Mutate Resources

Modify resource configurations.

A mutate rule can be used to modify matching resources and is written as either a RFC 6902 JSON Patch or a strategic merge patch.

By using a patch in the JSONPatch - RFC 6902 format, you can make precise changes to the resource being created. A strategic merge patch is useful for controlling merge behaviors on elements with lists. Regardless of the method, a mutate rule is used when an object needs to be modified in a given way.

Resource mutation occurs before validation, so the validation rules should not contradict the changes performed by the mutation section. To mutate existing resources in addition to those subject to AdmissionReview requests, use mutateExisting policies.

This policy sets the imagePullPolicy to IfNotPresent if the image tag is latest:

 1apiVersion: kyverno.io/v1
 2kind: ClusterPolicy
 3metadata:
 4  name: set-image-pull-policy
 5spec:
 6  rules:
 7    - name: set-image-pull-policy
 8      match:
 9        any:
10        - resources:
11            kinds:
12            - Pod
13      mutate:
14        patchStrategicMerge:
15          spec:
16            containers:
17              # match images which end with :latest
18              - (image): "*:latest"
19                # set the imagePullPolicy to "IfNotPresent"
20                imagePullPolicy: "IfNotPresent"

RFC 6902 JSONPatch

A JSON Patch, implemented as a mutation method called patchesJson6902, provides a precise way to mutate resources and supports the following operations (in the op field):

  • add
  • replace
  • remove

With Kyverno, the add and replace have the same behavior (i.e., both operations will add or replace the target element).

The patchesJson6902 method can be useful when a specific mutation is needed which cannot be performed by patchesStrategicMerge. For example, when needing to mutate a specific object within an array, the index can be specified as part of a patchesJson6902 mutation rule.

One distinction between this and other mutation methods is that patchesJson6902 does not support the use of conditional anchors. Use preconditions instead. Also, mutations using patchesJson6902 to Pods directly is not supported as the rules are not converted to higher-level controllers such as Deployments and StatefulSets through the use of the auto-gen feature. Therefore, when writing such mutation rules for Pods, it may be necessary to create multiple rules to cover all relevant Pod controllers.

This patch policy adds, or replaces, entries in a ConfigMap with the name config-game in any namespace.

 1apiVersion: kyverno.io/v1
 2kind: ClusterPolicy
 3metadata:
 4  name: policy-patch-cm
 5spec:
 6  rules:
 7    - name: pCM1
 8      match:
 9        any:
10        - resources:
11            names:
12              - config-game
13            kinds:
14              - ConfigMap
15      mutate:
16        patchesJson6902: |-
17          - path: "/data/ship.properties"
18            op: add
19            value: |
20              type=starship
21              owner=utany.corp
22          - path: "/data/newKey1"
23            op: add
24            value: newValue1          

If your ConfigMap has empty data, the following policy adds an entry to config-game.

 1apiVersion: kyverno.io/v1
 2kind: ClusterPolicy
 3metadata:
 4  name: policy-add-cm
 5spec:
 6  rules:
 7    - name: pCM1
 8      match:
 9        any:
10        - resources:
11            names:
12              - config-game
13            kinds:
14            - ConfigMap
15      mutate:
16        patchesJson6902: |-
17          - path: "/data"
18            op: add
19            value: {"ship.properties": "{\"type\": \"starship\", \"owner\": \"utany.corp\"}"}          

This is an example of a patch that removes a label from a Secret:

 1apiVersion: kyverno.io/v1
 2kind: ClusterPolicy
 3metadata:
 4  name: policy-remove-label
 5spec:
 6  rules:
 7    - name: "Remove unwanted label"
 8      match:
 9        any:
10        - resources:
11            kinds:
12            - Secret
13      mutate:
14        patchesJson6902: |-
15          - path: "/metadata/labels/purpose"
16            op: remove          

This policy rule adds elements to a list. In this case, it adds a new busybox container and a command. Note that because the path statement is a precise schema element, this will only work on a direct Pod and not higher-level objects such as Deployments.

