This guidance does not cover layered OpenShift Container Platform offerings.

API tiers for bare-metal configurations also apply to virtualized configurations except for any feature that directly interacts with hardware. Those features directly related to hardware have no application operating environment (AOE) compatibility level beyond that which is provided by the hardware vendor. For example, applications that rely on Graphics Processing Units (GPU) features are subject to the AOE compatibility provided by the GPU vendor driver.

API tiers in a cloud environment for cloud specific integration points have no API or AOE compatibility level beyond that which is provided by the hosting cloud vendor. For example, APIs that exercise dynamic management of compute, ingress, or storage are dependent upon the underlying API capabilities exposed by the cloud platform. Where a cloud vendor modifies a prerequisite API, Red Hat will provide commercially reasonable efforts to maintain support for the API with the capability presently offered by the cloud infrastructure vendor.

Red Hat requests that application developers validate that any behavior they depend on is explicitly defined in the formal API documentation to prevent introducing dependencies on unspecified implementation-specific behavior or dependencies on bugs in a particular implementation of an API. For example, new releases of an ingress router may not be compatible with older releases if an application uses an undocumented API or relies on undefined behavior.

API tiers

All commercially supported APIs, components, and features are associated under one of the following support levels:

API tier 1

APIs and application operating environments (AOEs) are stable within a major release for a minimum of 12 months or 3 minor releases from the announcement of deprecation, whichever is longer. The release that introduces a new or revised API or AOE, and the two following minor releases (n, n+1, n+2).

API tier 2

APIs and AOEs are stable within a major release for a minimum of 9 months or 3 minor releases from the announcement of deprecation, whichever is longer.

API tier 3

This level applies to languages, tools, applications, and optional Operators included with OpenShift Container Platform through Operator Hub. Each component will specify a lifetime during which the API and AOE will be supported. Newer versions of language runtime specific components will attempt to be as API and AOE compatible from minor version to minor version as possible. Minor version to minor version compatibility is not guaranteed, however.

Components and developer tools that receive continuous updates through the Operator Hub, referred to as Operators and operands, should be considered API tier 3. Developers should use caution and understand how these components may change with each minor release. Users are encouraged to consult the compatibility guidelines documented by the component.

API tier 4

No compatibility is provided. API and AOE can change at any point. These capabilities should not be used by applications needing long-term support.

It is common practice for Operators to use custom resource definitions (CRDs) internally to accomplish a task. These objects are not meant for use by actors external to the Operator and are intended to be hidden. If any CRD is not meant for use by actors external to the Operator, the operators.operatorframework.io/internal-objects annotation in the Operators ClusterServiceVersion (CSV) must be specified, and that signals that the corresponding resource is internal use only.

Mapping API tiers to API groups

For each API tier defined by Red Hat, we provide a mapping table for specific API groups where the upstream communities are committed to maintain forward compatibility. Any API group that does not specify an explicit compatibility level is assigned API tier 3 by default.

Support for Kubernetes API groups

API groups that end with the suffix *.k8s.io `or have the form `version.<name> with no suffix are governed by the Kubernetes deprecation policy and follow a general mapping between API version exposed and corresponding support tier unless otherwise specified.

API version example API tier

v1

Tier 1

v1beta1

Tier 2

v1alpha1

Tier 4

Support for OpenShift API groups

API groups that end with the suffix *.openshift.io are governed by the OpenShift Container Platform deprecation policy and follow a general mapping between API version exposed and corresponding compatibility level unless otherwise specified.

API version example API tier

apps.openshift.io/v1

Tier 1

authorization.openshift.io/v1

Tier 1, some tier 1 deprecated

build.openshift.io/v1

Tier 1, some tier 1 deprecated

config.openshift.io/v1

Tier 1

image.openshift.io/v1

Tier 1

network.openshift.io/v1

Tier 1

network.operator.openshift.io/v1

Tier 1

oauth.openshift.io/v1

Tier 1

imagecontentsourcepolicy.operator.openshift.io/v1alpha1

Tier 1

project.openshift.io/v1

Tier 1

quota.openshift.io/v1

Tier 1

route.openshift.io/v1

Tier 1

quota.openshift.io/v1

Tier 1

security.openshift.io/v1

Tier 1 except for RangeAllocation (tier 4) and *Reviews (tier 2)

template.openshift.io/v1

Tier 1

console.openshift.io/v1

Tier 2

Support for Monitoring API groups

API groups that end with the suffix monitoring.coreos.com have the following mapping:

API version example API tier

v1

Tier 1

API deprecation policy

OpenShift Container Platform is composed of many components sourced from many upstream communities. It is anticipated that the set of components, the associated API interfaces, and correlated features will evolve over time and might require formal deprecation in order to remove the capability.

Deprecating parts of the API

OpenShift Container Platform is a distributed system where multiple components interact with a shared state managed by the cluster control plane through a set of structured APIs. Per Kubernetes conventions, each API presented by OpenShift Container Platform is associated with a group identifier and each API group is independently versioned. Each API group is managed in a distinct upstream community including Kubernetes, Metal3, Multus, Operator Framework, Open Cluster Management, OpenShift itself, and more.

While each upstream community might define their own unique deprecation policy for a given API group and version, Red Hat normalizes the community specific policy to one of the compatibility levels defined prior based on our integration in and awareness of each upstream community to simplify end-user consumption and support.

The deprecation policy and schedule for APIs vary by compatibility level.

The deprecation policy covers all elements of the API including:

  • REST resources, also known as API objects

  • Fields of REST resources

  • Annotations on REST resources, excluding version-specific qualifiers

  • Enumerated or constant values

Other than the most recent API version in each group, older API versions must be supported after their announced deprecation for a duration of no less than:

API tier Duration

Tier 1

12 months or 3 releases from the announcement of deprecation, whichever is longer.

Tier 2

9 months or 3 releases from the announcement of deprecation, whichever is longer.

Tier 3

See the component-specific schedule.

Tier 4

None. No compatibility is guaranteed.

The following rules apply to all tier 1 APIs:

  • API elements can only be removed by incrementing the version of the group.

  • API objects must be able to round-trip between API versions without information loss, with the exception of whole REST resources that do not exist in some versions. In cases where equivalent fields do not exist between versions, data will be preserved in the form of annotations during conversion.

  • API versions in a given group can not deprecate until a new API version at least as stable is released, except in cases where the entire API object is being removed.

Deprecating CLI elements

Client-facing CLI commands are not versioned in the same way as the API, but are user-facing component systems. The two major ways a user interacts with a CLI are through a command or flag, which is referred to in this context as CLI elements.

All CLI elements default to API tier 1 unless otherwise noted.

Element API tier

Generally available (GA)

Flags and commands

Tier 1

Technology Preview

Flags and commands

Tier 3

Developer Preview

Flags and commands

Tier 4

Deprecating an entire component

The duration and schedule for deprecating an entire component maps directly to the duration associated with the highest API tier of an API exposed by that component. For example, a component that surfaced APIs with tier 1 and 2 could not be removed until the tier 1 deprecation schedule was met.

API tier Duration

Tier 1

12 months or 3 releases from the announcement of deprecation, whichever is longer.

Tier 2

9 months or 3 releases from the announcement of deprecation, whichever is longer.

Tier 3

See the component-specific schedule.

Tier 4

None. No compatibility is guaranteed.