Last updated at Tue, 03 May 2022 20:43:34 GMT

Kubernetes rolled out Version 1.24 on May 3, 2022, as its first release of 2022. This version is packed with some notable improvements, as well as new and deprecated features. In this post, we will cover some of the more significant items on the list.

The Dockershim removal

The new release has caught the attention of most users, mainly due to the official removal of Dockershim, a built-in Container Runtime Interface (CRI) in the Kubelet codebase, which has been deprecated since v1.20.

Docker is essentially a user-friendly abstraction layer, created before Kubernetes was introduced. Docker isn’t compliant with CRI, which is why Dockershim was needed in the first place. However, upon discovering maintenance overhead and weak points involving Docker and containerd, it was decided to remove Docker completely, encouraging users to utilize other CRI-compliant runtimes.

Docker-produced images are still able to run with all other CRI compliant runtimes, as long as worker nodes are configured to support those runtimes and any node customizations are properly updated based on the environment and runtime requirements. The release team also published an FAQ article dedicated entirely to the Dockershim removal.

Better security with short-lived tokens

A major update in this release is the reduction of secret-based service account tokens. This is a big step toward improving the overall security of service account tokens, which until now remained valid as long as their respective service accounts lived.

Now, with a much shorter lifespan, these tokens are significantly less susceptible to security risks, preventing attackers from gaining access to the cluster and from leveraging multiple attack vectors such as privileged escalations and lateral movement.

Network Policy status

Network Policy resources are implemented differently by different Container Network Interface (CNI) providers and often apply certain features in a different order.

This can lead to a Network Policy not being honored by the current CNI provider — worst of all, without notifying the user about the situation.

In this version, a new subresource status is added that allows users to receive feedback on whether a NetworkPolicy and its features have been properly parsed and help them understand why a particular feature is not working.

This is another great example of how developers and operation teams can benefit from features like this one, alleviating the often involved pain with troubleshooting a Kubernetes network issue.

CSI volume health monitoring

Container Storage Interface (CSI) drivers can now load an external controller as a sidecar that will check for volume health, and they can also provide extra information in the NodeGetVolumeStats function that Kubelet already uses to gather information on the volumes.

In this version, the Volume Health information is exposed as kubelet VolumeStats metrics. The kubelet_volume_stats_health_status_abnormal metric will have a persistentvolumeclaim label with a value of “1” if the volume is unhealthy, or “0” otherwise.

Additional noteworthy changes in Kubernetes Version 1.24

A few other welcome changes include new features like implementing new changes to the kubelet agent, Kubernetes’ primary component that runs on each node. Dockershim-related CLI flags were removed due to its deprecation. Furthermore, the Dynamic Kubelet Configuration feature, which allows dynamic Kubelet configurations, has been officially removed in this version, after it was announced as deprecated in earlier versions. This removal aims to simplify code and to improve its reliability.

Furthermore, the newly added kubectl create token command allows easier creation and retrieval of tokens for the Kubernetes API access and control management, or SIG-Auth.

This new command significantly improves automation processes throughout the CI/CD pipelines and will accelerate roles-based access control (RBAC) policy changes as well as hardening TokenRequest endpoint validations.

Lastly, a useful added feature for cluster operators is to identify Windows pods at API admission level authoritatively. This can be crucial for managing Windows containers by applying better security policies and constraints based on the operating system.

The first release for 2022 mainly introduces improvements towards providing helpful feedback for users, reducing the attack surface and improving security posture all around. The official removal of Dockershim support will push organizations and users to adapt and align with infrastructure changes, moving forward with new technology developments in Kubernetes and the cloud in general.

Additional reading:


Get the latest stories, expertise, and news about security today.