Mastering AKS Troubleshooting #2: VNet cross-connectivity and Port resolution


This post is the second in a three-part series on troubleshooting common networking issues with Azure Kubernetes (AKS), a managed container orchestration service. Scenarios in this post were the result of an intensive one-day bootcamp specifically targeting advanced AKS networking triage and troubleshooting scenarios. It offers comprehensive guidance on how to set up a fully functional environment and presents various fault scenarios that participants can using familiar tools.

The previous post addressed connectivity and DNS issues. This article specifically covers endpoint connectivity issues across virtual networks and port configuration problems for services and pods.


To set up AKS, ensure you have the necessary Azure account and subscription permissions, and PowerShell available. Follow instructions in this Github link for AKS and scenario setup.  Familiarize yourself with troubleshooting inbound and outbound networking scenarios in AKS. The AKS environment in the figure uses a custom VNet and NSG attached to its subnet, with AKS creating its own NSG attached to the Nodepool's Interface. Implicit AKS NSG changes are automatically added, but explicit addition is necessary to apply them to the custom Subnet NSG.


Scenario 3: Endpoint Connectivity issues across Virtual Networks

Objective: The goal of this exercise is to a scenario where pods fail to connect to endpoints in other virtual networks and to resolve connectivity issues.

Layout: The existing AKS VNet will be joined by a new VNet containing a Linux host virtual machine. A Virtual (VNet) peering with a Private Endpoint (PE) will connect the two VNet's and provide connectivity between the webserver running on the and applications running on AKS.


Set up the environment

  1. Setup up AKS as outlined in this script.
  2. Create and switch to the newly created namespace
kubectl create ns student
kubectl config set-context --current --namespace=student
# Verify current namespace
kubectl config view --minify --output 'jsonpath={..namespace}'
  1. Clone solutions Github link and change directory to Lab3 > cd Lab3

Step 1: Create VM VNet and Peer with AKS VNet

Steps below will install , VM_VNet and Nginx. They will create NSG and attach to Subnet and Peering will connect the 2 VNets. Values required for the below variables can be found in AKS MC (Managed Cluster) Resource Group as seen in figure.


# Don't replace. Use as-is if changes were not made to earlier configuration file in AKS setup

Step 2: Setup Test pod and verify that the VM web server is accessible

# Create test-pod
kubectl run test-pod --image=nginx --port=80 --restart=Never
kubectl exec -it test-pod -- bash
# Run below on test-pod bash shell
apt-get update -y
apt-get install ping -y
# End-to-End test: Curl should return HTML page
kubectl exec -it test-pod -- curl -m 5 $vm_ip

Step 3: Break Networking

From Lab3, run broken1.ps1
cd Lab3; .broken1.ps1

Step 4: Troubleshoot connectivity issue

We will assume the VM Web Server is functional and web application is running. Hence there's no need to SSH and validate.

a. For further testing to verify connectivity is needed, options are to create public VM in same VNet and run curl test.
b. Hosting Bastion VM is another option which should be setup in the VM VNet
c. Associate a newly created Public IP with existing VM instance for external access via public interface.
kubectl exec -it test-pod -- curl -m 5 $vm_ip 
az network nsg rule list -g $resource_group --nsg-name $aks_nsg
az network nsg rule list -g $resource_group --nsg-name $vm_nsg
# From VM NSG, below should return "access": "Deny"
az network nsg rule list -g $resource_group --nsg-name $vm_nsg --query "[?destinationPortRange== '80']" --query "[0].{access:access}"
# Specifically check the "allowForwardedTraffic" and "allowGatewayTransit" values are enabled.
az network vnet peering show --name peerAKStoVM -g $resource_group --vnet-name $aks_vnet
az network vnet peering show --name peerVMtoAKS -g $resource_group --vnet-name $vm_vnet
# Below should return a value of False
az network vnet peering show --name peerVMtoAKS -g $resource_group --vnet-name $vm_vnet --query "{allowForwardedTraffic:allowForwardedTraffic,allowGatewayTransit:allowGatewayTransit}"

Step 5: Restore service

  1. Enable peering on VM VNet
az network vnet peering update -n peerVMtoAKS -g $resource_group --vnet-name $vm_vnet --set allowForwardedTraffic=true allowVirtualNetworkAccess=true
  1. Check curl connectivity which should result in connection timeout after 5s. Issue persists.
kubectl exec -it test-pod -- curl -m 5 $vm_ip 
  1. Remove NSG rule to Allow web traffic from VM Web Server on port 80.
az network nsg rule delete -n DenyPort80Inbound -g $resource_group --nsg-name $vm_nsg

Step 6: Validate connectivity

After 60s, check curl connectivity which should return HTML page from Web Server on hosted VM.

kubectl exec -it test-pod -- curl -m 5 $vm_ip
kubectl exec -it test-pod -- ping $vm_ip      

