AWS EKS AccessDenied: The aws-auth ConfigMap in your cluster is invalid

Deleting a managed node group from AW EKS.

The Problem

I’ve got an issue with an EKS cluster node group where I can’t delete it. As a consequence, I can’t delete my EKS cluster because it has a node group attached to it.

I’ve provisioned my EKS cluster with Terraform and configured aws-auth as per official documentation. I’ve got admin access to the cluster, my worker nodes have connected successfully and there were a couple of deployments running on the cluster already.

My ConfigMap can be seen below:

$ kubectl describe configmap aws-auth -n kube-system
Name: aws-auth
Namespace: kube-system

- rolearn: arn:aws:iam::000000000000:role/cluster-role
  username: system:node:{{EC2PrivateDNSName}}
    - system:bootstrappers
    - system:nodes
- rolearn: arn:aws:iam::000000000000:role/node-group-role
  username: system:node:{{EC2PrivateDNSName}}
    - system:bootstrappers
    - system:nodes
- rolearn: arn:aws:iam::000000000000:role/aws-reserved/
  username: {{SessionName}}
    - system:masters

Events: none

I then wanted to create a node group that I could test with cluster autoscaler. Unfortunatelly, when I attempted to create/delete the node group, either via Terraform or using AWS Console, I received the following error:

“AccessDenied: The aws-auth ConfigMap in your cluster is invalid.”

A Solution

My goal was to delete the node group from the cluster.

Unfortunatelly, I could not work out what exactly was invalid about my aws-auth ConfigMap.

I suspect that the managed node group failed to get created because of the self-managed node IAM role role/node-group-role that was already present in the aws-auth ConfigMap. I wanted to use the same node IAM role which evidently did not work. Amazon recommends using a role that is not currently in use by any self-managed node group, but as far as I am aware, this is a recommendation and not a requirement.

The documentation states that if you delete a managed node group that uses a node IAM role that isn’t used by any other managed node group in the cluster, the role is removed from the aws-auth ConfigMap. I believe that the opposite is also true: when you create a managed node group, the role is added to the aws-auth ConfigMap.

Official documentation says that when you create an EKS cluster, the IAM entity user that creates the cluster is automatically granted system:masters permissions in the cluster’s RBAC configuration in the control plane. This IAM entity does not appear in the ConfigMap, but can be used to get access to the cluster. Since it is my IAM user that has created the cluster, I would not loose access to EKS even if I removed the aws-auth ConfigMap from the cluster.

A solution for me was to delete the aws-auth ConfigMap, what in turn allowed the successful removal of the node group from the EKS cluster. After deleting the node group, I re-created the aws-auth ConfigMap to minimise disruption.


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