 Provisional Authorization.

Installing to a MAG region requires manually configuring the Azure Government dedicated cloud instance and region in the install-config.yaml file. You must also update your service principal to reference the appropriate government environment.

The Azure government region cannot be selected using the guided terminal prompts from the installation program. You must define the region manually in the install-config.yaml file. Remember to also set the dedicated cloud instance, like AzureUSGovernmentCloud, based on the region specified.

Private clusters

You can deploy a private OpenShift Container Platform cluster that does not expose external endpoints. Private clusters are accessible from only an internal network and are not visible to the internet.

By default, OpenShift Container Platform is provisioned to use publicly-accessible DNS and endpoints. A private cluster sets the DNS, Ingress Controller, and API server to private when you deploy your cluster. This means that the cluster resources are only accessible from your internal network and are not visible to the internet.

If the cluster has any public subnets, load balancer services created by administrators might be publicly accessible. To ensure cluster security, verify that these services are explicitly annotated as private.

To deploy a private cluster, you must:

  • Use existing networking that meets your requirements. Your cluster resources might be shared between other clusters on the network.

  • Deploy from a machine that has access to:

    • The API services for the cloud to which you provision.

    • The hosts on the network that you provision.

    • The internet to obtain installation media.

You can use any machine that meets these access requirements and follows your company’s guidelines. For example, this machine can be a bastion host on your cloud network or a machine that has access to the network through a VPN.

Private clusters in Azure

To create a private cluster on Microsoft Azure, you must provide an existing private VNet and subnets to host the cluster. The installation program must also be able to resolve the DNS records that the cluster requires. The installation program configures the Ingress Operator and API server for only internal traffic.

Depending how your network connects to the private VNET, you might need to use a DNS forwarder to resolve the cluster’s private DNS records. The cluster’s machines use internally for DNS resolution. For more information, see What is Azure Private DNS? and What is IP address in the Azure documentation.

The cluster still requires access to internet to access the Azure APIs.

The following items are not required or created when you install a private cluster:

  • A BaseDomainResourceGroup, since the cluster does not create public records

  • Public IP addresses

  • Public DNS records

  • Public endpoints

    The cluster is configured so that the Operators do not create public records for the cluster and all cluster machines are placed in the private subnets that you specify.


Private clusters on Azure are subject to only the limitations that are associated with the use of an existing VNet.

User-defined outbound routing

In OpenShift Container Platform, you can choose your own outbound routing for a cluster to connect to the internet. This allows you to skip the creation of public IP addresses and the public load balancer.

You can configure user-defined routing by modifying parameters in the install-config.yaml file before installing your cluster. A pre-existing VNet is required to use outbound routing when installing a cluster; the installation program is not responsible for configuring this.

When configuring a cluster to use user-defined routing, the installation program does not create the following resources:

  • Outbound rules for access to the internet.

  • Public IPs for the public load balancer.

  • Kubernetes Service object to add the cluster machines to the public load balancer for outbound requests.

You must ensure the following items are available before setting user-defined routing:

  • Egress to the internet is possible to pull container images, unless using an internal registry mirror.

  • The cluster can access Azure APIs.

  • Various allowlist endpoints are configured. You can reference these endpoints in the Configuring your firewall section.

There are several pre-existing networking setups that are supported for internet access using user-defined routing.

Private cluster with network address translation

You can use Azure VNET network address translation (NAT) to provide outbound internet access for the subnets in your cluster. You can reference Create a NAT gateway using Azure CLI in the Azure documentation for configuration instructions.

When using a VNet setup with Azure NAT and user-defined routing configured, you can create a private cluster with no public endpoints.

Private cluster with Azure Firewall

You can use Azure Firewall to provide outbound routing for the VNet used to install the cluster. You can learn more about providing user-defined routing with Azure Firewall in the Azure documentation.

When using a VNet setup with Azure Firewall and user-defined routing configured, you can create a private cluster with no public endpoints.

Private cluster with a proxy configuration

You can use a proxy with user-defined routing to allow egress to the internet. You must ensure that cluster Operators do not access Azure APIs using a proxy; Operators must have access to Azure APIs outside of the proxy.

