Deploy a Redpanda Cluster in Azure Kubernetes Service

Deploy a secure Redpanda cluster and Redpanda Console in Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) using the Helm chart. After you deploy, use rpk both as an internal client and an external client to interact with your Redpanda cluster from the command line.

The Redpanda cluster has the following security features:

  • SASL for authenticating users' connections.

  • TLS with self-signed certificates for secure communication between the cluster and clients.

Looking for the Redpanda Operator?

If you’re an existing user of the Redpanda Operator, see the Redpanda Operator documentation.

The Redpanda Operator is for experienced users. The Redpanda Operator was built for Redpanda Cloud and has unique features and workflows for that specific use case. Redpanda Data recommends the Redpanda Helm chart for new users and for those who are getting started.


Before you begin, you must have the following:

  • You must satisfy the prerequisites listed in the AKS quickstart to get access to the Azure CLI.

  • kubectl. Minimum required Kubernetes version: 1.21

    kubectl version --short --client
  • Helm. Minimum required Helm version: 3.6.0

    helm version

Create an AKS cluster

In this step, you create three worker nodes: one for each Redpanda broker.

You also configure your AKS cluster to give each worker node a public IP address, and allow external access to the node ports on which the Redpanda deployment will be exposed. You’ll use these node ports in later steps to configure external access to your Redpanda cluster.

The Helm chart configures podAntiAffinity rules to make sure that only one Redpanda broker Pod is scheduled on each worker node. For more information, see Kubernetes Cluster Requirements.
  1. Create a resource group for Redpanda:

    az group create --name redpandaResourceGroup --location eastus
  2. Create an AKS cluster with three worker nodes (one for each Redpanda broker):

    az aks create -g redpandaResourceGroup -n redpanda \
      --node-count 3 \
      --generate-ssh-keys \
    For all available options, see the AKS documentation.
  3. Get your subscription ID:

    export SUBSCRIPTION_ID=$(az account show --query id --output tsv)
  4. Set up a connection to your AKS cluster:

    az account set --subscription $SUBSCRIPTION_ID
    az aks get-credentials --resource-group redpandaResourceGroup --name redpanda
  5. Open the Azure Portal, search for 'Network security groups', and click the name of the network security group in the MC_redpandaResourceGroup_redpanda_eastus resource group.

  6. Add an inbound security rule with the following values:

    • Destination port ranges:

    • Name


Deploy Redpanda and Redpanda Console

In this step, you deploy Redpanda with SASL authentication and self-signed TLS certificates. Redpanda Console is included as a subchart in the Redpanda Helm chart.

  1. Install cert-manager using Helm:

    helm repo add jetstack
    helm repo update
    helm install cert-manager jetstack/cert-manager \
      --set installCRDs=true \
      --namespace cert-manager  \

    TLS is enabled by default. The Redpanda Helm chart uses cert-manager to manage TLS certificates by default.

  2. Install Redpanda with SASL enabled:

    helm repo add redpanda
    export DOMAIN=customredpandadomain.local && \
    helm install redpanda redpanda/redpanda --namespace redpanda --create-namespace \
      --set auth.sasl.enabled=true \
      --set "auth.sasl.users[0].name=superuser" \
      --set "auth.sasl.users[0].password=secretpassword" \
      --set external.domain=${DOMAIN} --wait

    Here, you create a superuser called superuser that can grant permissions to new users in your cluster using access control lists (ACLs).

    The installation displays some tips for getting started.

    If the installation is taking a long time, see [Troubleshooting].

  3. Verify that each Redpanda broker is scheduled on only one Kubernetes node:

    kubectl get pod -n redpanda  \
    -o=custom-columns=NODE:.spec.nodeName, -l \

    Example output:

    example-worker3   redpanda-0
    example-worker2   redpanda-1
    example-worker    redpanda-2

Create a user

In this step, you use rpk to create a new user. Then, you authenticate to Redpanda with the superuser to grant permissions to the new user. You’ll authenticate to Redpanda with this new user to create a topic in the next steps.

