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Version: 22.2

Configuring Redpanda SASL on Kubernetes

Simple Authentication and Security Layer (SASL) is a method for adding authentication support to connection-based protocols. When using the Redpanda Helm chart, SASL provides authentication between the server and client. To encrypt communication, use TLS encryption. You must use TLS encryption to have secure authentication using SASL.


This page uses the recommended redpanda Helm chart for configuring SASL. For information about using the redpanda-operator Helm chart (supported for backward compatibility), see Redpanda Operator.

Enable SASL

Create a YAML file containing the values to override from the defaults:


enabled: true
- name: admin
password: changeme

In this YAML document, users is a list of superusers.

During install or upgrade, enable SASL configuration:

helm upgrade --install redpanda redpanda/redpanda -n redpanda --create-namespace \
--values sasl_enable.yaml

Create users

Create users (not superusers) and set passwords for the new users. By default, these users don't have any permissions on the cluster.


As a security best practice, superusers should not run commands on the cluster. Instead, have these additional or new users interact with the cluster.

To create the user myuser with a password changethispassword, run:

kubectl exec -n redpanda -c redpanda redpanda-0 -- \
rpk acl user create myuser -p changethispassword

Grant permissions

The superuser can grant permissions to additional users through access control lists (ACLs). For details on how ACLs function in Redpanda, see rpk acl.

  1. Use the superuser to grant create and describe permissions to another user for the cluster. Edit the rpk acl create command to grant permissions to specific users or groups:

    kubectl exec -n redpanda -c redpanda redpanda-0 -- \
    rpk acl create --allow-principal User:myuser \
    --operation create,describe \
    --cluster \
    --user admin --password changeme --sasl-mechanism SCRAM-SHA-256
  2. Optionally, you can use the superuser to grant permissions to a new user for a topic. The following command grants describe privileges to a topic:

    kubectl exec -n redpanda -c redpanda redpanda-0 -- \
    rpk acl create --allow-principal User:myuser \
    --operation describe \
    --topic myfirsttopic \
    --user admin --password changeme --sasl-mechanism SCRAM-SHA-256

If a user has describe privileges on a cluster, it does not mean that user is automatically granted describe privileges on topics.

Use rpk to interact with Redpanda

Connect to Redpanda with the additional (non-superuser) user and start working with the cluster.

To create a topic:

kubectl exec -n redpanda -c redpanda redpanda-0 -- \
rpk topic create myfirsttopic \
--user myuser --password changethispassword --sasl-mechanism SCRAM-SHA-256

To describe the topic:

kubectl exec -n redpanda -c redpanda <cluster_name>-0 -- \
rpk topic describe myfirsttopic \
--user myuser --password changethispassword --sasl-mechanism SCRAM-SHA-256