A new version of Kubernetes just dropped – here’s what’s inside

·        Version 1.28 is the second of three releases planned for this year

·        New features include the introduction of sidecar containers and custom resource definition

·        The Kubernetes update is the latest in a frenzy of releases from the CNCF

There are few things in life as certain as taxes and another Kubernetes release, according to Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) Team Lead Grace Nguyen. And right on schedule, a new version of the latter just dropped.

Nguyen spearheaded development of the newly released Kubernetes v1.28, which brings a number of “new themes” to the table, including the introduction of sidecar containers, custom resource definition (CRD) validation expression improvements, support for restarting workloads impacted by non-graceful node shutdowns and more

The goal of the CRD validation feature is to enable most validation use cases to be handled by inline expressions rather than by a webhook. Meanwhile, the tool for non-graceful shutdowns allows stateful workloads to be transferred to a different node in the event of an unexpected shutdown due to hardware failure or a frozen operating system, a GitHub blog about the release states.

Additional features mentioned on the blog include: a mixed version proxy to smooth the operation of clusters containing multiple API servers with mixed versions; the addition of generic control plane staging repositories; and support for node system memory swaps, among others.

Kubernetes v1.28 is the second of three releases this year — a schedule that scaled back in 2021 from four releases to three to account for the project’s maturation and the number of enhancements needed per cycle.

“With the project’s growth, we're receiving more and more enhancements or features that come in every release,” Nguyen told Silverlinings. “We're getting bigger and bigger,” but the team is staying relatively the same size, “so that’s a challenge for us.”

She noted that the third release of the year (which is not yet scheduled) will have even fewer team members, due to the merging of its Triage and CI Signal teams.

This merger was made possible by successfully migrating from tracking its features on a massive Excel sheet to a GitHub project board — which removes a lot of the Triage team’s workload. “So going forward, [the] direction that we're taking is to add more technologies and code to help us filter and look through the [pull requests] (PRs) faster,” ideally reducing the team’s size challenges.  

“It's hard to put into context, the amount of work that folks put into this release,” Nguyen concluded. “We have literally thousands of contributors behind the features of this release, and then the folks on the release team itself who help coordinate. So [we] always want to point out and celebrate the work that people put into this free, open-source thing that we do together.”

The Kubernetes release follows a rapid-fire frenzy of updates at CNCF, all supporting the larger Kubernetes environment. The announcements included the graduation of project Istio and CRI-O, the Flux project announcing general availability and the CNCF Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) voting to accept Kubeflow as a new incubating project.