As a security best practice, you should use the superuser only to grant permissions to new users through ACLs. Never delete the superuser. You need the superuser to grant permissions to new users.
  1. Create a new user called redpanda-twitch-account with the password changethispassword:

    kubectl -n redpanda exec -ti redpanda-0 -c redpanda -- \
    rpk acl user create redpanda-twitch-account \
    -p changethispassword \
    --admin-api-tls-enabled \
    --admin-api-tls-truststore /etc/tls/certs/default/ca.crt \
    --api-urls redpanda-0.redpanda.redpanda.svc.cluster.local.:9644,redpanda-1.redpanda.redpanda.svc.cluster.local.:9644,redpanda-2.redpanda.redpanda.svc.cluster.local.:9644

    Example output:

    Created user "redpanda-twitch-account".
  2. Use the superuser to grant the redpanda-twitch-account user permission to execute all operations only for a topic called twitch_chat.

    kubectl exec -n redpanda -c redpanda redpanda-0 -- \
      rpk acl create --allow-principal User:redpanda-twitch-account \
      --operation all \
      --topic twitch_chat \
      --tls-enabled \
      --tls-truststore /etc/tls/certs/default/ca.crt \
      --user=superuser --password=secretpassword --sasl-mechanism SCRAM-SHA-512 \
      --brokers redpanda-0.redpanda.redpanda.svc.cluster.local:9093

    Example output:

    User:redpanda TOPIC          twitch_chat     ALL        ALLOW

Start streaming

In this step, you authenticate to Redpanda with the redpanda-twitch-account user to create a topic called twitch_chat. This topic is the only one that the redpanda-twitch-account user has permission to access. Then, you produce messages to the topic, and consume messages from it.

  1. Create an alias to simplify the rpk commands:

    alias rpk-topic="kubectl -n redpanda exec -i -t redpanda-0 -c redpanda -- rpk topic --brokers redpanda-0.redpanda.redpanda.svc.cluster.local.:9093,redpanda-1.redpanda.redpanda.svc.cluster.local.:9093,redpanda-2.redpanda.redpanda.svc.cluster.local.:9093 --tls-truststore /etc/tls/certs/default/ca.crt --tls-enabled --user=redpanda-twitch-account --password=changethispassword --sasl-mechanism SCRAM-SHA-256"
  2. Create a topic called twitch_chat:

    rpk-topic create twitch_chat

    Example output:

    TOPIC STATUS twitch_chat OK
  3. Describe the topic:

    rpk-topic describe twitch_chat

    Example output:

    NAME        twitch_chat
    REPLICAS    1
    KEY                           VALUE       SOURCE
    cleanup.policy                delete      DYNAMIC_TOPIC_CONFIG
    compression.type              producer    DEFAULT_CONFIG
    max.message.bytes             1048576     DEFAULT_CONFIG
    message.timestamp.type        CreateTime  DEFAULT_CONFIG
    redpanda.remote.delete        true        DEFAULT_CONFIG          false       DEFAULT_CONFIG
    redpanda.remote.write         false       DEFAULT_CONFIG
    retention.bytes               -1          DEFAULT_CONFIG  -1          DEFAULT_CONFIG     86400000    DEFAULT_CONFIG                  604800000   DEFAULT_CONFIG
    segment.bytes                 134217728   DEFAULT_CONFIG                    1209600000  DEFAULT_CONFIG
  4. Produce a message to the topic:

    rpk-topic produce twitch_chat
  5. Type a message, then press Enter:

    Pandas are fabulous!

    Example output:

    Produced to partition 0 at offset 0 with timestamp 1663282629789.
  6. Press Ctrl+C to finish producing messages to the topic.

  7. Consume one message from the topic:

    rpk-topic consume twitch_chat --num 1

    Example output:

      "topic": "twitch_chat",
      "value": "Pandas are fabulous!",
      "timestamp": 1663282629789,
      "partition": 0,
      "offset": 0

Explore your topic in Redpanda Console

Redpanda Console is a developer-friendly web UI for managing and debugging your Redpanda cluster and your applications.

In this step, you use port-forwarding to access Redpanda Console on your local network.

Because you’re using the Community Edition of Redpanda Console, you should not expose Redpanda Console outside your local network. The Community Edition of Redpanda Console does not provide authentication, and it connects to the Redpanda cluster as superuser. To use the Enterprise Edition, you need a license key, see Redpanda Licensing.
  1. Expose Redpanda Console to your localhost:

    kubectl -n redpanda port-forward svc/redpanda-console 8080:8080

    The kubectl port-forward command actively runs in the command-line window. To execute other commands while the command is running, open another command-line window.

  2. Open Redpanda Console on http://localhost:8080.

    All your Redpanda brokers are listed along with their IP addresses and IDs.

  3. Go to Topics > twitch_chat.

    The message that you produced to the topic is displayed along with some other details about the topic.

  4. Press Ctrl+C in the command-line to stop the port-forwarding process.

Configure external access to Redpanda

If you want to connect to the Redpanda cluster with external clients, Redpanda brokers must advertise an externally accessible address that external clients can connect to. External clients are common in Internet of Things (IoT) environments, or if you use external services that do not implement VPC peering in your network.

