Configure and Use Service Accounts

Configure and Use Kubernetes Service Accounts from your Apps.

By default, all applications in Kf are assigned a unique Kubernetes Service Account (KSA) named sa-<APP_NAME>. Kf uses this KSA as the “user” it runs application instances and tasks under.

Each App KSA receives a copy of the container registry credentials used by the Space’s build KSA so Kf apps can pull container images that were created during kf push.

Using the service account

Kuberenetes Pods (the building blocks of Apps and Tasks) automatically receive a JWT for the KSA mounted in the container:

$ ls /var/run/secrets/
  • ca.crt The Kubernetes control plane’s certificate.
  • namespace The Kubernetes namespace of the workload.
  • token A Base64 encoded JWT for the Kf App’s Service Account.

Below is an example of what the JWT looks like, note that:

  • It expires and needs to be periodically refreshed from disk.
  • It’s audience is only valid within the Kubernetes cluster.
    "aud": [
    "exp": 3600,
    "iat": 0,
    "": {
        "namespace": "<SPACE_NAME>",
        "pod": {
            "name": "<APP_NAME>-<RANDOM_SUFFIX>",
            "uid": "<APP_GUID>"
        "serviceaccount": {
            "name": "sa-<APP_NAME>",
            "uid": "<SERVICE_ACCOUNT_GUID>"
        "warnafter": 3500
    "nbf": 0,
    "sub": "system:serviceaccount:<SPACE_NAME>:sa-<APP_NAME>"

You can use this credential to connect to the Kubernetes control plane listed in the issuer (iss) field.

Customizing the service account

You want to use a different service account than the default one Kf provides, for example to:

  • Allow blue/green apps to have the same identity.
  • Use Kf with a federated identity system.
  • Provide custom image pull credentials for a specific app.

You can enable this by adding the annotation to your app manifest. The value should be the name of the KSA you want the application and tasks to use.


- name: my-app
      "": "override-sa-name"


  • Only KSAs within the same Kubernetes namespace–corresponding to a Kf Space–are allowed.
  • The KSA must exist and be readable by Kf, otherwise the app will not deploy.
  • The KSA or the cluster must have permission to pull the application’s container images.

Additional resources