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Configuring a ROSA cluster to pull images from AWS Elastic Container Registry (ECR)

Authors: Kevin Collins, Byron Miller
Last Editor: Dustin Scott
Published Date: 26 April 2022
Modified Date: 25 May 2023



Quick Introduction by Ryan Niksch & Charlotte Fung on YouTube .

There are two options to use to authenticate wth Amazon ECR to pull images.

The traditional method is to create a pull secret for ecr.


oc create secret docker-registry ecr-pull-secret  \
  --docker-server=<registry id>.dkr.ecr.<region>  \
  --docker-username=AWS --docker-password=$(aws ecr get-login-password) \

However Amazon ECR tokens expire every 12 hours which will mean you will need to re-authenticate every 12 hours either through scripting or do so manually.

A second, and preferred method, is to attach an ECR Policy to your cluster’s worker machine profiles which this guide will walk you through.

Attach ECR Policy Role

You can attach an ECR policy to your cluster giving the cluster permissions to pull images from your registries. ROSA worker machine instances comes with pre-defined IAM roles, named differently depending on whether its a STS cluster or a non-STS cluster.

STS Cluster Role

ManagedOpenShift-Worker-Role is the IAM role attached to ROSA STS compute instances.

non-STS Cluster Role

<cluster name>-<identifier>-worker-role is the IAM role attached to ROSA non-STS compute instances.

Tip: To find the non-STS cluster role run the following command with your cluster name:

aws iam list-roles | grep <cluster_name>

resulting output

Configure ECR with ROSA

ECR has several pre-defined policies that give permissions to interact with the service. In the case of ROSA, we will be pulling images from ECR and will only need to add the AmazonEC2ContainerRegistryReadOnly policy.

  1. Add the AmazonEC2ContainerRegistryReadOnly policy to the ManagedOpenShift-Worker-Role for STS clusters (or the <cluster name>-<identifier>-worker-role for non-STS clusters).

    STS Example:

     aws iam attach-role-policy \
      --role-name ManagedOpenShift-Worker-Role \
      --policy-arn "arn:aws:iam::aws:policy/AmazonEC2ContainerRegistryReadOnly"
  2. Set ENV variables

    Set our AWS Region and Registry name for creating a new ECR

  3. Create a repository

    aws ecr create-repository \
     --repository-name $REGISTRY \
     --image-scanning-configuration scanOnPush=true \
     --region $REGION
  4. Set Registry ID

    REGISTRYID=`aws ecr describe-repositories --repository-name hello-ecr | jq -r '.repositories[].registryId'`
  5. Log into ECR

    podman login -u AWS -p $(aws ecr get-login-password --region $REGION) $REGISTRYID.dkr.ecr.$
  6. Pull an image

    podman pull openshift/hello-openshift
  7. Tag the image for ecr

    podman tag openshift/hello-openshift:latest $REGISTRYID.dkr.ecr.$
  8. Push the image to ECR

    podman push $REGISTRYID.dkr.ecr.$
  9. Create OC pull secret for new ECR registry

    oc create secret docker-registry ecr-pull-secret  --docker-server=$REGISTRYID.dkr.ecr.$  \
    --docker-username=AWS --docker-password=$(aws ecr get-login-password)  --namespace=hello-ecr
  10. Create a new project

oc new-project hello-ecr
  1. Create a new app using the image on ECR
oc new-app --name hello-ecr --image $REGISTRYID.dkr.ecr.$
  1. View a list of pods in the namespace you created:
oc get pods

Expected output:

If you see the hello-ecr pod running … congratulations! You can now pull images from your ECR repository.

Clean up

  1. Simply delete the project you created to test pulling images:

    oc delete project hello-ecr

    You may also want to remove the arn:aws:iam::aws:policy/AmazonEC2ContainerRegistryReadOnly policy from the worker nodes if you do no want them to continue to have access to the ECR.