Kubernetes 1.26 Update Closes Out 2022 Development Efforts

The Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) for Kubernetes today made available a 1.26 update that adds 37 enhancements, 16 of which represent new capabilities. Eleven other capabilities are graduating to stable while 10 are moving from alpha to beta.

Capabilities now available in alpha include a metrics framework, Component Health Service Level Indicators, an application programming interface (API) for admission control and a range of pod scheduling capabilities.

Features previously available in beta that are now graduated include support for privileged Windows containers along with CPUManager and DeviceManager tools.

Arguably, the most critical feature moving into beta is the ability to sign release artifacts using a keyless approach for binary artifacts and images.

Leonard Pahlke, release lead for Kubernetes 1.26 and a consultant for Liquid Relay, said this update mainly addresses operational issues rather than adding any major new capabilities given the shorter amount of time between the release of 1.26 and 1.25 compared to 1.24.

A recent Datadog report suggests that many enterprise IT organizations are not keeping pace with updates as versions of Kubernetes are released three times a year. The report finds that the most widely employed instance of Kubernetes is version 1.21 which officially reached end-of-life earlier this year. The challenge is not just rolling out updates to the core platform, but also making sure applications don’t break as application programming interfaces (APIs) are either added or deprecated from the core platform. As a result, many curators of Kubernetes distributions continue to support older versions of the platform.

In the meantime, the number of workloads being deployed on Kubernetes is starting to climb. In addition to machine learning workloads, more instances of Kubernetes are starting to be deployed at the network edge.

There are also more stateful applications being deployed on Kubernetes clusters, even though Pahlke notes that, in general, it is simpler to deploy stateless applications that access external rather than internal storage.

Finally, Pahlke says that in the future the TOC may want to address energy consumption issues to improve sustainability as organizations start to deploy fleets of Kubernetes clusters.

It’s not clear how quickly IT teams will embrace Kubernetes 1.26. At the very least, there is a map to follow as organizations plan their future upgrade strategies, including which APIs they may use that have been deprecated.

Despite these challenges, however, adoption of Kubernetes continues to increase in the enterprise. A recent Portworx by Pure Storage survey of 500 full-time IT department employees finds more than three-quarters of respondents (79%) work for organizations that have increased their use of Kubernetes clusters over the last two years, with 87% expecting Kubernetes to play an even larger role over the next two years.

The primary reasons for increased Kubernetes use are the need to increase levels of automation (56%) followed by reduced IT costs (53%), the need to deploy applications faster (49%) and digital transformation initiatives spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic (48%). Nearly three-quarters of respondents (72%) say they believe that the pandemic accelerated the overall adoption of Kubernetes.

In general, the level of disruption attached to each upgrade is finally becoming more manageable as Kubernetes continues to mature.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

Mike Vizard has 1621 posts and counting. See all posts by Mike Vizard