Azure Private Link Service Integration

Connect Azure Private Link service to Azure Standard Load Balancer.

Azure Private Link Service (PLS) is an infrastructure component that allows users to privately connect via a Private Endpoint (PE) in a VNET in Azure and a Frontend IP Configuration associated with an Azure Load Balancer (ALB). With Private Link, users as service providers can securely provide their services to consumers who can connect from within Azure or on-premises without data exfiltration risks.

Before Private Link Service integration, users who wanted private connectivity from on-premises or other VNETs to their services in the Azure Kubernetes cluster were required to create a Private Link Service (PLS) to reference the Azure LoadBalancer. The user would then create a Private Endpoint (PE) to connect to the PLS to enable private connectivity. With this feature, a managed PLS to the LB would be created automatically, and the user would only be required to create PE connections to it for private connectivity.

Note: When PLS has TCP proxy protocol V2 enabled ( true) and service externalTrafficPolicy is set to Local, LB health probe is down. This is because when PLS has proxy protocol enabled, the corresponding LB HTTP health probe would use proxy protocol as well. When service’s externalTrafficPolicy is set to Local, health probe depends on kube-proxy’s health check service which does not accept proxy protocol and all health probes fail. PR #3931 allows users to customize health probe when externalTrafficPolicy is set to Local and thus provides the workaround. It will be released soon.

PrivateLinkService annotations

Below is a list of annotations supported for Kubernetes services with Azure PLS created:

AnnotationValueDescriptionRequiredDefault"true"Boolean indicating whether a PLS needs to be created.Required<PLS name>String specifying the name of the PLS resource to be created.Optional"pls-<LB frontend config name>" Group nameString specifying the name of the Resource Group where the PLS resource will be createdOptionalMC_ resource<Subnet name>String indicating the subnet to which the PLS will be deployed. This subnet must exist in the same VNET as the backend pool. PLS NAT IPs are allocated within this subnet.OptionalIf, this ILB subnet is used. Otherwise, the default subnet from config file is used.[1-8]Total number of private NAT IPs to allocate.Optional1" ..."A space separated list of static IPv4 IPs to be allocated. (IPv6 is not supported right now.) Total number of IPs should not be greater than the ip count specified in If there are fewer IPs specified, the rest are dynamically allocated. The first IP in the list is set as Primary.OptionalAll IPs are dynamically allocated."fqdn1 fqdn2"A space separated list of fqdns associated with the PLS.Optional[]"true" or "false"Boolean indicating whether the TCP PROXY protocol should be enabled on the PLS to pass through connection information, including the link ID and source IP address. Note that the backend service MUST support the PROXY protocol or the connections will fail.Optionalfalse"sub1 sub2 sub3 … subN" or "*"A space separated list of Azure subscription ids for which the private link service is visible. Use "*" to expose the PLS to all subs (Least restrictive).OptionalEmpty list [] indicating role-based access control only: This private link service will only be available to individuals with role-based access control permissions within your directory. (Most restrictive)"sub1 sub2 sub3 … subN"A space separated list of Azure subscription ids. This allows PE connection requests from the subscriptions listed to the PLS to be automatically approved.Optional[]

For more details about each configuration, please refer to Azure Private Link Service Documentation.

Design Details

Creating managed PrivateLinkService

When a LoadBalancer typed service is created without the annotations, or field Service.Spec.LoadBalancerIP set, an LB frontend IP configuration is created with a dynamically generated IP. If the service has the annotation or set, an existing LB frontend IP configuration may be reused if one exists; otherwise a static configuration is created with the specified IP. When a service is created with annotation set to true or updated later with the annotation added, a PLS resource attached to the LB frontend is created in the default resource group or the resource group user set in config file with key PrivateLinkServiceResourceGroup.

The Kubernetes service creating the PLS is assigned as the owner of the resource. Azure cloud provider tags the PLS with cluster name and service name kubernetes-owner-service: <namespace>/<service name>. Only the owner service can later update the properties of the PLS resource.

If there’s a managed PLS already created for the LB frontend, the same PLS is reused automatically since each LB frontend can be referenced by only one PLS. If the LB frontend is attached to a user defined PLS, service creation should fail with proper error logged.

For now, Azure cloud provider does not manage any Private Link Endpoint resources. Once a PLS is created, users can create their own PEs to connect to the PLS.

Deleting managed PrivateLinkService

Once a PLS is created, it shares the lifetime of the LB frontend IP configuration and is deleted only when its corresponding LB frontend gets deleted. As a result, a PLS may still exist even when its owner service is deleted. This is out of the consideration that multiple Kubernetes services can share the same LB frontend IP configuration and thus share the PLS automatically. More details are discussed in next section.

If there are active PE connections to the PLS, all connections are removed and the PEs become obsolete. Users are responsible for cleaning up the PE resources.

Sharing managed PrivateLinkService

Multiple Kubernetes services can share the same LB frontend by specifying the same annotations, or field Service.Spec.LoadBalancerIP (for more details, please refer to Multiple Services Sharing One IP Address). Once a PLS is attached to the LB frontend, these services automatically share the PLS. Users can access these services via the same PE but different ports.

Azure cloud provider tags the service creating the PLS as the owner (kubernetes-owner-service: <namespace>/<service name>) and only allows that service to update the configurations of the PLS. If the owner service is deleted or if user wants some other service to take control, user can modify the tag value to a new service in <namespace>/<service name> pattern.

PLS is only automatically deleted when the LB frontend IP configuration is deleted. One can delete a service while preserving the PLS by creating a temporary service referring to the same LB frontend.

Managed PrivateLinkService Creation example

Below we provide an example for creating a Kubernetes service object with Azure ILB and PLS created:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
  name: myService
  annotations: "true" # Use an internal LB with PLS "true" myServicePLS pls-subnet "1" # Must be available in pls-subnet "fqdn1 fqdn2" "false" "*" "subId1"
  type: LoadBalancer
    app: myApp
    - name: myAppPort
      protocol: TCP
      port: 80
      targetPort: 80


  • PLS does not support basic Load Balancer or IP-based Load Balancer.
  • PLS connectivity is broken with Azure external Standard Load Balancer and floating ip enabled (default). To use managed private link service, users can either create an internal service by setting annotation to true or disable floating ip by setting annotation to true (more details here).
  • Due to limitation of kubernetes#95555, when the service’s externalTrafficPolicy set to Local, PLS need to use a different subnet from Pod’s subnet. If the same subnet is required, then the service should use Cluster externalTrafficPolicy.
  • PLS only works with IPv4 and cannot be deployed to an SLB with IPv6 frontend ipConfigurations. In dual-stack clusters, users cannot create a service with PLS if there’s existing IPv6 service deployed on the same load balancer.
  • For other limitations, please check Azure Private Link Service Doc.