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CRD Management

Gateway API is built with CRDs. That comes with a number of significant benefits, notably that each release of Gateway API supports the 5 more recent minor versions of Kubernetes. That means you likely won't need to upgrade your Kubernetes cluster to get the latest version of this API.

Unfortunately, this extra flexibility also adds some room for confusion. This guide aims to answer some of the most common questions related to Gateway API CRD management.

Who Should Manage CRDs?

Ultimately CRDs are a highly-privileged cluster-scoped resource. That means that either a cluster admin or cluster provider should be responsible for managing the CRDs in a cluster.

Practically that means that any of the following are reasonable approaches:

  • Cluster admin installs CRDs
  • Cluster provisioning tool or provider installs and manages CRDs

Some implementations may also want to bundle CRDs to simplify installation. This is acceptable as long as they never:

  1. Overwrite Gateway API CRDs that have unrecognized or newer versions.
  2. Overwrite Gateway API CRDs that have a different release channel.
  3. Remove Gateway API CRDs.

Issue #2678 explores one possible approach implementations could use to accomplish this.

Upgrading to a new version

Gateway API releases CRDs in two release channels. Sticking with standard channel CRDs will ensure CRD upgrades are both simpler and safer.

Overall Guidelines

  1. Avoid moving backwards. New versions of CRDs can add new fields and features. Rolling back to a previous version of these CRDs could result in a loss of that configuration.
  2. Read the release notes before upgrading. In some cases, they may contain some guidelines you need to follow before upgrading.
  3. Understand the Gateway API versioning policy so you know what can change.
  4. Although it is usually safe to upgrade across multiple Gateway API minor versions at once, the safest and most widely tested path will involve upgrading one minor version at a time.

Validating Webhook

A validating webhook was included with earlier versions of Gateway API. Starting in v1.0, that webhook has formally been deprecated in favor of the CEL validation included directly within CRDs. In Gateway API v1.1, the webhook will be fully removed. That means that the validating webhook is no longer a consideration when upgrading to newer Gateway API versions.

API Version Removal


This is an advanced use case that is currently only applicable to users that have been using Gateway API since v0.5.0 within the same cluster.

It's possible that a Gateway API release will remove an alpha API version like v1alpha2 in CRDs that have newer or more stable API versions. Within the Standard Channel, the removal of an API version is spread into at least four minor releases:

  1. A newer API version is configured as the storage version.
  2. Version is deprecated (will be noted in release notes and via deprecation warning when using deprecated API version).
  3. Version is no longer served but is still included in the CRD for the sake of automatic translation between API versions.
  4. Version is no longer included in the CRD.

If you were using a CRD that went through this process (including the storage version migration), it's possible that some of your resources are stuck on the older (deprecated) storage version. When a CRD storage version is updated, that only takes effect when the individual resources using that CRD are saved again.

For example, if you created a "foo" GatewayClass using Gateway API v0.5.0 CRDs, the storage version of that GatewayClass would be v1alpha2. If that "foo" GatewayClass had never been modified or updated by the time you would not be able to upgrade to Gateway API v1.0.0 CRDs because one of our resources was still using v1alpha2 as a storage version and that was no longer included in the CRD (step 4 above).

To be able to upgrade, you'd need to take some action that would update any GatewayClasses that were using the old storage versions. For example, sending an empty kubectl patch to each GatewayClass would have this effect. Fortunately there's a tool that can automate this for us - kube-storage-version-migrator will automatically update resources to ensure they're using the latest storage version.

Experimental Channel

As the name implies, Experimental Channel does not provide the same stability guarantees that Standard Channel does. When it comes to a minor release, any of the following are possible for Experimental Channel CRDs:

  • Breaking changes for existing API fields or resources
  • Removing API fields or resources without prior deprecation

In practice this means that some upgrades to new Experimental versions may require you to uninstall and reinstall the Experimental CRDs. If that is ever the case, it will be clearly communicated in the release notes.