Step 7: What was in the broken files

Broken1.ps1 was used to

  1. Create a rule on VM NSG to deny access to HTTP traffic
  2. Disable critical peering parameters i.e., Block Traffic Forwarding and Block remote VNet access


Step 8: Cleanup

kubectl delete pod/test-pod
az network vnet peering delete -n peerAKStoVM -g $resource_group --vnet-name $aks_vnet
az network vnet peering delete -n peerVMtoAKS -g $resource_group --vnet-name $vm_vnet
# DETACH VM NSG from VM subnet and DELETE NSG
az network vnet subnet update -n $subnet_name -g $resource_group --vnet-name $vm_vnet -n $subnet_name --network-security-group '""'
az network nsg delete -g $resource_group -n $vm_nsg
# Delete VM, NSG and it VNet
az vm delete --resource-group $resource_group --name $vm_name -y
az network vnet delete --name $vm_vnet --resource-group $resource_group
az network nsg delete -g $resource_group -n $vm_name”NSG”
k delete ns student

Scenario 4: Web Server fails to respond

Objective: The aim of this lab is to identify and resolve an issue where traffic directed through a Load Balancer fails to reach the intended pod. The focus will be on troubleshooting the problem until it is resolved.

Layout: Web Server Pod with Service of type LoadBalancer allowing External IP access. Cluster layout as shown below has NSG applied to AKS subnet, with Policies in effect.



Step 1: Set up the environment.

  1. Setup up AKS as outlined in this script.
  2. Create and switch to the newly created namespace
kubectl create ns student
kubectl config set-context --current --namespace=student
# Verify current namespace
kubectl config view --minify --output 'jsonpath={..namespace}'
  1. Clone solutions Github link and change directory to Lab4 > cd Lab4
  2. Run .working.ps1 in Powershell.

Spec in working.ps1 is seen below. This sets up the Web Server Pod and Service of type Load Balancer. There's an External-IP that points to the web server making it accessible from outside cluster.

$kubectl_apply = @"
apiVersion: v1
kind: ConfigMap
  name: nginx-html
  index.html: |
    Hello from Websvr
apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
  name: websvr
    app: websvr
  - name: websvr
    image: nginx:latest
    - containerPort: 8080
    - name: webcontent
      mountPath: /usr/share/nginx/html/index.html
      subPath: index.html
    - name: webcontent
        name: nginx-html
apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
    app: websvr
  name: websvr-svc
  - port: 80
    protocol: TCP
    targetPort: 8080
    app: websvr
  type: LoadBalancer
$kubectl_apply | kubectl apply -f -
# svc similar to: k expose pod nginx --name= websvr-svc --port=80 --target-port=8080 --type LoadBalancer
  1. Ensure Websvr is Running. Ensure LB service has an External IP assigned.
kubectl get po -l app=websvr -o wide
kubectl get svc -l app=websvr -o wide
kubectl get node -o wide



Step 2: Create and use a helper pod to troubleshoot.

  1. Create a helper pod and install the required utilities.
kubectl run helper-pod  --image=nginx
k exec -it helper-pod –- bash
# Install below in bash shell
apt-get update -y
apt-get install -y nmap
  1. Make a note of EXTERNAL_IP, CLUSTER_IP, WebsvrPod_IP, Helper_Pod_IP, and Node name.
$EXTERNAL_IP=$(kubectl get svc websvr-svc -o jsonpath="{.status.loadBalancer.ingress[*].ip}")
$CLUSTER_IP=$(kubectl get svc websvr-svc -o jsonpath="{.spec.clusterIP}")
$WebsvrPod_IP=$(kubectl get pod websvr -o jsonpath="{.status.podIP}")
$Helper_Pod_IP=$(kubectl get pod helper-pod -o jsonpath="{.status.podIP}")
$Node_Name= $(kubectl get node -o jsonpath="{.items[*].status.addresses[?(@.type=='Hostname')].address}")
# Values below are only meant as a guide in understanding the lab layout.  
echo $EXTERNAL_IP   #
echo $CLUSTER_IP    #
echo $WebsvrPod_IP  #
echo $Helper_Pod_IP #
echo $Node_Name     # aks-nodepool1-96643998-vmss000000

Step 3: Verify connectivity to Web Server.

  1. Check connectivity by attempting to reach the web server using Public IP. This check should fail.
kubectl exec -it helper-pod -- curl -m 7 ${EXTERNAL_IP}:80


Step 4: Troubleshoot networking

Below is the networking path we need to analyze.


  1. Do a port scan using ‘nmap' on Websvr-Service, EXTERNAL_IP, and WebsvrPod_IP.
kubectl exec -it helper-pod -- nmap -F websvr-svc
kubectl exec -it helper-pod -- nmap -F $EXTERNAL_IP
kubectl exec -it helper-pod -- nmap -F $WebsvrPod_IP
kubectl exec -it helper-pod -- nmap -F $CLUSTER_IP


  • In cases of External and Service (Cluster IP), we see port 80 is in closed state and refuses to accept incoming connections. However, websvr-pod has port 80 open.
  • Since curl on the Pod IP port 80 works, this confirms Web Server is running and Pod configuration is valid.

