Upgrade Istio using istioctl [Experimental]

The istioctl experimental upgrade command performs an upgrade of Istio. Before performing the upgrade, it checks that the Istio installation meets the upgrade eligibility criteria. Also, it alerts the user if it detects any changes in the profile default values between Istio versions.

The upgrade command can also perform a downgrade of Istio.

See the istioctl upgrade reference for all the options provided by the istioctl experimental upgrade command.

Upgrade prerequisites

Ensure you meet these requirements before starting the upgrade process:

Upgrade steps

The commands in this section should be run using the new version of istioctl which can be found in the bin/ subdirectory of the downloaded package.

  1. Download the new Istio release and change directory to the new release directory.

  2. Verify that istoctl supports upgrading from your current Istio version by viewing the supported versions list:

    $ istioctl manifest versions
  3. Ensure that your Kubernetes configuration points to the cluster to upgrade:

    $ kubectl config view
  4. Begin the upgrade by running this command:

    $ istioctl experimental upgrade -f `<your-custom-configuration-file>`

    <your-custom-configuration-file> is the IstioControlPlane API Custom Resource Definition file you used to customize the installation of the currently-running version of Istio.

    istioctl upgrade does not support the --set flag. Therefore, if you installed Istio using the --set command, create a configuration file with the equivalent configuration options and pass it to the istioctl upgrade command using the -f flag instead.

    If you omit the -f flag, Istio upgrades using the default profile.

    After performing several checks, istioctl will ask you to confirm whether to proceed.

  5. istioctl will install the new version of Istio control plane and indicate the completion status.

  6. After istioctl completes the upgrade, you must manually update the Istio data plane by restarting any pods with Istio sidecars:

    $ kubectl rollout restart deployment

Downgrade prerequisites

Ensure you meet these requirements before starting the downgrade process:

  • Istio version 1.4 or higher is installed.

  • Your Istio installation was installed using istioctl.

  • Downgrade must be done using the istioctl binary version that corresponds to the Istio version that you intend to downgrade to. For example, if you are downgrading from Istio 1.4 to 1.3.3, use istioctl version 1.3.3.

Downgrade to Istio 1.4 and higher versions steps

You can also use istioctl upgrade to downgrade versions. The process steps are identical to the upgrade process mentioned in the previous section, only use the istioctl binary corresponding to the lower version. When completed, the process will restore Istio back to the Istio version that was installed before you ran istioctl experimental upgrade.

Downgrade to Istio 1.3.3 and lower versions steps

The istioctl experimental upgrade command is not available in Istio 1.3.3 and lower. Therefore, downgrade must be performed using the istioctl experimental manifest apply command.

This command installs the same Istio control plane as istioctl experimental upgrade, but does not perform any checks. For example, default values applied to the cluster for a configuration profile may change without warning.

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