Amazon EKS extended support for Kubernetes versions available in preview


Today, we’re announcing the preview of Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) extended support for Kubernetes versions. You can now run Amazon EKS clusters on a Kubernetes version for up to 26 months from the time the version is generally available on Amazon EKS. Extended Support is available as a free preview for all Amazon EKS customers, starting today with Kubernetes version 1.23.

For open-source software, like Kubernetes, versions are a critical construct that enables collaboration and helps ensure compatibility across an ecosystem of projects. As part of the shared responsibility model in Amazon EKS, customers have to keep clusters up-to-date, but the pace and complexity of Kubernetes versions can be challenging for enterprises to keep up with. We want to help make Kubernetes version upgrades easier.

Amazon EKS extended support gives customers the flexibility to plan Kubernetes version upgrades, without compromising on the security posture of their clusters. Here are some common scenarios in which we think customers will find extended support to be useful:

Navigating code freezes: Sometimes, you may have to freeze your environments in preparation for business-critical events such as holiday season, financial reporting at the end of the fiscal year, product launches, etc. Instead of having to scramble to plan for a version deprecation, extended support allows you to prioritize your business and perform your upgrades when they are most convenient for you.

Managing third-party dependencies: You may be using custom or third-party software in your clusters that enables security controls, infrastructure management function, etc. There are times where vendors are delayed in the release and qualification of controllers and other software on certain versions of Kubernetes. In this case, extended support gives you and the vendor time to test and release qualified version of software.

How does extended support for Kubernetes versions work?

The Kubernetes project maintains release branches for the most recent three minor versions. Each version receives support from the Kubernetes community for 14 months after the stable release (dot 0). When this support ends, the upstream project no longer accepts bug reports or releases patches for the version. The Amazon EKS standard version support window matches this upstream support period. With extended support, Amazon EKS clusters will keep running on a version for up to 12 months after the 14-month initial support period. At the end of the 14 months of standard support for a Kubernetes version, clusters running on that version will automatically enter extended support. There’s no action or configuration changes required. At the end of the extended support period, any clusters using the deprecated version automatically upgrade to the next-oldest version. If you don’t want your cluster to use extended support for a Kubernetes version, you can upgrade it at any time to a version in the standard support window.

What’s included?

Amazon EKS clusters in extended support receive ongoing security patches for the Kubernetes control plane. Additionally, Amazon EKS releases critical patches for Amazon VPC CNI, kube-proxy, and CoreDNS add-ons, AWS-published EKS Optimized Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) for Amazon Linux and Bottlerocket, and EKS Fargate nodes for Kubernetes versions in extended support. All clusters in extended support are backed by technical support from AWS.

While extended support covers all of the Kubernetes specific components from AWS, it will only provide support for AWS-published EKS Optimized AMIs for Amazon Linux and Bottlerocket. This means, you will potentially have newer components such as Operating System (OS), Kernels, etc. on your AWS-published EKS Optimized AMI while using extended support. For example, once Amazon Linux 2 reaches end of its lifecycle in 2025, the AWS-published EKS Optimized Amazon Linux AMIs will be built using newer Amazon Linux OS. Amazon EKS will announce and document important support lifecycle discrepancies such as this for each Kubernetes version.

Today, extended support does not include support for other Amazon EKS add-ons such as the Amazon EBS CSI driver, Amazon EFS CSI driver, AWS Distro for OpenTelemetry (ADOT), Amazon GuardDuty agent, AWS Marketplace add-ons for EKS, Windows AMIs, and Amazon EKS Distro.

Available now in Preview

Extended support for Kubernetes versions is available in preview for all Amazon EKS clusters running Kubernetes version 1.23 and higher. There is no additional action to take or configuration changes required. Clusters running version 1.23 will automatically upgrade to version 1.24 in October 2024 when the extended support period for version 1.23 ends.

During the preview, there is no additional cost to run a cluster with extended support. When extended support is generally available in early 2024, there will be an additional charge per cluster hour for all clusters running an extended support version. Alternatively, you can upgrade the cluster at any time to a standard support version, which remain on the existing Amazon EKS Pricing.

Extended support for Kubernetes versions gives Amazon EKS customers more choice when upgrading their clusters. Along with recent changes to the control plane/node skew policy announced with Amazon EKS version 1.28, you’ll be able to upgrade your cluster less often while continuing to have full security patching, bug fixes, and support from AWS. To see supported Amazon EKS versions and important release dates, be sure to bookmark our release calendar.

Arnav Mediratta

Arnav Mediratta

Arnav is a Senior Product Manager on the Amazon EKS team focusing on delivering features that delight customers and improve their experience managing Kubernetes on AWS