When using the default route table for subnets, with populated automatically by Azure, all Azure API requests are routed over Azure’s internal network even though the IP addresses are public. As long as the Network Security Group rules allow egress to Azure API endpoints, proxies with user-defined routing configured allow you to create private clusters with no public endpoints.

Private cluster with no internet access

You can install a private network that restricts all access to the internet, except the Azure API. This is accomplished by mirroring the release image registry locally. Your cluster must have access to the following:

  • An internal registry mirror that allows for pulling container images

  • Access to Azure APIs

With these requirements available, you can use user-defined routing to create private clusters with no public endpoints.

About reusing a VNet for your OpenShift Container Platform cluster

In OpenShift Container Platform 4.11, you can deploy a cluster into an existing Azure Virtual Network (VNet) in Microsoft Azure. If you do, you must also use existing subnets within the VNet and routing rules.

By deploying OpenShift Container Platform into an existing Azure VNet, you might be able to avoid service limit constraints in new accounts or more easily abide by the operational constraints that your company’s guidelines set. This is a good option to use if you cannot obtain the infrastructure creation permissions that are required to create the VNet.

Requirements for using your VNet

When you deploy a cluster by using an existing VNet, you must perform additional network configuration before you install the cluster. In installer-provisioned infrastructure clusters, the installer usually creates the following components, but it does not create them when you install into an existing VNet:

  • Subnets

  • Route tables

  • VNets

  • Network Security Groups

The installation program requires that you use the cloud-provided DNS server. Using a custom DNS server is not supported and causes the installation to fail.

If you use a custom VNet, you must correctly configure it and its subnets for the installation program and the cluster to use. The installation program cannot subdivide network ranges for the cluster to use, set route tables for the subnets, or set VNet options like DHCP, so you must do so before you install the cluster.

The cluster must be able to access the resource group that contains the existing VNet and subnets. While all of the resources that the cluster creates are placed in a separate resource group that it creates, some network resources are used from a separate group. Some cluster Operators must be able to access resources in both resource groups. For example, the Machine API controller attaches NICS for the virtual machines that it creates to subnets from the networking resource group.

Your VNet must meet the following characteristics:

  • The VNet’s CIDR block must contain the Networking.MachineCIDR range, which is the IP address pool for cluster machines.

  • The VNet and its subnets must belong to the same resource group, and the subnets must be configured to use Azure-assigned DHCP IP addresses instead of static IP addresses.

You must provide two subnets within your VNet, one for the control plane machines and one for the compute machines. Because Azure distributes machines in different availability zones within the region that you specify, your cluster will have high availability by default.

To ensure that the subnets that you provide are suitable, the installation program confirms the following data:

  • All the specified subnets exist.

  • There are two private subnets, one for the control plane machines and one for the compute machines.

  • The subnet CIDRs belong to the machine CIDR that you specified. Machines are not provisioned in availability zones that you do not provide private subnets for. If required, the installation program creates public load balancers that manage the control plane and worker nodes, and Azure allocates a public IP address to them.

If you destroy a cluster that uses an existing VNet, the VNet is not deleted.

Network security group requirements

The network security groups for the subnets that host the compute and control plane machines require specific access to ensure that the cluster communication is correct. You must create rules to allow access to the required cluster communication ports.

The network security group rules must be in place before you install the cluster. If you attempt to install a cluster without the required access, the installation program cannot reach the Azure APIs, and installation fails.

Table 1. Required ports
Port Description Control plane Compute


Allows HTTP traffic



Allows HTTPS traffic



Allows communication to the control plane machines



Allows internal communication to the machine config server for provisioning machines


Since cluster components do not modify the user-provided network security groups, which the Kubernetes controllers update, a pseudo-network security group is created for the Kubernetes controller to modify without impacting the rest of the environment.

Division of permissions

Starting with OpenShift Container Platform 4.3, you do not need all of the permissions that are required for an installation program-provisioned infrastructure cluster to deploy a cluster. This change mimics the division of permissions that you might have at your company: some individuals can create different resources in your clouds than others. For example, you might be able to create application-specific items, like instances, storage, and load balancers, but not networking-related components such as VNets, subnet, or ingress rules.

The Azure credentials that you use when you create your cluster do not need the networking permissions that are required to make VNets and core networking components within the VNet, suc