Configuring the Amazon VPC CNI plugin for Kubernetes to use IAM roles for service accounts - Amazon EKS
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Configuring the Amazon VPC CNI plugin for Kubernetes to use IAM roles for service accounts

The Amazon VPC CNI plugin for Kubernetes is the networking plugin for pod networking in Amazon EKS clusters. The plugin is responsible for allocating VPC IP addresses to Kubernetes nodes and configuring the necessary networking for pods on each node. The plugin:

  • Requires Amazon Identity and Access Management (IAM) permissions. The permissions are specified in the AmazonEKS_CNI_Policy Amazon managed policy. You can attach the policy to the Amazon EKS node IAM role, or to a separate IAM role. We recommend that you assign it to a separate role, as detailed in this topic.

  • Creates and is configured to use a Kubernetes service account named aws-node when it's deployed. The service account is bound to a Kubernetes clusterrole named aws-node, which is assigned the required Kubernetes permissions.


The pods for the Amazon VPC CNI plugin for Kubernetes have access to the permissions assigned to the Amazon EKS node IAM role, unless you block access to IMDS. For more information, see Restrict access to the instance profile assigned to the worker node.


Step 1: Create the Amazon VPC CNI plugin for Kubernetes IAM role

To create the IAM role

  1. Create the IAM role. You can use eksctl or kubectl and the Amazon CLI to create your IAM role.


    Create an IAM role and attach the IAM policy to the role with the command that matches the IP family of your cluster. The command creates and deploys an Amazon CloudFormation stack that creates an IAM role, attaches the policy that you specify to it, and annotates the existing aws-node Kubernetes service account with the ARN of the IAM role that is created.

    • Replace my-cluster with your own value.

      eksctl create iamserviceaccount \ --name aws-node \ --namespace kube-system \ --cluster my-cluster \ --role-name "AmazonEKSVPCCNIRole" \ --attach-policy-arn arn:aws-cn:iam::aws:policy/AmazonEKS_CNI_Policy \ --override-existing-serviceaccounts \ --approve
    kubectl and the Amazon CLI
    1. View your cluster's OIDC provider URL.

      aws eks describe-cluster --name my-cluster --query "cluster.identity.oidc.issuer" --output text

      The example output is as follows.

      If no output is returned, then you must create an IAM OIDC provider for your cluster.

    2. Copy the following contents to a file named vpc-cni-trust-policy.json. Replace 111122223333 with your account ID and EXAMPLED539D4633E53DE1B71EXAMPLE with the output returned in the previous step. Replace region-code with the Amazon Web Services Region that your cluster is in.

      { "Version": "2012-10-17", "Statement": [ { "Effect": "Allow", "Principal": { "Federated": "arn:aws-cn:iam::111122223333:oidc-provider/" }, "Action": "sts:AssumeRoleWithWebIdentity", "Condition": { "StringEquals": { "": "", "": "system:serviceaccount:kube-system:aws-node" } } } ] }
    3. Create the role. You can replace AmazonEKSVPCCNIRole with any name that you choose.

      aws iam create-role \ --role-name AmazonEKSVPCCNIRole \ --assume-role-policy-document file://"vpc-cni-trust-policy.json"
    4. Attach the required IAM policy to the role.

      • IPv4

        aws iam attach-role-policy \ --policy-arn arn:aws-cn:iam::aws:policy/AmazonEKS_CNI_Policy \ --role-name AmazonEKSVPCCNIRole
    5. Run the following command to annotate the aws-node service account with the ARN of the IAM role that you created previously. Replace the example values with your own values.

      kubectl annotate serviceaccount \ -n kube-system aws-node \
  2. (Optional) Configure the Amazon Security Token Service endpoint type used by your Kubernetes service account. For more information, see Configuring the Amazon Security Token Service endpoint for a service account.

Step 2: Re-deploy Amazon VPC CNI plugin for Kubernetes pods

  1. Delete and re-create any existing pods that are associated with the service account to apply the credential environment variables. The annotation is not applied to pods that are currently running without the annotation. The following command deletes the existing aws-node DaemonSet pods and deploys them with the service account annotation.

    kubectl delete pods -n kube-system -l k8s-app=aws-node
  2. Confirm that the pods all restarted.

    kubectl get pods -n kube-system -l k8s-app=aws-node
  3. Describe one of the pods and verify that the AWS_WEB_IDENTITY_TOKEN_FILE and AWS_ROLE_ARN environment variables exist. Replace 9rgzw with the name of one of your pods returned in the output of the previous step.

    kubectl exec -n kube-system aws-node-9rgzw -c aws-node -- env | grep AWS

    The example output is as follows.

    ... AWS_WEB_IDENTITY_TOKEN_FILE=/var/run/secrets/ ... AWS_ROLE_ARN=arn:aws-cn:iam::111122223333:role/AmazonEKSVPCCNIRole ...

    If your pod is using the Amazon Web Services Regional endpoint, then the following line is also returned in the previous output.


Step 3: Remove the CNI policy from the node IAM role

If your Amazon EKS node IAM role currently has the AmazonEKS_CNI_Policy IAM policyattached to it, and you've created a separate IAM role, attached the policy to it instead, and assigned it to the aws-node Kubernetes service account, then we recommend that you remove the policy from your node role with the the Amazon CLI command that matches the IP family of your cluster. Replace AmazonEKSNodeRole with the name of your node role.

  • IPv4

    aws iam detach-role-policy --role-name AmazonEKSNodeRole --policy-arn arn:aws-cn:iam::aws:policy/AmazonEKS_CNI_Policy

Create IAM policy for clusters that use the IPv6 family


IPv6 isn't available in this Amazon Web Services Region.

If you created a 1.21 or later cluster that uses the IPv6 family and the cluster has version 1.10.1 or later of the Amazon VPC CNI plugin for Kubernetes add-on configured, then you need to create an IAM policy that you can assign to an IAM role. If you have an existing 1.21 or later cluster that you didn't configure with the IPv6 family when you created it, then to use IPv6, you must create a new cluster. For more information about using IPv6 with your cluster, see Tutorial: Assigning IPv6 addresses to pods and services.

  1. Copy the following text and save it to a file named vpc-cni-ipv6-policy.json.

    { "Version": "2012-10-17", "Statement": [ { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "ec2:AssignIpv6Addresses", "ec2:DescribeInstances", "ec2:DescribeTags", "ec2:DescribeNetworkInterfaces", "ec2:DescribeInstanceTypes" ], "Resource": "*" }, { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "ec2:CreateTags" ], "Resource": [ "arn:aws:ec2:*:*:network-interface/*" ] } ] }
  2. Create the IAM policy.

    aws iam create-policy --policy-name AmazonEKS_CNI_IPv6_Policy --policy-document file://vpc-cni-ipv6-policy.json