Quarterly Kubernetes Release Abolished

New KEP (Kubernetes Enhancement Proposal) with big changes expanding Kubernetes release duration to 15 weeks

TL;DR

The Special Interest Groups (SIGs) within Kubernetes have proposed a new release paradigm, an extempore response to the ongoing pandemic. The new rhythm proposes that releases are limited to 3 annually and not the normal 4.

The SIGs insisted that while having a prospective calendar, the introduction of the KEP stands to provide a lighter release policy
The SIGs insisted that while having a prospective calendar, the introduction of the KEP stands to provide a lighter release policy
Key Facts
  1. 1

    The Kubernetes release team schedules blueprint for the quarterly release dates further into 2022

  2. 2

    The KEP reflects the SIG’s plan to let end users catch up with Kubernetes release in enforcing this cadence.

  3. 3

    This release calendar shows a 15-week interval between 1st to 2nd then 3rd release.

  4. 4

    SIG has a test window planned, considering its infrastructure and Testing Input.

Details

After the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been discussions of a lighter Kubernetes release cadence, which at the moment is four every year, in the community. After an expanded release calendar that saw only three minor Kubernetes releases in 2020, questions started sprouting among SIG’s B2B and end-users through many communication channels and platforms. They were majorly inquiring whether SIG intended to keep it that way as the community didn’t want to be left uninformed of any potential changes.

The SIGs insisted that while having a prospective calendar, the introduction of the KEP stands to provide a lighter release policy. Highlighting the benefits of going down to 3 releases –development, more room for trial, and conferences alongside release cycle preparations given the time availability they can leverage, resulting in better planning and predictability for the SIGs and their end-users.

The SIGs envisages that the higher predictability of the new release cadence allows more room for risk mitigation. The overhead planning gets reduced, while Kubernetes users have more time to get familiar with the most recent release. The quarterly release calendar is so fast that most organizations have opted to remain in the past releases. While it was a voluntary decision for some, others could not risk having their activities within the 3-months interval of minor updates.

SIG intends to launch a survey to know what the community thinks about the new release cycle immediately after enforcing the KEP and releasing the first three minor versions.

SIG release team and end-users have a release policy to abide by in the KEP, “lightweight policy for creating release schedules for Kubernetes,” as it is written, enables them to be beneficiaries of prior release schedule knowledge.

However, the KEP doesn’t change everything in the previous release paradigm, enhancing graduation with no interference. SIGs has an unwavering responsibility to monitor and graduate enhancements under the SIG Architecture umbrella. The new release comes with a few more weeks of dedication to the development, which many believe SIGs should invest in testing and documentation,  not including more features. The Kubernetes community over the years has accumulated a humongous amount in tech debt emanating from testing, documentation, policy, and infrastructure. This KEP proposes a change with the time provided. It has been noted that participation on the release team has also been reduced.


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