Testing for Deprecated Kubernetes APIs

Kubernetes API changes are coming up and I wanted to make a quick blog post to highlight what this means and show a few of things I have discovered to deal with the changes.

First, there have been some relevant announcements regarding the changes and deprecations recently. The first being the API Depractions in 1.16 announcement, which describes the changes to the API and some of the things to look at and do to fix problems

The next post is the Kubernetes 1.16 release announcement, which contains a section “Significant Changes to the Kubernetes API” that references the deprecation post.

Another excellent resource for learning about how Kubernetes deprecations work is the API deprecation documentation, highlighted in the deprecation post, but not widely shared.

In my opinion, the Kubernetes community really dropped the ball in terms of communicating these changes and missed an opportunity to describe and discuss the problems that these changes will create. I understand that the community is gigantic and it would be impossible to cover every case, but to me, the few blog posts describing the changes and not much other official communication or guides for how to handle and fix the impending problems is a little bit underwhelming.

The average user probably doesn’t pay attention to these blog posts, and there are a lot of old Helm charts out in the wild still, so I’m confident that the incoming changes will create headaches and table flips when people start upgrading. As an example, if you have an old API defined and running in a pre 1.16 cluster, and upgrade without fixing the API version first, APPS IN YOUR CLUSTER WILL BREAK. The good news is that new clusters won’t allow the old API versions, making errors easier to see and deal with.

Testing for and fixing deprecated APIs

With that mini rant out of the way, there is a simple but effective way to test your existing configurations for API compatibility.

Conftest is a nice little tool that helps write tests against structured configuration data, using the Rego language using Open Policy Agent (OPA). Conftest works with many file types including JSON, TOML and HCL, which makes it a great choice for testing a variety of different configurations, but is especially useful for testing Kubernetes YAML configurations.

To get started, install conftest.

wget https://github.com/instrumenta/conftest/releases/download/v0.15.0/conftest_0.15.0_Linux_x86_64.tar.gz
tar xzf conftest_0.15.0_Linux_x86_64.tar.gz
sudo mv conftest /usr/local/bin

Then we can use the handy policy provided by the deprek8 repo to validate the API versions.

curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/naquada/deprek8/master/policy/deprek8.rego > deprek8.rego
conftest test -p deprek8.rego sample/manifest.yaml

Here’s what a FAIL condition might look like according to what is defined in the rego policy file for an outdated API version.

FAIL - sample/manifest.yaml - Deployment/my-deployment: API extensions/v1beta1 for Deployment is no longer served by default, use apps/v1 instead.

The Rego policy is what actually defines the behavior that Conftest will display and as you can see, it found an issue with the Deployment object defined in the test manifest.

Below is the Rego policy that causes Conftest to spit out the FAILure message. The syntax is clean and easy to follow, so writing and adjusting policies is easy.

_deny = msg {
  resources := ["DaemonSet", "Deployment", "ReplicaSet"]
  input.apiVersion == "extensions/v1beta1"
  input.kind == resources[_]
  msg := sprintf("%s/%s: API extensions/v1beta1 for %s is no longer served by default, use apps/v1 instead.", [input.kind, input.metadata.name, input.kind])

Once you know what is wrong with the configuration, you can use the kubectl convert subcommand to fix up the existing deprecated API objects. Again, attempting to create objects using deprecated APIs in 1.16 will be rejected automatically by Kubernetes, so you will only need to deal with converting existing objects in old clusters being upgraded.

From the above error, we know the object type (Deployment) and the version (extensions/v1beta1). With this information we can run the convert command to fix the object.

# General syntax
kubectl convert -f <file> --output-version <group>/<version>

# The --output-version flag allows specifying the API version to upgrade to 
kubectl convert -f sample/manifest.yaml  --output-version apps/v1

# Omitting the --output-version flag will convert to the latest version
kubectl convert -f sample/manifest.yaml

After the existing objects have been converted and any manifest files have been updated you should be safe to upgrade Kubernetes.


There was a fantastic episode of TGIK awhile back called Kubernetes API Removal and You that describes in great detail what all of the deprections mean and how to fix them – definitely worth a watch if you have the time.


OPA and testing configurations using tools like conftest and Rego policies is a great way to harden and help standardize configurations. Taken a step further, these configuration testing tools can be extended to test all sorts of other things.

Conftest looks especially promising because of the number of file types that it understands. There is a lot of potential here for doing things like unit testing Kubernetes configuration files and other things like Terraform configs.

I haven’t written any Rego policies yet but the language looks pretty straight forward and easy to deal with. I think that as configurations continue to evolve, tools like Conftest (OPA), Kubeval and Kustomize will gain more traction and help simplify some of the complexities of Kubernetes.

Josh Reichardt

Josh is the creator of this blog, a system administrator and a contributor to other technology communities such as /r/sysadmin and Ops School. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.