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Upgrade Plan for Amazon EKS v1.23

In a short few weeks, on 11th Oct, 2023, Kubernetes clusters based on Amazon EKS v1.23 will reach end of support. In this blog, we describe Rafay's reference implementation of a fleet upgrade plan that will help users perform in-place upgrades of their EKS v1.23 clusters to EKS v1.24 with zero risk to application downtime.



With End of Support imminent in weeks, organizations that are actively using Amazon EKS clusters based on Kubernetes v1.23 need to quickly upgrade to v1.24 or higher before their clusters fall out of support.

Upgrading EKS clusters is just basic infrastructure work. Right? So, why do so many organizations struggle to keep their clusters current?

We consistently hear from customers that performing in-place upgrades of EKS clusters are actually extremely tricky because of issues such as API and capability deprecation issues across Kubernetes versions. Unless issues like this are not proactively addressed before an upgrade is performed, the resident applications can go down resulting in unnecessary downtime.

Rafay's Fleet Feature

Rafay's Fleet was specifically developed to help organizations address two foundational issues with Kubernetes upgrades and more.

Highly Tuned Upgrade Plan

Organizations can create highly customized upgrade plans that allow them to perform upgrades with zero downtime/impact to applications etc.

Doing Upgrades at Scale

Performing upgrades of a fleet of Kubernetes clusters in an Organization one-by-one can be extremely painful and cumbersome. With Rafay's fleet, organizations can orchestrate the automation of upgrades of an entire cluster fleet.

This capability builds on the "upgrade plan" allowing operations personnel to target an entire cluster fleet based on cluster labels.


The Rafay Fleet capability is currently in Early Access. Please contact your CSM or support or account executive to get this enabled in your Org.

Rafay's Reference Implementation

The reference implementation we are announcing with this blog and making available to everyone is a highly tuned, tested and validated upgrade plan specifically for users currently on EKS v1.23 to get them to EKS v1.24 with zero impact to the resident applications. The general process will like the diagram shown below.


Users can use the reference implementation as is and can customize this further for their specific environments.

graph LR;

 subgraph pre[Preflight Checks]
  direction TB
  api[Deprecated APIs];
  docker[Docker Socket <br>in Use];
  pdb[PDB <br>Not Configured];

 subgraph fixapp[Updates & Fixes]
  apps[Update Manifests <br> for Every Issue]

 subgraph cluster[EKS Cluster]
  direction TB
  cp[Upgrade <br>Control Plane];
  cp-->ng1[Upgrade <br>Node Group 1];
  cp-->ng2[Upgrade <br>Node Group n];

 subgraph post[Post Upgrade Checks]
  direction LR
  app[App Health <br> Namespace ];

 pre --Identify Issues--> fixapp;
 fixapp --Cluster Ready <br>for Upgrade--> cluster;
 cluster --Cluster Upgrade <br> Successful--> post;

 classDef k8s fill:#326ce5,stroke:#fff,stroke-width:4px,color:#fff;
 classDef cluster fill:#fff,stroke:#bbb,stroke-width:2px,color:#326ce5;

 class cp,service,ng1,ng2 k8s;
 class api,docker,pdb,app k8s;
 class client plain;
 class cluster pre,post,cluster;


1. I provisioned my EKS clusters myself outside Rafay. Can I still use Rafay's reference implementation and fleet plan?

Yes! You can also use the preflight test workflows on imported EKS clusters. However, Rafay will not have the ability to perform the actual upgrade itself unless you convert the imported EKS cluster to managed.


It is a simple 30 second process to have Rafay takeover lifecycle management of the EKS cluster.

2. We are currently on EKS v1.24 or higher. Will Rafay provide reference implementations of the upgrade plan for these versions of Kubernetes as well?

Yes. The EOS of EKS v1.24 is Jan 30, 2024. We expect to provide a reference implementation for this version in the coming weeks with specialized tests for deprecated features in these versions of Kubernetes.

3. We are using Azure AKS. Will Rafay provide reference implementations of the upgrade plan for AKS versions as well?

Yes. We are actively working on these as well and expect these to be available shortly.

4. I do not wish to perform in-place upgrades of EKS. Does Rafay support other options such as Blue/Green?

Yes. We have several customers that have been using Rafay's tested and documented Blue/Green approach for EKS upgrades.

Try It Out for Free

Interested in learning more about Rafay?

Sign up here for a free trial and try it out yourself. We have invested heavily on curated Get Started Guides that will help you try out the Reference Implementation of the Fleet Upgrade Plans.

Sincere thanks to readers of our blog who spend time reading our product blogs. Please Contact the Rafay Product Team if you have additional questions.