When you created the cluster, you set the external.domain configuration to customredpandadomain.local, which means that your Redpanda brokers are advertising the following addresses:

  • redpanda-0.customredpandadomain.local

  • redpanda-1.customredpandadomain.local

  • redpanda-2.customredpandadomain.local

To access your Redpanda brokers externally, you can map your worker nodes' IP addresses to these domains.

IP addresses can change. If the IP addresses of your worker nodes change, you must update your /etc/hosts file with the new mappings.

In a production environment, it’s best practice to use ExternalDNS to manage DNS records for your brokers. See Use ExternalDNS for external access.

  1. Add mappings in your /etc/hosts file between your worker nodes' IP addresses and their custom domain names:

    sudo true && kubectl -n redpanda get endpoints,node -A -o go-template='{{ range $_ := .items }}{{ if and (eq .kind "Endpoints") (eq "redpanda-external") }}{{ range $_ := (index .subsets 0).addresses }}{{ $nodeName := .nodeName }}{{ $podName := }}{{ range $node := $.items }}{{ if and (eq .kind "Node") (eq $nodeName) }}{{ range $_ := .status.addresses }}{{ if eq .type "ExternalIP" }}{{ .address }} {{ $podName }}.${DOMAIN}{{ "\n" }}{{ end }}{{ end }}{{ end }}{{ end }}{{ end }}{{ end }}{{ end }}' | envsubst | sudo tee -a /etc/hosts
    /etc/hosts redpanda-0.customredpandadomain.local redpanda-1.customredpandadomain.local redpanda-2.customredpandadomain.local
  2. Save the root certificate authority (CA) to your local file system outside Kubernetes:

    kubectl -n redpanda get secret redpanda-default-root-certificate -o go-template='{{ index .data "ca.crt" | base64decode }}' > ca.crt
  3. Install rpk on your local machine, not on a Pod:

    • Linux

    • macOS

    1. Download the rpk archive for Linux, and make sure the version matches your Redpanda version.

      • To download the latest version of rpk:

        curl -LO \
      • To download a version other than the latest:

        curl -LO \<version>/
    2. Ensure that you have the folder ~/.local/bin:

      mkdir -p ~/.local/bin
    3. Add it to your $PATH:

      export PATH="~/.local/bin:$PATH"
    4. Unzip the rpk files to your ~/.local/bin/ directory:

      unzip -d ~/.local/bin/
    5. Run rpk version to display the version of the rpk binary:

      rpk version
      23.1.13 (rev 9eefb907c)
    1. If you don’t have Homebrew installed, install it.

    2. Install rpk:

      brew install redpanda-data/tap/redpanda
    3. Run rpk version to display the version of the rpk binary:

      rpk version
      23.1.13 (rev 9eefb907c)
      This method installs the latest version of rpk, which is supported only with the latest version of Redpanda.
  4. Set the REDPANDA_BROKERS environment variable to the custom domains of your Redpanda brokers:

    export REDPANDA_BROKERS=redpanda-0.customredpandadomain.local:31092,redpanda-1.customredpandadomain.local:31092,redpanda-2.customredpandadomain.local:31092
    31092 is the Kafka API port that’s exposed by the default NodePort Service.
  5. Describe the topic:

    rpk topic describe twitch_chat --tls-enabled --tls-truststore=ca.crt --user=redpanda-twitch-account --password=changethispassword --sasl-mechanism SCRAM-SHA-256

    Example output:

    NAME        twitch_chat
    REPLICAS    1
    KEY                     VALUE                          SOURCE
    cleanup.policy          delete                         DYNAMIC_TOPIC_CONFIG
    compression.type        producer                       DEFAULT_CONFIG
    message.timestamp.type  CreateTime                     DEFAULT_CONFIG
    partition_count         1                              DYNAMIC_TOPIC_CONFIG
    redpanda.datapolicy     function_name:  script_name:   DEFAULT_CONFIG    false                          DEFAULT_CONFIG
    redpanda.remote.write   false                          DEFAULT_CONFIG
    replication_factor      1                              DYNAMIC_TOPIC_CONFIG
    retention.bytes         -1                             DEFAULT_CONFIG            604800000                      DEFAULT_CONFIG
    segment.bytes           1073741824                     DEFAULT_CONFIG

Explore the default Kubernetes components

By default, the Redpanda Helm chart deploys the following Kubernetes components:


Redpanda is a stateful application. Each Redpanda broker needs to store its own state (topic partitions) in its own storage volume. As a result, the Helm chart deploys a StatefulSet to manage the Pods in which the Redpanda brokers are running.