 1apiVersion: kyverno.io/v1
 2kind: ClusterPolicy
 3metadata:
 4  name: insert-container
 5spec:
 6  rules:
 7  - name: insert-container
 8    match:
 9      any:
10      - resources:
11          kinds:
12          - Pod
13    mutate:
14      patchesJson6902: |-
15        - op: add
16          path: "/spec/containers/1"
17          value: {"name":"busybox","image":"busybox:latest"}
18        - op: add
19          path: "/spec/containers/1/command"
20          value:
21          - ls        

When needing to append an object to an array of objects, for example in pod.spec.tolerations, use a dash (-) at the end of the path.

1mutate:
2  patchesJson6902: |-
3    - op: add
4      path: "/spec/tolerations/-"
5      value: {"key":"networkzone","operator":"Equal","value":"dmz","effect":"NoSchedule"}    

JSON Patch uses JSON Pointer to reference keys, and keys with tilde (~) and forward slash (/) characters need to be escaped with ~0 and ~1, respectively. For example, the following adds an annotation with the key of config.linkerd.io/skip-outbound-ports with the value of "8200".

1- op: add
2  path: /spec/template/metadata/annotations/config.linkerd.io~1skip-outbound-ports
3  value: "8200"

Some other capabilities of the patchesJson6902 method include:

  • Adding non-existent paths
  • Adding non-existent arrays
  • Adding an element to the end of an array (use negative index -1)

Strategic Merge Patch

The kubectl command uses a strategic merge patch with special directives to control element merge behaviors. Kyverno supports this style of patch to mutate resources. The patchStrategicMerge overlay resolves to a partial resource definition.

This policy adds a new container to the Pod, sets the imagePullPolicy, adds a command, and sets a label with the key of name and value set to the name of the Pod from AdmissionReview data. Once again, the overlay in this case names a specific schema path which is relevant only to a Pod and not higher-level resources like a Deployment.

 1apiVersion: kyverno.io/v1
 2kind: ClusterPolicy
 3metadata:
 4  name: strategic-merge-patch
 5spec:
 6  rules:
 7  - name: set-image-pull-policy-add-command
 8    match:
 9      any:
10      - resources:
11          kinds:
12          - Pod
13    mutate:
14      patchStrategicMerge:
15        metadata:
16          labels:
17            name: "{{request.object.metadata.name}}"
18        spec:
19          containers:
20            - name: "nginx"
21              image: "nginx:latest"
22              imagePullPolicy: "Never"
23              command:
24              - ls

Note that when using patchStrategicMerge to mutate the pod.spec.containers[] array, the name key must be specified as a conditional anchor (i.e., (name): "*") in order for the merge to occur on other fields.

Conditional logic using anchors

Like with validate rules, conditional anchors are supported on mutate rules. Refer to the anchors section for more general information on conditionals.

An anchor field, marked by parentheses and an optional preceding character, allows conditional processing for mutations.

The mutate overlay rules support two types of anchors:

AnchorTagBehavior
Conditional()Use the tag and value as an “if” condition
Add if not present+()Add the tag value if the tag is not already present
Global<()Add the pattern when the global anchor is true

The anchors values support wildcards:

  1. * - matches zero or more alphanumeric characters
  2. ? - matches a single alphanumeric character

Conditional anchors are only supported with the patchStrategicMerge mutation method.

Conditional anchor

A conditional anchor evaluates to true if the anchor tag exists and if the value matches the specified value. Processing stops if a tag does not exist or when the value does not match. Once processing stops, any child elements or any remaining siblings in a list will not be processed.

