Supported Kubernetes versions in AKS hybrid

Applies to: AKS on Azure Stack HCI, AKS on Windows Server

You can find the supported Kubernetes versions for Azure Kubernetes Service hybrid deployment options (AKS hybrid) in this topic. The Kubernetes community releases minor versions roughly every three months. Recently, the Kubernetes community has increased the support window for each version from nine months to 12 months, starting with version 1.19.

Minor version releases include new features and improvements. Patch releases are more frequent (sometimes weekly) and are intended for critical bug fixes within a minor version. Patch releases include fixes for security vulnerabilities or major bugs.

Kubernetes versions

Kubernetes uses the standard Semantic Versioning versioning scheme for each version:

[major].[minor].[patch]

Example:
  1.17.7
  1.17.8

Each number in the version indicates general compatibility with the previous version:

  • Major versions change when incompatible API updates or backwards compatibility may be broken.
  • Minor versions change when functionality updates are made that are backwards compatible to the other minor releases.
  • Patch versions change when backwards-compatible bug fixes are made.

You should aim to run the latest patch release of the minor version you're running. For example, if your production cluster is on 1.17.7. 1.17.8 is the latest available patch version available for the 1.17 series. You should upgrade to 1.17.8 as soon as possible to ensure your cluster is fully patched and supported.

Kubernetes version support policy

AKS hybrid defines a generally available (GA) version as a version that's available for download when deploying or updating AKS hybrid. AKS hybrid supports three GA minor versions of Kubernetes:

  • The latest GA minor version that is released in AKS hybrid (which we'll refer to as N).
  • Two previous minor versions.
    • Each supported minor version also supports a maximum of two (2) stable patches.

AKS hybrid may also support preview versions, which are explicitly labeled as such.

Note

AKS hybrid uses safe deployment practices which involve gradual region deployment. This means it may take up to 10 business days for a new release or a new version to be available in all regions.

The supported window of Kubernetes versions on AKS hybrid is known as "N-2": (N (Latest release) - 2 (minor versions)).

For example, if AKS hybrid introduces 1.17.a today, support is provided for the following versions:

New minor version Supported Version List
1.17.a 1.17.a, 1.17.b, 1.16.c, 1.16.d, 1.15.e, 1.15.f

Where ".letter" is representative of patch versions.

When a new minor version is introduced, the oldest minor version and patch releases supported are deprecated and removed. For example, the current supported version list is:

1.17.a
1.17.b
1.16.c
1.16.d
1.15.e
1.15.f

AKS hybrid releases 1.18.*, removing all the 1.15.* versions out of support in 30 days.

Note

If customers are running an unsupported Kubernetes version, they will be asked to upgrade when requesting support for the cluster. Clusters running unsupported Kubernetes releases are not covered by the AKS hybrid support policies.

In addition to the above, AKS hybrid supports a maximum of two patch releases of a given minor version. So given the following supported versions:

Current Supported Version List
------------------------------
1.17.8, 1.17.7, 1.16.10, 1.16.9

If AKS hybrid releases 1.17.9 and 1.16.11, the oldest patch versions are deprecated and removed, and the supported version list becomes:

New Supported Version List
----------------------
1.17.*9*, 1.17.*8*, 1.16.*11*, 1.16.*10*

Supported kubectl versions

You can use one minor version older or newer of kubectl relative to your kube-apiserver version, consistent with the Kubernetes support policy for kubectl.

For example, if your kube-apiserver is at 1.17, then you can use versions 1.16 to 1.18 of kubectl with that kube-apiserver.

To install or update your version of kubectl, run az AKS on Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server install-cli.

Release and deprecation process

You can reference upcoming version releases and deprecations on the AKS Hybrid Kubernetes Release Calendar.

For new minor versions of Kubernetes:

  • AKS hybrid publishes a pre-announcement with the planned date of a new version release and respective old version deprecation in the AKS Release notes at least 30 days prior to removal.

  • Users have 30 days from version removal to upgrade to a supported minor version release to continue receiving support.