kubectl get statefulset -n redpanda

Example output:

redpanda   3/3     3m11s

StatefulSets ensure that the state associated with a particular Pod replica is always the same, no matter how often the Pod is recreated. Each Pod is also given a unique ordinal number in its name such as redpanda-0. A Pod with a particular ordinal number is always associated with a PersistentVolumeClaim with the same number. When a Pod in the StatefulSet is deleted and recreated, it is given the same ordinal number and so it mounts the same storage volume as the deleted Pod that it replaced.

kubectl get pod -n redpanda

Example output:

NAME                              READY   STATUS      RESTARTS        AGE
redpanda-0                        1/1     Running     0               6m9s
redpanda-1                        1/1     Running     0               6m9s
redpanda-2                        1/1     Running     0               6m9s
redpanda-console-5ff45cdb9b-6z2vs 1/1     Running     0               5m
redpanda-configuration-smqv7      0/1     Completed   0               6m9s
The redpanda-configuration Job updates the Redpanda runtime configuration.


Redpanda brokers must be able to store their data on disk. By default, the Helm chart uses the default StorageClass in the Kubernetes cluster to create a PersistentVolumeClaim for each Pod. The default StorageClass in your Kubernetes cluster depends on the Kubernetes platform that you are using.

kubectl get persistentvolumeclaims -n redpanda

Example output:

NAME                 STATUS   VOLUME                                     CAPACITY   ACCESS MODES   STORAGECLASS   AGE
datadir-redpanda-0   Bound    pvc-3311ade3-de84-4027-80c6-3d8347302962   20Gi       RWO            standard       75s
datadir-redpanda-1   Bound    pvc-4ea8bc03-89a6-41e4-b985-99f074995f08   20Gi       RWO            standard       75s
datadir-redpanda-2   Bound    pvc-45c3555f-43bc-48c2-b209-c284c8091c45   20Gi       RWO            standard       75s


The clients writing to or reading from a given partition have to connect directly to the leader broker that hosts the partition. As a result, clients needs to be able to connect directly to each Pod. To allow internal and external clients to connect to each Pod that hosts a Redpanda broker, the Helm chart configures two Services:

kubectl get service -n redpanda

Example output:

NAME                TYPE        CLUSTER-IP      EXTERNAL-IP   PORT(S)                                                       AGE
redpanda            ClusterIP   None            <none>        <none>                                                        5m37s
redpanda-console    ClusterIP    <none>        8080                                                          5m
redpanda-external   NodePort   <none>        9644:31644/TCP,9094:31092/TCP,8083:30082/TCP,8080:30081/TCP   5m37s

Headless ClusterIP Service

The headless Service associated with a StatefulSet gives the Pods their network identity in the form of a fully qualified domain name (FQDN). Both Redpanda brokers in the same Redpanda cluster and clients within the same Kubernetes cluster use this FQDN to communicate with each other.

An important requirement of distributed applications such as Redpanda is peer discovery: The ability for each broker to find other brokers in the same cluster. When each Pod is rolled out, its seed_servers field is updated with the FQDN of each Pod in the cluster so that they can discover each other.

kubectl -n redpanda exec redpanda-0 -c redpanda -- cat etc/redpanda/redpanda.yaml
  data_directory: /var/lib/redpanda/data
  empty_seed_starts_cluster: false
  - host:
      address: redpanda-0.redpanda.redpanda.svc.cluster.local.
      port: 33145
  - host:
      address: redpanda-1.redpanda.redpanda.svc.cluster.local.
      port: 33145
  - host:
      address: redpanda-2.redpanda.redpanda.svc.cluster.local.
      port: 33145

NodePort Service

External access is made available by a NodePort service that opens the following ports by default for the listeners:

Node port Pod port Listener



Schema Registry



HTTP Proxy



Kafka API



Admin API

TLS Certificates

By default, TLS is enabled in the Redpanda Helm chart. The Helm chart uses cert-manager to generate two Certificate resources that provide Redpanda with self-signed certificates:

  • The redpanda-default-cert Certificate is the TLS certificate that is used by all listeners.

  • The redpanda-default-root-certificate Certificate is the root certificate authority for the TLS certificates.

kubectl get certificate -n redpanda
NAME                                 READY   SECRET                               AGE
redpanda-default-cert                True    redpanda-default-cert                10m
redpanda-default-root-certificate    True    redpanda-default-root-certificate    10m


Before troubleshooting your cluster, make sure that you have all the prerequisites.

For troubleshooting steps, see Troubleshoot Redpanda in Kubernetes.

Next steps

When you’re ready to use a registered domain, make sure to remove your entries from the /etc/hosts file, and see Configure External Access through a NodePort Service

Suggested reading