For example, this overlay will add or replace the value 6443 for the port field, for all ports with a name value that starts with “secure”:

 1apiVersion: kyverno.io/v1
 2kind: ClusterPolicy
 3metadata:
 4  name: policy-set-port
 5spec:
 6  rules:
 7  - name: "Set port"
 8    match:
 9      any:
10      - resources:
11          kinds :
12            - Endpoints
13    mutate:
14      patchStrategicMerge:
15        subsets:
16        - ports:
17          - (name): "secure*"
18            port: 6443

If the anchor tag value is an object or array, the entire object or array must match. In other words, the entire object or array becomes part of the “if” clause. Nested conditional anchor tags are not supported.

Add if not present anchor

A variation of an anchor is to add a field value if it is not already defined. This is done by using the add anchor (short for “add if not present” anchor) with the notation +(...) for the tag.

An add anchor is processed as part of applying the mutation. Typically, every non-anchor tag-value is applied as part of the mutation. If the add anchor is set on a tag, the tag and value are only applied if they do not exist in the resource.

For example, this policy matches and mutates pods with an emptyDir volume to add the safe-to-evict annotation if it is not specified.

 1apiVersion: kyverno.io/v1
 2kind: ClusterPolicy
 3metadata:
 4  name: add-safe-to-evict
 5  annotations:
 6    pod-policies.kyverno.io/autogen-controllers: none
 7spec:
 8  rules:
 9  - name: "annotate-empty-dir"
10    match:
11      any:
12      - resources:
13          kinds:
14          - Pod
15    mutate:
16      patchStrategicMerge:
17        metadata:
18          annotations:
19            +(cluster-autoscaler.kubernetes.io/safe-to-evict): true
20        spec:
21          volumes:
22          - <(emptyDir): {}

Global Anchor

Similar to validate rules, mutate rules can use the global anchor. When a global anchor is used, the condition inside the anchor, when true, means the rest of the pattern will be applied regardless of how it may relate to the global anchor.

For example, the below policy will add an imagePullSecret called my-secret to any Pod if it has a container image beginning with corp.reg.com.

 1apiVersion: kyverno.io/v1
 2kind: ClusterPolicy
 3metadata:
 4  name: add-imagepullsecrets
 5spec:
 6  rules:
 7  - name: add-imagepullsecret
 8    match:
 9      any:
10      - resources:
11          kinds:
12          - Pod
13    mutate:
14      patchStrategicMerge:
15        spec:
16          containers:
17          - <(image): "corp.reg.com/*"
18          imagePullSecrets:
19          - name: my-secret

The below Pod meets this criteria and so the imagePullSecret called my-secret is added.

 1apiVersion: v1
 2kind: Pod
 3metadata:
 4  name: static-web
 5  labels:
 6    role: myrole
 7spec:
 8  containers:
 9    - name: web
10      image: corp.reg.com/nginx
11      ports:
12        - name: web
13          containerPort: 80
14          protocol: TCP

Anchor processing flow

The anchor processing behavior for mutate conditions is as follows:

  1. First, all conditional anchors are processed. Processing stops when the first conditional anchor returns a false. Mutation proceeds only of all conditional anchors return a true. Note that for conditional anchor tags with complex (object or array) values, the entire value (child) object is treated as part of the condition as explained above.

  2. Next, all tag-values without anchors and all add anchor tags are processed to apply the mutation.

Mutate Existing resources

With Kyverno 1.7.0+, Kyverno supports mutation on existing resources with patchesStrategicMerge and patchesJson6902. Unlike standard mutate policies that are applied through the AdmissionReview process, mutate existing policies are applied in the background which update existing resources in the cluster. These mutate existing policies, like traditional mutate policies, are still triggered via the AdmissionReview process but apply to existing–and even different–resources. They may also optionally be configured to apply upon updates to the policy itself.

Because these mutations occur on existing resources, Kyverno may need additional permissions which it does not have by default. See the section on customizing permissions on how to grant additional permission to the Kyverno ServiceAccount to determine, prior to installing mutate existing rules, if additional permissions are required.

To define such a policy, trigger resources need to be specified in the match block. The target resources–resources that are mutated in the background–are specified in each mutate rule under mutate.targets. Note that all target resources within a single rule must share the same definition schema. For example, a mutate existing rule fails if this rule mutates both Pod and Deployment as they do not share the same OpenAPI V3 schema (except metadata).

