API Organization and Structure

The programmatic interface to your Kubernetes Engine cluster has two principal APIs: The Kubernetes Engine API (and the associated gcloud command-line interface) and the Kubernetes API (and the associated kubectl command-line interface).

Kubernetes Engine API

You use the Kubernetes Engine API and gcloud command-line interface primarily for configuring your cluster on Google Cloud Platform. This might include tasks such as:

  • Creating a cluster.
  • Deleting a cluster.
  • Configuring cluster-level networking, such as rotating the cluster master IP or enabling network policy enforcement.
  • Updating the version of Kubernetes running on the cluster.
  • Adding, removing, or modifying node pools in your cluster.
  • Setting the machine type or node image used for your cluster's nodes.
  • Configuring the geographic zones or regions in which your cluster runs.

Kubernetes Engine API versioning

The Kubernetes Engine API has three groups:

  • v1 for generally available features.
  • v1alpha1 for alpha features.
  • v1beta1 for beta features.

Similarly, Kubernetes Engine gcloud commands are divided into three groups:

To learn how to use Kubernetes Engine beta features through the v1beta1 API, refer to Kubernetes Engine Beta Features.

Kubernetes Engine beta features

When new features for Kubernetes Engine are released to beta, they are made available through the v1beta1 API.

To use gcloud commands for Kubernetes Engine beta features, just run gcloud beta container clusters commands.

As features "graduate" from beta to general availability, the commands move from the v1beta1 API to the v1 API, and from the gcloud beta container track to the gcloud container track in the command-line interface). The commands might undergo small changes during this transition. Any breaking changes are only made after a deprecation warning and must maintain a three month period of backward compatibility.

Kubernetes API

You use the Kubernetes API and kubectl command-line interface for managing your cluster's containerized applications and workloads. This might include tasks such as:

  • Deploying an application
  • Scaling an application
  • Configuring intra-cluster networking settings
  • Configuring Pods and Containers
  • Controlling when pods are evicted or restarted

Kubernetes API versioning

Kubernetes supports multiple API versions, each at a different API path such as /api/v1 or /apis/extensions/v1beta1. You must specify the API version when writing object configuration files or when interacting with the API directly.

The API is versioned separately from Kubernetes itself. For more information on API versioning, refer to the Kubernetes API versioning documentation.

Was this page helpful? Let us know how we did:

Send feedback about...

Kubernetes Engine