Kubernetes Version Upgrade Cloud Orchestration Overview

For an orchestrated Kubernetes version upgrade you need to first create a Kubernetes Upgrade Orchestration Strategy, or plan for the automated Kubernetes version upgrade procedure.

You can customize the Kubernetes version upgrade orchestration by specifying the following parameters:

  • The host types to be upgraded; only worker-apply-type is supported.

  • The alarm restriction mode; strict or relaxed where the relaxed mode allows the strategy to be created while there are alarms present that are not management-affecting.

  • The concurrency of the upgrade process; whether to Kubernetes version upgrade hosts serially or in parallel.

  • The maximum number of worker hosts that can be upgraded together when parallel mode is selected.

For hosts that have the stx-openstack application running with active instances and since the Kubernetes version upgrade is a reboot required operation for a host, the strategy offers stop/start or migrate options for managing instances over the lock/unlock (reboot) steps in the upgrade process.

You must use the sw-manager` CLI tool to create, and then apply the upgrade strategy. A created strategy can be monitored with the show command.

Kubernetes version upgrade orchestration automatically iterates through all unlocked-enabled hosts on the system looking for hosts with the worker function that need Kubernetes version upgrades and then proceeds to upgrade them on the strategy apply action.


Controllers (including AIO controllers) are upgraded before worker-only hosts. Since storage hosts do not run Kubernetes, no upgrade is performed, although they may still be patched.

After creating the Kubernetes Version Upgrade Orchestration Strategy, you can either apply the entire strategy automatically, or manually apply individual stages to control and monitor the Kubernetes version upgrade progress one stage at a time.

When the Kubernetes version upgrade strategy is applied, if the system is All-in-one, the controllers are upgraded first, one after the other with a swact in between, followed by the remaining worker hosts according to the selected worker apply concurrency (serial or parallel) method.

By default, strategies upgrade the worker hosts serially unless the parallel worker apply type option is specified, which configures the Kubernetes version upgrade process for worker hosts to be in parallel (up to a maximum parallel number). This reduces the overall Kubernetes version upgrade installation time.

The upgrade takes place in two phases. The first phase upgrades the patches (controllers, storage and then workers), and the second phase upgrades Kubernetes based on those patches (controllers, then hosts).

  1. Alarm query. This step is an upgrade pre-check.

  2. Initiate the Kubernetes version upgrade.

  3. Download Kubernetes Images.

  4. Upgrade the first Control Plane.

  5. Upgrade Kubernetes networking.

  6. Upgrade the second control plane (on duplex environments only).

  7. Patch the hosts.

    1. Patch controller nodes if they are not AIO.

    2. Patch storage nodes.

    3. Patch worker nodes (this includes AIO controllers).

  8. Upgrade Kubelets on the hosts (controllers then workers. If controllers are AIO they are processed before regular workers).

    1. Swact if the host is the active controller.

    2. Lock the host.

    3. Upgrade kubelet.

    4. Unlock the host.

    5. Restore VMs (if applicable).

  9. Complete the Kubernetes version upgrade.

Systems with stx-openstack application enabled could include additional instance management steps. For more information, see Kubernetes Version Upgrade Operations Requiring Manual Migration.

On systems with stx-openstack application, the Kubernetes Version Upgrade Orchestration Strategy considers any configured server groups and host aggregates when creating the stages in order to reduce the impact to running instances. The Kubernetes Version Upgrade Orchestration Strategy automatically manages the instances during the strategy application process. The instance management options include start-stop or migrate.

  • start-stop: Instances are stopped following the actual Kubernetes upgrade but before the lock operation and then automatically started again after the unlock completes. This is typically used for instances that do not support migration or for cases where migration takes too long. To ensure this does not impact the high-level service being provided by the instance, the instance(s) should be protected and grouped into an anti-affinity server group(s) with its standby instance.

  • migrate: Instances are moved off a host following the Kubernetes upgrade but before the host is locked. Instances with Live Migration support are Live Migrated. Otherwise, they are Cold Migrated.

Manually Migrating Application Instances

On systems with the stx-openstack application there may be some instances that cannot be migrated automatically by orchestration. In these cases the instance migration must be managed manually.

Do the following to manage the instance re-location manually:

  • Manually perform a Kubernetes version upgrade of at least one openstack-compute worker host. This assumes that at least one openstack-compute worker host does not have any instances, or has instances that can be migrated. For more information on manually updating a host, see Manual Kubernetes Version Upgrade.

  • If the migration is prevented by limitations in the VNF or virtual application, perform the following:

    1. Create new instances on an already upgraded openstack-compute worker host.

    2. Manually migrate the data from the old instances to the new instances.


      This is specific to your environment and depends on the virtual application running in the instance.

    3. Terminate the old instances.

  • If the migration is prevented by the size of the instances local disks, then for each openstack-compute worker host that has instances that cannot be migrated, manually move the instances using the CLI.

Once all openstack-compute worker hosts containing instances that cannot be migrated have been Kubernetes-version upgraded, Kubernetes version upgrade orchestration can be used to upgrade the remaining worker hosts.