The Kubernetes API
The Kubernetes API lets you query and manipulate the state of API objects in Kubernetes (for example: Pods, Namespaces, ConfigMaps, and Events).
Most operations can be performed through the kubectl command-line interface or other command-line tools, such as kubeadm, which in turn use the API. However, you can also access the API directly using REST calls.
Consider using one of the client libraries if you are writing an application using the Kubernetes API.
Complete API details are documented using OpenAPI.
The Kubernetes API server serves an OpenAPI spec via the
You can request the response format using request headers as follows:
|not supplying this header is also acceptable|
|mainly for intra-cluster use|
Kubernetes implements an alternative Protobuf based serialization format that is primarily intended for intra-cluster communication. For more information about this format, see the Kubernetes Protobuf serialization design proposal and the Interface Definition Language (IDL) files for each schema located in the Go packages that define the API objects.
Kubernetes stores the serialized state of objects by writing them into etcd.
API groups and versioning
To make it easier to eliminate fields or restructure resource representations,
Kubernetes supports multiple API versions, each at a different API path, such
Versioning is done 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-life and/or experimental APIs.
API resources are distinguished by their API group, resource type, namespace (for namespaced resources), and name. The API server handles the conversion between API versions transparently: all the different versions are actually representations of the same persisted data. The API server may serve the same underlying data through multiple API versions.
For example, suppose there are two API versions,
v1beta1, for the same
resource. If you originally created an object using the
v1beta1 version of its
API, you can later read, update, or delete that object
using either the
v1beta1 or the
v1 API version.
Any system that is successful needs to grow and change as new use cases emerge or existing ones change. Therefore, Kubernetes has designed the Kubernetes API to continuously change and grow. The Kubernetes project aims to not break compatibility with existing clients, and to maintain that compatibility for a length of time so that other projects have an opportunity to adapt.
In general, new API resources and new resource fields can be added often and frequently. Elimination of resources or fields requires following the API deprecation policy.
Kubernetes makes a strong commitment to maintain compatibility for official Kubernetes APIs
once they reach general availability (GA), typically at API version
Kubernetes keeps compatibility even for beta API versions wherever feasible:
if you adopt a beta API you can continue to interact with your cluster using that API,
even after the feature goes stable.
Note: Although Kubernetes also aims to maintain compatibility for alpha APIs versions, in some circumstances this is not possible. If you use any alpha API versions, check the release notes for Kubernetes when upgrading your cluster, in case the API did change.
Refer to API versions reference for more details on the API version level definitions.
The Kubernetes API can be extended in one of two ways:
- Custom resources let you declaratively define how the API server should provide your chosen resource API.
- You can also extend the Kubernetes API by implementing an aggregation layer.
- Learn how to extend the Kubernetes API by adding your own CustomResourceDefinition.
- Controlling Access To The Kubernetes API describes how the cluster manages authentication and authorization for API access.
- Learn about API endpoints, resource types and samples by reading API Reference.
- Learn about what constitutes a compatible change, and how to change the API, from API changes.