CAPZ Releases

Release Cadence

CAPZ minor versions (that is, 1.5.0 versus 1.4.x) are released every two months.

CAPZ patch versions (for example, 1.5.2 versus 1.5.1) are released as often as weekly. Each week at the open office hours meeting, maintainers decide whether or not a patch release is called for based on community input. A patch release may bypass this cadence if circumstances warrant.

Release Support

The two most recent minor releases of CAPZ will be supported with bug fixes. Since minor releases arrive every two months, each minor release receives fixes for four months.

For example, let’s assume CAPZ v1.4.2 is the current release, and v1.3.2 is the latest in the previous minor release line. When v1.5.0 is released, it becomes the current release. v1.4.2 becomes the previous release line and remains supported. And v1.3.2 reaches end-of-life and no longer receives support through bug fixes.

Note that “support” in this context refers strictly to whether or not bug fixes are backported to a release line. Please see the support documentation for more general information about how to get help with CAPZ.

Bug Fixes and Test Improvements

Any significant user-facing bug fix that lands in the main branch should be backported to the current and previous release lines. Security-related fixes are automatically considered significant and user-facing.

Improvements or significant changes to tests should be backported to the current release line. This is intended to minimize friction in the event of a critical test fix. Test improvements or changes may sometimes need to be backported to the previous release line in the event that tests break on all release branches.

Experimental API Changes

Experimental Cluster API features (for example, AzureManagedCluster) may evolve more rapidly than graduated v1 features. CAPZ allows general changes, enhancements, or additions in this area to be cherry-picked into the current release branch for inclusion in patch releases. This will accelerate the effort to graduate experimental features to the stable API by allowing faster adoption and iteration.

Breaking changes are also allowed in experimental APIs; those changes will not be included in a patch release, but will be introduced in a new minor release, with appropriate release notes.

Timing of Merges

Sometimes pull requests touch a large number of files and are more likely to create challenges for the automated cherry-pick process. In such cases, maintainers may prefer to delay merging such changes until the end of a minor release cycle.

Release Process

Update metadata.yaml (skip for patch releases)

  • Make sure the metadata.yaml file is up to date and contains the new release with the correct cluster-api contract version.
    • If not, open a PR to add it.

Change milestone (skip for patch releases)

  • Create a new GitHub milestone for the next release
  • Change milestone applier so new changes can be applied to the appropriate release
    • Open a PR in to change this line
      • Example PR:

Update test capz provider metadata.yaml (skip for patch releases)

Using that same next release version used to create a new milestone, update the the capz provider metadata.yaml that we use to run PR and periodic cluster E2E tests against the main branch templates.

For example, if the latest stable API version of capz that we run E2E tests against is v1beta, and we’re releasing v1.4.0, and our next release version is v1.5.0, then we want to ensure that the metadata.yaml defines a contract between 1.5 and v1beta1:

  - major: 0
    minor: 5
    contract: v1alpha4
  - major: 1
    minor: 5
    contract: v1beta1

Additionally, we need to update the type: InfrastructureProvider spec in azure-dev.yaml to express that our intent is to test (using the above example) 1.5. By convention we use a sentinel patch version “99” to express “any patch version”. In this example we want to look for the type: InfrastructureProvider with a name value of v1.4.99 and update it to v1.5.99:

    - name: v1.5.99 # "vNext"; use manifests from local source files

Create a tag

Before you create a GPG-signed tag you may need to prepare your local environment’s TTY to properly hoist your signed key into the flow of the git tag command:

$ export GPG_TTY=$(tty)
  • Prepare the release branch. :warning: Always release from the release branch and not from main!
    • If releasing a patch release, check out the existing release branch and make sure you have the latest changes:
      • git checkout release-1.x
      • git fetch upstream
      • git rebase upstream/release-1.x
    • If releasing a minor release, create a new release branch from the main branch:
      • git fetch upstream
      • git rebase upstream/main
      • git checkout -b release-1.x
      • git push upstream release-1.x
  • Create tag with git
    • export RELEASE_TAG=v1.2.3 (the tag of the release to be cut)
    • git tag -s ${RELEASE_TAG} -m "${RELEASE_TAG}"
    • -s creates a signed tag, you must have a GPG key added to your GitHub account
    • git push upstream ${RELEASE_TAG}

This will automatically trigger a Github Action to create a draft release.

Promote image to prod repo

  • Images are built by the post push images job. This will push the image to a staging repository.
  • If you don’t have a GitHub token, create one by going to your GitHub settings, in Personal access tokens. Make sure you give the token the repo scope.
  • Wait for the above job to complete for the tag commit and for the image to exist in the staging directory, then create a PR to promote the image and tag:
    • export GITHUB_TOKEN=<your GH token>
    • make promote-images

This will automatically create a PR in and assign the CAPZ maintainers. Example PR:

For reviewers of the above-created PR, to confirm that the resultant image SHA-to-tag addition is valid, you can check against the staging repository.

Using the above example PR, to verify that the image identified by SHA d0636fad7f4ced58b5385615a53b7cb2053f79c4788bd299e0ac9e46a25b5053 has the expected v1.4.3, tag, you would inspect the image metadata by viewing it in the Google Container Registry UI:


Release in GitHub

  • Manually format and categorize the release notes
  • Ensure that the promoted release image is live. For example:
$ docker pull${RELEASE_TAG}


cluster-api-provider-azure follows the semantic versionining specification.

Example versions:

  • Pre-release: v0.1.1-alpha.1
  • Minor release: v0.1.0
  • Patch release: v0.1.1
  • Major release: v1.0.0

Expected artifacts

  1. A release yaml file infrastructure-components.yaml containing the resources needed to deploy to Kubernetes
  2. A cluster-templates.yaml for each supported flavor
  3. A metadata.yaml which maps release series to cluster-api contract version
  4. Release notes

Update Upstream Tests (skip for patch releases)

For major and minor releases we will need to update the set of capz-dependent test-infra jobs so that they use our latest release branch. For example, if we cut a new 1.3.0 minor release, from a newly created release-1.3 git branch, then we need to update all test jobs to use capz at release-1.3 instead of release-1.2.

Here is a reference PR that applied the required test job changes following the 1.3.0 minor release described above:


Update Netlify branch (skip for patch releases)

Go to the Netlify branches and deploy contexts in site settings and click “edit settings”. Update the “Production branch” to the new release branch and click “Save”. The, go to the Netlify site deploys and trigger a new deploy.

Netlify settings screenshot

Note: this step requires access to the Netlify site. If you don’t have access, please ask a maintainer to update the branch.



Consider whether anything should be updated in the roadmap document by answering the following questions:

  1. Have any of the Epics listed been entirely or largely achieved? If so, then the Epic should likely be removed and highlighted during the release communications.
  2. Are there any new Epics we want to highlight? If so, then consider opening a PR to add them and bringing them up in the next office hours planning meeting with the milestone review.
  3. Have any updates to the roadmap document occurred in the past 6 months? If not, it should be updated in some form.

If any changes need to be made, it should not block the release itself.

Patch Releases

  1. Announce the release in Kubernetes Slack on the #cluster-api-azure channel.

Minor/Major Releases

  1. Follow the communications process for pre-releases
  2. An announcement email is sent to and with the subject [ANNOUNCE] cluster-api-provider-azure <version> has been released