This policy, which matches when the trigger resource named dictionary-1 in the staging Namespace changes, writes a label foo=bar to the target resource named secret-1 also in the staging Namespace.

 1apiVersion: kyverno.io/v1
 2kind: ClusterPolicy
 3metadata:
 4  name: "mutate-existing-secret"
 5spec:
 6  rules:
 7    - name: "mutate-secret-on-configmap-event"
 8      match:
 9        any:
10        - resources:
11            kinds:
12            - ConfigMap
13            names:
14            - dictionary-1
15            namespaces:
16            - staging
17      mutate:
18        targets:
19        - apiVersion: v1
20          kind: Secret
21          name: secret-1
22          namespace: "{{ request.object.metadata.namespace }}"
23        patchStrategicMerge:
24          metadata:
25            labels:
26              foo: bar

By default, the above policy will not be applied when it is installed. This behavior can be configured via mutateExistingOnPolicyUpdate attribute. If you set mutateExistingOnPolicyUpdate to true, Kyverno will mutate the existing secret on policy CREATE and UPDATE AdmissionReview events.

 1apiVersion: kyverno.io/v1
 2kind: ClusterPolicy
 3metadata:
 4  name: "mutate-existing-secret"
 5spec:
 6  mutateExistingOnPolicyUpdate: true
 7  rules:
 8    - name: "mutate-secret-on-configmap-event"
 9      match:
10        any:
11        - resources:
12            kinds:
13            - ConfigMap
14            names:
15            - dictionary-1
16            namespaces:
17            - staging
18...

Variables Referencing Target Resources

To reference data in target resources, you can define the variable target followed by the path to the desired attribute. For example, using target.metadata.labels.env references the label env in the target resource.

This policy copies the ConfigMaps’ value target.data.key to their label with the key env.

 1apiVersion: kyverno.io/v1
 2kind: ClusterPolicy
 3metadata:
 4  name: sync-cms
 5spec:
 6  mutateExistingOnPolicyUpdate: false
 7  rules:
 8  - name: concat-cm
 9    match:
10      any:
11      - resources:
12          kinds:
13          - ConfigMap
14          names:
15          - cmone
16          namespaces:
17          - foo
18    mutate:
19      targets:
20        - apiVersion: v1
21          kind: ConfigMap
22          name: cmtwo
23          namespace: bar
24        - apiVersion: v1
25          kind: ConfigMap
26          name: cmthree
27          namespace: bar
28      patchesJson6902: |-
29        - op: add
30          path: "/metadata/labels/env"
31          value: "{{ target.data.key }}"          

The {{ @ }} special variable is added to reference the in-line value of the target resource.

This policy adds the value of keyone from the trigger ConfigMap named cmone in the foo Namespace as the prefix to target ConfigMaps in their data with keynew.

 1apiVersion: kyverno.io/v1
 2kind: ClusterPolicy
 3metadata:
 4  name: sync-cms
 5spec:
 6  mutateExistingOnPolicyUpdate: false
 7  rules:
 8  - name: concat-cm
 9    match:
10      any:
11      - resources:
12          kinds:
13          - ConfigMap
14          names:
15          - cmone
16          namespaces:
17          - foo
18    mutate:
19      targets:
20        - apiVersion: v1
21          kind: ConfigMap
22          name: cmtwo
23          namespace: bar
24        - apiVersion: v1
25          kind: ConfigMap
26          name: cmthree
27          namespace: bar
28      patchStrategicMerge:
29        data:
30          keynew: "{{request.object.data.keyone}}-{{@}}"

Once a mutate existing policy is applied successfully, there will be an event and an annotation added to the target resource:

