Skip to content

AKS clusters should use Availability zones in supported regions#

Reliability · Azure Kubernetes Service · Rule · 2021_09 · Important

AKS clusters deployed with virtual machine scale sets should use availability zones in supported regions for high availability.


AKS clusters using availability zones improve reliability and ensure availability during failure scenarios affecting a data center within a region. Nodes in one availability zone are physically separated from nodes defined in another availability zone. By spreading node pools across multiple zones, nodes in one node pool will continue running even if another zone has gone down.


Consider using availability zones for AKS clusters deployed with virtual machine scale sets.


This rule applies when analyzing resources deployed to Azure using pre-flight and in-flight data.

This rule fails when "availabilityZones" is null, [] or not set when the AKS cluster is deployed to a virtual machine scale set and there are supported availability zones for the given region.

Configure AZURE_AKS_ADDITIONAL_REGION_AVAILABILITY_ZONE_LIST to set additional availability zones that need to be supported which are not in the existing providers for namespace Microsoft.Compute and resource type virtualMachineScaleSets.



Configure with Azure template#

To set availability zones for an AKS cluster:

  • Set properties.agentPoolProfiles[*].availabilityZones to any or all of ["1", "2", "3"].
  • Set properties.agentPoolProfiles[*].type to VirtualMachineScaleSets.

For example:

Azure Template snippet
    "comments": "Azure Kubernetes Cluster",
    "apiVersion": "2020-12-01",
    "dependsOn": [
        "[resourceId('Microsoft.ManagedIdentity/userAssignedIdentities', parameters('identityName'))]"
    "type": "Microsoft.ContainerService/managedClusters",
    "location": "[parameters('location')]",
    "name": "[parameters('clusterName')]",
    "identity": {
        "type": "UserAssigned",
        "userAssignedIdentities": {
            "[resourceId('Microsoft.ManagedIdentity/userAssignedIdentities', parameters('identityName'))]": {}
    "properties": {
        "kubernetesVersion": "[parameters('kubernetesVersion')]",
        "disableLocalAccounts": true,
        "enableRBAC": true,
        "dnsPrefix": "[parameters('dnsPrefix')]",
        "agentPoolProfiles": [
                "name": "system",
                "osDiskSizeGB": 32,
                "count": 3,
                "minCount": 3,
                "maxCount": 10,
                "enableAutoScaling": true,
                "maxPods": 50,
                "vmSize": "Standard_D2s_v3",
                "osType": "Linux",
                "type": "VirtualMachineScaleSets",
                "vnetSubnetID": "[variables('clusterSubnetId')]",
                "mode": "System",
                "osDiskType": "Ephemeral",
                "scaleSetPriority": "Regular",
                "availabilityZones": [
        "aadProfile": {
            "managed": true,
            "enableAzureRBAC": true,
            "adminGroupObjectIDs": "[parameters('clusterAdmins')]",
            "tenantID": "[subscription().tenantId]"
        "networkProfile": {
            "networkPlugin": "azure",
            "networkPolicy": "azure",
            "loadBalancerSku": "Standard",
            "serviceCidr": "",
            "dnsServiceIP": "",
            "dockerBridgeCidr": ""
        "autoUpgradeProfile": {
            "upgradeChannel": "stable"
        "addonProfiles": {
            "azurepolicy": {
                "enabled": true,
                "config": {
                    "version": "v2"
            "omsagent": {
                "enabled": true,
                "config": {
                    "logAnalyticsWorkspaceResourceID": "[parameters('workspaceId')]"
            "kubeDashboard": {
                "enabled": false

Configure with Azure CLI#

Create AKS Cluster in Zone 1, 2 and 3#

Azure CLI snippet
az aks create \
  --resource-group '<resource_group>' \
  --name '<cluster_name>' \
  --generate-ssh-keys \
  --vm-set-type VirtualMachineScaleSets \
  --load-balancer-sku standard \
  --node-count '<node_count>' \
  --zones 1 2 3