For new patch versions of Kubernetes:

  • Because of the urgent nature of patch versions, they can be introduced into the service as they become available.
  • In general, AKS hybrid doesn't broadly communicate the release of new patch versions. However, AKS hybrid constantly monitors and validates available CVE patches to support them in AKS hybrid in a timely manner. If a critical patch is found or user action is required, AKS hybrid will notify users to upgrade to the newly available patch.
  • Users have 30 days from a patch release's removal from AKS hybrid to upgrade into a supported patch and continue receiving support.

Supported versions policy exceptions

AKS hybrid reserves the right to add or remove new/existing versions with one or more critical production-impacting bugs or security issues without advance notice.

Specific patch releases may be skipped or rollout accelerated, depending on the severity of the bug or security issue.

AKS Hybrid Kubernetes Release Calendar

For the past release history, see Kubernetes.

Kubernetes version Upstream release AKS hybrid GA End of life
1.20 Dec-08-2020 Mar 2021 1.23
1.21 Apr-09-2021 Jul 2021 1.24
1.22 Sept-09-2021 Jan 2022 1.25
1.23 Dec-07-2021 Aug 2022 1.26
1.24 May-03-2022 Oct 2022 1.27

FAQ

How does Microsoft notify me of new Kubernetes versions?

The AKS team publishes pre-announcements with planned dates of new Kubernetes versions in our documentation on GitHub.

How often should I expect to upgrade Kubernetes versions to stay in support?

Starting with Kubernetes 1.19, the open source community has expanded support to one year. AKS commits to enabling patches and support matching the upstream commitments. For AKS clusters on 1.19 and greater, you'll be able to upgrade a minimum of once a year to stay on a supported version.

For versions on 1.18 or below, the window of support remains at 9 months, requiring an upgrade once every 9 months to stay on a supported version. Regularly test new versions and be prepared to upgrade to newer versions to capture the latest stable enhancements within Kubernetes.

What happens when a user upgrades a Kubernetes cluster with a minor version that isn't supported?

If you're on the n-3 version or older, it means you're outside of support and will be asked to upgrade. When your upgrade from version n-3 to n-2 succeeds, you're back within our support policies. For example:

  • If the oldest supported Kubernetes version is 1.15.a and you are on 1.14.b or older, you're outside of support.
  • When you successfully upgrade from 1.14.b to 1.15.a or greater, you're back within our support policies.

Downgrades are not supported.

What does 'outside of support' mean?

'Outside of support' means that:

  • The version you're running is outside of the supported versions list.
  • You'll be asked to upgrade the cluster to a supported version when requesting support, unless you're within the 30-day grace period after version deprecation.

Additionally, AKS hybrid doesn't make any runtime (or other) guarantees for clusters outside of the supported versions list.

What happens when a user scales a Kubernetes cluster with a minor version that isn't supported?

For minor versions not supported by AKS hybrid, scaling in or out should continue to work. Since there are no Quality of Service guarantees, we recommend upgrading to bring your cluster back into support.

Can I skip multiple Kubernetes versions during a cluster upgrade?

When you upgrade a supported AKS cluster, Kubernetes minor versions cannot be skipped. For example, upgrades between:

  • 1.12.x -> 1.13.x: allowed.
  • 1.13.x -> 1.14.x: allowed.
  • 1.12.x -> 1.14.x: not allowed.

To upgrade from 1.12.x -> 1.14.x:

  1. Upgrade from 1.12.x -> 1.13.x.
  2. Upgrade from 1.13.x -> 1.14.x.

Skipping multiple versions can only be done when upgrading from an unsupported version back into a supported version. For example, you can upgrade from an unsupported 1.10.x to a supported 1.15.x.

Can I create a new 1.xx.x cluster during its 30-day support window?

No. Once a version is deprecated/removed, you cannot create a cluster with that version. As the change rolls out, you will start to see the old version removed from your version list. This process may take up to two weeks from the announcement, progressively by region.

I am on a freshly deprecated version. Can I still add new node pools? Or will I have to upgrade?

No. You will not be allowed to add node pools of the deprecated version to your cluster. You can add node pools of a new version. However, this may require you to update the control plane first.

Next steps

For information on how to upgrade your cluster, see Update the Kubernetes version of AKS clusters.