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Google Kubernetes Engine is the fully managed Kubernetes service from Google.

GKE offers two modes of operations: Standard and Autopilot:

  • Standard: Users manage the cluster’s underlying infrastructure. Node auto-upgrade is configurable but is enabled by default.
  • Autopilot: GKE provisions and manages the cluster’s underlying infrastructure, including nodes and node pools. Nodes are always upgraded automatically to the version of the control plane.

GKE performs automatic upgrades of your cluster control plane, regardless of whether your cluster is enrolled in a release channel or not. Control plane upgrades cannot be disabled.

GKE provides a total of 14 months of support for each Kubernetes minor version once the version has been made available in the Regular channel. Nodes and node pool versions can be up to two minor versions older than the control plane as per the Kubernetes version skew policy.

New GKE Standard clusters are created with a default version (currently 1.21.11-gke.900), a stable release of a recent Kubernetes minor version or patch release. Versions newer than the default are also generally available on a weekly basis. Autopilot clusters are enrolled in a release channel (defaults to standard) instead.

Release Channels

GKE offers 3 release channels: Rapid, Regular (default), and Stable. GKE automatically manages the version and upgrade cadence for a cluster and its node pools if it is enrolled in a release channel. All channels offer supported releases of GKE and are considered generally available (GA).

No Channel (Static)

Clusters with a a static GKE version are not enrolled in a release channel. Users are responsible for managing their upgrade strategy in this case. They must still adhere to the Kubernetes version and version skew support policy, and use supported GKE versions.

Google may automatically upgrade your nodes for security and compatibility purposes in select cases.

Security bulletins for GKE are published along with a RSS Feed. Please consult the upgrade guide before upgrading.

More information is available on the Google Kubernetes Engine website.

You should be running one of the supported release numbers listed above in the rightmost column.

You can check the version that you are currently using by running:
kubectl version

You can submit an improvement to this page on GitHub. This page has a corresponding Talk Page.

A JSON version of this page is available at /api/google-kubernetes-engine.json. See the API Documentation for more.