Step 5: Run network capture from Node running Web Server Pod and Helper Pod.

Get below output which will be needed for tcpdump.

Note: values returned are only meant as guide to understand lab layout

echo $Helper_Pod_IP # this is only an example.

echo $WebsvrPod_IP # this is only an example.
echo $Node_Name
aks-nodepool1-96643998-vmss000000 # this is only an example.
  1. Open a new terminal. Running below creates a debug Pod on Node running Web Server Pod. Install tcpdump on the debug Pod as shown below. Aside from Node-Name above, you can also use ‘kubectl get nodes'
kubectl debug node/ -it
# Install below
apt-get update -y; apt-get install tcpdump -y
  1. From Step 1, run tcpdump using SRC IP (Helper pod in Step 3) and DST IP (Web server pod in Step 1)

Order is important. src=Helper-Pod and Dst=Websvr-Pod

tcpdump -en -i any src  and dst 


  1. On the original terminal. Generate traffic to capture output by running below from Helper pod terminal.
kubectl exec -it helper-pod -- curl websvr-svc


Based on the trace provided, the helper-pod's IP address establishes a connection with websvr-svc, utilizing the Cluster IP address. This subsequently redirects the connection to the IP address of Websvr. However, the connection is made using port number 8080.


Looking at the Web Server Pod YAML, it has containerPort set to 8080.


Service definition targetPort also set to 8080.


From port scan earlier, we found that the Websvr application was listening on port 80. This means the Websvr-svc target port configuration is incorrect and the configuration of the Websvr container Port does not make any difference.

Step 6: Fixing the issue.

  1. To fix this issue, we must update websvr-svc targetPort and set it to 80.

Use ‘kubectl edit svc websvr-svc' to update targetPort to 80.





Use ‘kubectl get ep' to confirm its pointing to port 80 on web server Pod.

  1. Once done, the web server should be reachable over the External IP as well as the internal service Cluster IP.
kubectl exec -it helper-pod -- nmap -F websvr-svc 
kubectl exec -it helper-pod -- nmap -F $EXTERNAL_IP
kubectl exec -it helper-pod -- nmap -F $CLUSTER_IP


kubectl exec -it helper-pod -- curl websvr-svc
kubectl exec -it helper-pod -- curl $EXTERNAL_IP


The traffic flow between the external client and the application pods is managed by the targetPort and containerPort fields of the service definition.

The targetPort is the port used by the Service to route traffic to the Application pods. The containerPort is the port on which the application listens in the pods.

When a client sends a request to the external IP address of the LoadBalancer service, the request is directed to the targetPort on the pods.

The service routes the traffic to the correct pod based on the rules defined in the service's selector. The traffic then reaches the container listening on the containerPort and is processed by the application.

In this way, the targetPort and containerPort fields ensure that external traffic is correctly mapped to the correct pods and processed by the correct container within the pod.

Step 7: Challenge

In the above example, image nginx only listens on port 80. Test this web server image tadeugr/aks-mgmt, which listens on 80 and 8080 using Pod sample as shown. Hence if you edit Service, targetPort to 80 and 8080 both ports should work.

# Run below cmds
kubectl delete pod/websvr service/websvr-svc
cd Lab4; .working2.ps1
# below should work now, even though container and targetPort=8080, since app listens on 8080 and 80
kubectl exec -it helper-pod — curl websvr-svc
# confirmed that app listens on both 80/8080 from below
kubectl get pod -o wide # get pod-ip
kubectl exec -it helper-pod — curl :8080
kubectl exec -it helper-pod — curl :80
# displays new image in working2.ps1

apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
name: websvr
app: websvr
– name: websvr
image: tadeugr/aks-mgmt
command: [“/bin/bash”, “-c”]
args: [“/; tail -f /dev/null”]
– containerPort: 8080

Step 8: Cleanup

kubectl delete pod/helper-pod pod/websvr service/websvr-svc pod/node-debugger-aks-systempool-


This post illustrates connectivity issues between endpoints across VNets and port configuration issues between services and their respective pods. The first scenario showed how misconfigured VNet peering and NSG settings can block inbound access to required ports and protocols, and how resolving them restores end-to-end connectivity. In the second scenario, the issue was caused by an application that wasn't listening on the same port that the service back-end/targetPort was sending traffic to. This problem was resolved by replacing the application image with one that listens on both ports, allowing for successful traffic flow. In the final article of this three-part series, we will explore troubleshooting scenarios related to the Linux kernel and how they map to the Kubernetes view. Additionally, we will demonstrate how AKS observability can be enhanced using Container Insights and Diagnostics, enabling better monitoring and troubleshooting of your Kubernetes environment.


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This article was originally published by Microsoft’s System Center Blog. You can find the original article here.