Select a managed Anthos Service Mesh release channel

Anthos Service Mesh releases updates often, to deliver security updates, fix known issues, and introduce new features. Release channels, which are available for managed Anthos Service Mesh, offer you the ability to balance between stability and the feature set of the Anthos Service Mesh version. Anthos Service Mesh release channels are similar conceptually to GKE release channels but are independent of GKE release channels. Google automatically manages the version and upgrade cadence for each release channel.

Available release channels

The following release channels are available. Each channel offers a trade-off between feature availability and update churn. Features in each channel have a different maturity level.

Channel New managed Anthos Service Mesh availability Properties
Rapid After each Anthos Service Mesh release Get the latest Anthos Service Mesh release as early as possible, and be able to use new features the moment they are included in a release. Your control plane is frequently updated to stay on the latest available patch version, and deliver newer capabilities. The Rapid channel is best used to test newer Anthos Service Mesh versions and APIs on pre-production environments.
Regular Rapid is promoted to Regular* Access Anthos Service Mesh and Istio features reasonably soon after they debut, but on a version that has been qualified over a longer period of time. Offers a balance of feature availability and release stability, and is what we recommend for most users.
Stable Regular is promoted to Stable* Prioritize stability over new functionality. Changes and new versions in this channel are rolled out last, after being validated on the Rapid and Regular channels which allows even more time for validation.
*The promotion schedule to the next channel depends on multiple factors, including the open source Istio release, Anthos release, and patching schedule, and therefore is subject to change. To stay informed with the latest information, add the URL of the Anthos Service Mesh release notes to your feed reader, or add the feed URL directly:

When a minor version of managed Anthos Service Mesh has sufficient usage and demonstrated stability in the Rapid channel, it is promoted to the Regular channel. Eventually, the minor version is promoted to the Stable channel, which only receives high-priority updates and security patches. Each promotion signals a graduating level of stability and production-readiness, based on observed performance of the control plane running that version.

Critical security patches are delivered to all release channels, to protect your clusters and Google's infrastructure.

All channels are based on a generally available (GA) release (although individual features may not always be GA, as marked). New Anthos Service Mesh versions are first released to the Rapid channel, and over time are promoted to the Regular, and Stable channel. This allows you to select a channel that meets your business, stability, and functionality needs.

How to select a release channel

When you apply the Google-managed control plane and the optional Google-managed data plane, three channels become available for your cluster: Regular, Rapid, and Stable. You can configure a namespace in your cluster to use a channel by applying a revision label. Like other Kubernetes labels, a revision label is a key-value pair. The key in a revision label is always, but the value varies. To select a release channel, you apply one of the follow revision names to your namespaces:

Revision name Channel
asm-managed Regular
asm-managed-rapid Rapid
asm-managed-stable Stable

For example, to apply the Regular release channel to a namespace:

kubectl label namespace NAMESPACE --overwrite

We recommend that you use the same release channel on a cluster.

To see what release channel a namespace is using:

kubectl get namespace NAMESPACE -o jsonpath='{.metadata.labels.istio\.io/rev}{"\n"}'

Anthos Service Mesh versions per channel

The following table shows the current channel to Anthos Service Mesh version mapping:

Channel ASM Version
Rapid 1.12
Regular 1.11
Stable 1.10

Update unmanaged proxies

After each Anthos Service Mesh release, restart the unmanaged proxies for your services and gateways. Although the service mesh is fine when the control plane and proxies are at different versions, we recommend that you update the proxies so that they are configured with the new Anthos Service Mesh version.

  1. Check the control plane and proxy version.

  2. If the control plane version is newer than the proxy version, restart the unmanaged proxies for your services and gateways.

    kubectl rollout restart deployment -n NAMESPACE