Here’s a quick guide on how to provision an Azure Container Register with Terraform. Also, we’ll cover how to grant AKS permissions to read from the newly created registry.

Creating the registry

First, what I like to do is specify my naming convention using locals.

provider "azurerm" {
  version = "~>1.43"

locals {
  environment_name        = "shared"
  resource_group_name     = "rg-appname-${local.environment_name}-001"
  container_registry_name = "companyname"
  location                = "eastus"

Then, using the variables specified above, create the resource group and the container registry.

resource "azurerm_resource_group" "rg" {
  name     = local.resource_group_name
  location = local.location

resource "azurerm_container_registry" "acr" {
  name                     = local.container_registry_name
  resource_group_name      =
  location                 = azurerm_resource_group.rg.location
  sku                      = "Standard"
  admin_enabled            = false

You’ll also have access to an id attribute on the container registry once it’s created. It will be the resource id in Azure. You will need this id in order to create a role assignment for an AKS cluster to read from this container registry.

Permitting an AKS cluster

Let’s say you’re creating an AKS cluster like the following.

resource "azurerm_kubernetes_cluster" "aks_cluster" {
  name                = var.cluster_name

  service_principal {
    client_id     = var.aks_service_principal_client_id
    client_secret = var.aks_service_principal_client_secret

(Removed some attributes for brevity)

Given that you’re also creating a service principal for this AKS cluster, then you can grant permissions to the service principal that AKS will use so that it can read from the container registry. There’s a built-in group of acr pull.

So, here’s how you can do this from Terraform.

First, you have to find out the object id of the service principal. This is different than the client id or the application id that you might be used to.

You do this by using a data source and querying for it. You'll have to use the Azure AD provider.

provider "azuread" {
  version = "~>0.7"

data "azuread_service_principal" "aks_principal" {
  application_id = var.aks_service_principal_client_id

Note: If you're running your Terraform plan using a service principal, make sure it has the necessary permissions to read applications from Azure AD.

Read more here on how to grant permissions the necessary permissions to the service principal to Azure AD.

Then you can create a role-assignment on the container registry for the built-in role of AcrPull.

resource "azurerm_role_assignment" "acrpull_role" {
  scope                            =
  role_definition_name             = "AcrPull"
  principal_id                     =
  skip_service_principal_aad_check = true