Primary system and API concepts are documented in the User guide.
Overall API conventions are described in the API conventions doc.
Remote access to the API is discussed in the access doc.
The Kubernetes API also serves as the foundation for the declarative configuration schema for the system. The Kubectl command-line tool can be used to create, update, delete, and get API objects.
Kubernetes also stores its serialized state (currently in etcd) in terms of the API resources.
Kubernetes itself is decomposed into multiple components, which interact through its API.
In our experience, any system that is successful needs to grow and change as new use cases emerge or existing ones change. Therefore, we expect the Kubernetes API to continuously change and grow. However, we intend to not break compatibility with existing clients, for an extended period of time. In general, new API resources and new resource fields can be expected to be added frequently. Elimination of resources or fields will require following a deprecation process. The precise deprecation policy for eliminating features is TBD, but once we reach our 1.0 milestone, there will be a specific policy.
What constitutes a compatible change and how to change the API are detailed by the API change document.
Complete API details are documented using Swagger v1.2. The Kubernetes apiserver (aka “master”) exposes an API that can be used to retrieve the Swagger Kubernetes API spec, by default at located at
/swaggerapi, and a UI to browse the API documentation at
We also host a version of the latest API documentation UI. This is updated with the latest release, so if you are using a different version of Kubernetes you will want to use the spec from your apiserver.
Kubernetes implements an alternative Protobuf based serialization format for the API that is primarily intended for intra-cluster communication, documented in the design proposal and the IDL files for each schema are located in the Go packages that define the API objects.
To make it easier to eliminate fields or restructure resource representations, Kubernetes supports
multiple API versions, each at a different API path, such as
We chose to version at the API level rather than at the resource or field level to ensure that the API presents a clear, consistent view of system resources and behavior, and to enable controlling access to end-of-lifed and/or experimental APIs. The JSON and Protobuf serialization schemas follow the same guidelines for schema changes - all descriptions below cover both formats.
Note that API versioning and Software versioning are only indirectly related. The API and release versioning proposal describes the relationship between API versioning and software versioning.
Different API versions imply different levels of stability and support. The criteria for each level are described in more detail in the API Changes documentation. They are summarized here:
Xis an integer.
To make it easier to extend the Kubernetes API, we are in the process of implementing API
groups. These are simply different interfaces to read and/or modify the
same underlying resources. The API group is specified in a REST path and in the
of a serialized object.
Currently there are two API groups in use:
/api/v1and is not specified as part of the
/apis/extensions/$VERSION, and which uses
apiVersion: extensions/$VERSION(e.g. currently
apiVersion: extensions/v1beta1). This holds types which will probably move to another API group eventually.
In the future we expect that there will be more API groups, all at REST path
apiVersion: $API_GROUP/$VERSION. We expect that there will be a way for third parties to
create their own API groups, and to avoid naming collisions.
DaemonSets, Deployments, HorizontalPodAutoscalers, Ingress, Jobs and ReplicaSets are enabled by default.
Other extensions resources can be enabled by setting runtime-config on
apiserver. runtime-config accepts comma separated values. For ex: to disable deployments and jobs, set