 1$ kubectl describe deploy foobar
 2...
 3Events:
 4  Type     Reason             Age                From                   Message
 5  ----     ------             ----               ----                   -------
 6  Normal   PolicyApplied      29s (x2 over 31s)  kyverno-mutate         policy add-sec/add-sec-rule applied
 7
 8$ kubectl get deploy foobar -o yaml
 9apiVersion: apps/v1
10kind: Deployment
11metadata:
12  annotations:
13    ...
14    policies.kyverno.io/last-applied-patches: |
15      add-sec-rule.add-sec.kyverno.io: added /spec/template/spec/containers/0/securityContext

To troubleshoot the policy application failure, you can inspect UpdateRequest Custom Resource to get details. Successful UpdateRequests are automatically cleaned up by Kyverno.

For example, if the corresponding permission is not granted to Kyverno, you should see this error in the updaterequest.status:

$ kubectl get ur -n kyverno
NAME       POLICY    RULETYPE   RESOURCEKIND   RESOURCENAME   RESOURCENAMESPACE   STATUS   AGE
ur-swsdg   add-sec   mutate     Deployment     foobar         default             Failed   84s


$ kubectl describe ur ur-swsdg -n kyverno
Name:         ur-swsdg
Namespace:    kyverno
...
Status:
  Message:  deployments.apps "foobar" is forbidden: User "system:serviceaccount:kyverno:kyverno-service-account" cannot update resource "deployments" in API group "apps" in the namespace "default"
  State:    Failed

Mutate Rule Ordering (Cascading)

In some cases, it might be desired to have multiple levels of mutation rules apply to incoming resources. The match statement in rule A would apply a mutation to the resource, and the result of that mutation would trigger a match statement in rule B that would apply a second mutation. In such cases, Kyverno can accommodate more complex mutation rules, however rule ordering matters to guarantee consistent results.

For example, assume you wished to assign a label to each incoming Pod describing the type of application it contained. For those with an image having the string either cassandra or mongo you wished to apply the label type=database. This could be done with the following sample policy.

 1apiVersion: kyverno.io/v1
 2kind: ClusterPolicy
 3metadata:
 4  name: database-type-labeling
 5spec:
 6  rules:
 7    - name: assign-type-database
 8      match:
 9        any:
10        - resources:
11            kinds:
12            - Pod
13      mutate:
14        patchStrategicMerge:
15          metadata:
16            labels:
17              type: database
18          spec:
19            (containers):
20            - (image): "*cassandra* | *mongo*"

Also, assume that for certain application types a backup strategy needs to be defined. For those applications where type=database, this would be designated with an additional label with the key name of backup-needed and value of either yes or no. The label would only be added if not already specified since operators can choose if they want protection or not. This policy would be defined like the following.

 1apiVersion: kyverno.io/v1
 2kind: ClusterPolicy
 3metadata:
 4  name: database-backup-labeling
 5spec:
 6  rules:
 7    - name: assign-backup-database
 8      match:
 9        any:
10        - resources:
11            kinds:
12              - Pod
13            selector:
14              matchLabels:
15                type: database
16      mutate:
17        patchStrategicMerge:
18          metadata:
19            labels:
20              +(backup-needed): "yes"

In such a case, Kyverno is able to perform cascading mutations whereby an incoming Pod that matched in the first rule and was mutated would potentially be further mutated by the second rule. In these cases, the rules must be ordered from top to bottom in the order of their dependencies and stored within the same policy. The resulting policy definition would look like the following:

 1apiVersion: kyverno.io/v1
 2kind: ClusterPolicy
 3metadata:
 4  name: database-protection
 5spec:
 6  rules:
 7  - name: assign-type-database
 8    match:
 9      any:
10      - resources:
11          kinds:
12          - Pod
13    mutate:
14      patchStrategicMerge:
15        metadata:
16          labels:
17            type: database
18        spec:
19          (containers):
20          - (image): "*cassandra* | *mongo*"
21  - name: assign-backup-database
22    match:
23      any:
24      - resources:
25          kinds:
26          - Pod
27          selector:
28            matchLabels:
29              type: database
30    mutate:
31      patchStrategicMerge:
32        metadata:
33          labels:
34            +(backup-needed): "yes"

Test the cascading mutation policy by creating a Pod using the Cassandra image.

