Alpha Clusters

This page provides an overview of Kubernetes alpha features, and how to use them with Kubernetes Engine alpha clusters.

Overview

You can experiment with Kubernetes alpha features by creating an alpha cluster. Alpha clusters are short-lived clusters that run stable Kubernetes releases with all Kubernetes APIs and features enabled. Alpha clusters are designed for advanced users and early adopters to experiment with workloads that take advantage of new features before those features are production-ready.

Alpha clusters cannot be upgraded and are automatically deleted after 30 days. You can use Alpha clusters just like normal Kubernetes Engine clusters.

Alpha clusters are not covered by the Kubernetes Engine SLA.

Creating an alpha cluster

Console

  1. Visit the Kubernetes Engine menu in GCP Console.

    Visit the Kubernetes Engine menu

  2. Click Create cluster.

  3. Configure your cluster as desired. Then, select Enable Kubernetes alpha features in this cluster.
  4. Click Create.

gcloud

To create an alpha cluster, run the following command:

gcloud alpha container clusters create [CLUSTER_NAME] \
--enable-kubernetes-alpha [--zone=[COMPUTE_ZONE]]

where [CLUSTER_NAME] is the name you choose for the cluster and [COMPUTE_ZONE] is the Compute Engine compute zone in which to create the cluster. The optional --zone flag overrides the default compute/zone property set by gcloud config set compute/zone.

You are prompted to acknowledge a warning that the Alpha Cluster is not upgraded and is deleted after 30 days:

This will create a cluster with all Kubernetes Alpha features enabled.
- This cluster will not be covered by the Kubernetes Engine SLA and should
  not be used for production workloads.
- You will not be able to upgrade the master or nodes.
- The cluster will be deleted after 30 days.

After you have acknowledged the warning, run the following command to get authentication credentials for the cluster:

gcloud container clusters get-credentials [CLUSTER-NAME]

Ensure that your data is migrated from Alpha Clusters before they expire. To check when your Alpha Clusters expire, run:

gcloud container clusters list

Latest Kubernetes alpha features

Most Kubernetes releases contain new Alpha features that you can test in alpha clusters. For a full list of Kubernetes releases and the features they include, refer to the Kubernetes changelog.

About feature stages

New Kubernetes features are introduced in four stages: early development, alpha, beta, and stable.

To ensure stability and production quality, normal Kubernetes Engine clusters only enable features that are beta or higher. Alpha features are not enabled on normal clusters because they are not production-ready or upgradeable.

Since Kubernetes Engine automatically upgrades the Kubernetes control plane, enabling alpha features in production could jeopardize the reliability of the cluster if there are breaking changes in a new version.

To learn more about the stages of Kubernetes features, refer to Alpha, Beta, and Stable Versions in the Kubernetes documentation.

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