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Kubewarden stack versioning

The Kubewarden project uses Semantic versioning to define the "stack" version of all its components: the version follows the MAJOR.MINOR.PATCH pattern. The supported version is only the latest release.

The Kubewarden components that follow the rules for the "stack" version are:

  • kubewarden-crds chart, in their appVersion field.
  • kubewarden-controller chart, in their appVersion field.
  • kubewarden-defaults chart, in their appVersion field.
  • policy-server image tag for manually deployed ones. The resource for the default one is already managed by the kubewarden-defaults chart.
  • kwctl binary.

Stack version compatibility among components

kubewarden-crds chart, kubewarden-controller chart, kubewarden-defaults chart, any manually deployed policy-server image, and kwctl should run the same MAJOR/MINOR. The PATCH version can increase independently though.

Therefore, if the kubewarden-controller version running is 1.1.x, the policy-servers and kwctl version in use should be 1.1.x as well.

Helm chart versions

Helm charts define the version field and the appVersion field. The appVersion field informs of the Kubewarden "stack" version as talked before. The version field also follows Semantic versioning and informs of backwards-compatible changes in the chart templates and values.yaml.

Upgrade paths

When upgrading components, it is allowed to upgrade multiple PATCH stack versions in a single operation. However, the upgrade of multiple MAJOR or MINOR stack versions in a single upgrade is not supported.

Upgrade path suppport graph

For example, the user is allowed to upgrade components from version 1.1.10 to 1.1.50 in a single upgrade. But the upgrade from 1.1.10 to 1.5.0 is not supported. In these cases, the user must upgrade individually to each MAJOR/MINOR version between the two versions. Therefore, it's necessary to upgrade 1.1.10 to 1.2.0 then 1.3.0 then 1.4.0 and finally to 1.5.0. Users that want to upgrade one MAJOR version to another, also need to follow all the MINOR updates between the two MAJOR versions.

Upgrade order

Kuberwarden users should upgrade the stack starting with the kubewarden-crds chart, then the kubewarden-controller chart. After that, upgrade the policy-server (via kubewarden-defaults chart or bumping the images of custom ones) and kwctl.


Downgrades are not supported, and haven't been tested. Nevertheless, there's a reasonable expectation that they should work.

SDKs, policies

Policy SDKs for the different languages, and policies maintained by the Kubewarden team follow their own semantic versioning and are supported on their latest release. There is no need for an upgrade path for them, just a bump to the latest release.

Changes to the Kubewarden stack may mean that policies and SDKs receive updates to make use of the latest Kubewarden features. Care is taken to perform these updates in a backwards-compatible manner.

For example, a Kubewarden minor version adding support for Audit Scanner (v1.7.0) means that policies gained a new spec.backgroundAudit field, optional, backwards-compatible and set to true by default.