1$ kubectl run cassandra --image=cassandra:latest
2pod/cassandra created

Perform a get or describe on the Pod to see the result of the metadata.

1$ kubectl describe po cassandra
2Name:         cassandra
3Namespace:    default
4<snip>
5Labels:       backup-needed=yes
6              run=cassandra
7              type=database
8<snip>

As can be seen, both type=database and backup-needed=yes were applied according to the mutation rules.

Verify that applying your own backup-needed label with the value of no triggers the first mutation rule but not the second.

1$ kubectl run cassandra --image=cassandra:latest --labels backup-needed=no

Perform another get or describe to verify the backup-needed label was not altered by the mutation rule.

1$ kubectl describe po cassandra
2Name:         cassandra
3Namespace:    default
4<snip>
5Labels:       backup-needed=no
6              type=database
7<snip>

foreach

A foreach declaration can contain multiple entries to process different sub-elements e.g. one to process a list of containers and another to process the list of initContainers in a Pod.

A foreach must contain a list attribute that defines the list of elements it processes and either a patchStrategicMerge or patchesJson6902 declaration. For example, iterating over the list of containers in a Pod is performed using this list declaration:

1list: request.object.spec.containers
2patchStrategicMerge:
3  spec:
4    containers:
5      ...

When a foreach is processed, the Kyverno engine will evaluate list as a JMESPath expression to retrieve zero or more sub-elements for further processing. The value of the list field may also resolve to a simple array of strings, for example as defined in a context variable. The value of the list field should not be enclosed in braces even though it is a JMESPath expression.

A variable element is added to the processing context on each iteration. This allows referencing data in the element using element.<name> where name is the attribute name. For example, using the list request.object.spec.containers when the request.object is a Pod allows referencing the container image as element.image within a foreach.

Each foreach declaration can optionally contain the following declarations:

  • Context: to add additional external data only available per loop iteration.
  • Preconditions: to control when a loop iteration is skipped

For a patchesJson6902 type of foreach declaration, an additional variable called elementIndex is made available which allows the current index number to be referenced in a loop.

 1apiVersion: kyverno.io/v1
 2kind: ClusterPolicy
 3metadata:
 4  name: foreach-json-patch
 5spec:
 6  rules:
 7    - name: add-security-context
 8      match:
 9        any:
10        - resources:
11            kinds:
12              - Pod
13      preconditions:
14        any:
15        - key: "{{ request.operation }}"
16          operator: Equals
17          value: CREATE
18      mutate:
19        foreach: 
20        - list: "request.object.spec.containers"
21          patchesJson6902: |-
22            - path: /spec/containers/{{elementIndex}}/securityContext
23              op: add
24              value: {"runAsNonRoot" : true}            

For a complete example of the patchStrategicMerge method that mutates the image to prepend the address of a trusted registry, see below.

 1apiVersion : kyverno.io/v1
 2kind: ClusterPolicy
 3metadata:
 4  name: prepend-registry
 5spec:
 6  background: false
 7  rules:
 8  - name: prepend-registry-containers
 9    match:
10      any:
11      - resources:
12          kinds:
13          - Pod
14    preconditions:
15      all:
16      - key: "{{request.operation}}"
17        operator: In
18        value:
19        - CREATE
20        - UPDATE
21    mutate:
22      foreach:
23      - list: "request.object.spec.containers"
24        patchStrategicMerge:
25          spec:
26            containers:
27            - name: "{{ element.name }}"           
28              image: registry.io/{{ images.containers."{{element.name}}".name}}:{{images.containers."{{element.name}}".tag}}

Note that the patchStrategicMerge is applied to the request.object. Hence, the patch needs to begin with spec. Since container names may have dashes in them (which must be escaped), the {{element.name}} variable is specified in double quotes.