OpenShift Operator Life Cycles

This document outlines and describes software maintenance Life Cycle classifications which are being introduced for Operators shipped by Red Hat for use with OpenShift Container Platform.

OpenShift Operators bring additional functionality and extend the capabilities of an OpenShift cluster. Red Hat provides a large number of Operators through the OpenShift OperatorHub, entitled and supported per their corresponding product offering. Each offering and subsequent Operator, may be subject to its own release cadence and maintenance life cycle. With the installation of each Operator, cluster administrators should be aware of their corresponding life cycle, ensuring support boundaries are understood and adhered to.

Red Hat is simplifying this task with the introduction of three new maintenance Life Cycle classifications; Platform Aligned, Platform Agnostic and Rolling Stream. Each of these outline criteria in the form of minimum capability and support timeline an Operator should meet. This is in effect starting with OpenShift 4.14 or newer. Operator version lines not available on OCP 4.14 or newer do not fall into this categorization.

Platform Aligned

Life cycle strategy consisting of multiple maintenance streams, with alignment to OpenShift Container Platform.

Platform Agnostic

Life cycle strategy consisting of multiple maintenance streams, released independently from OpenShift Container Platform.

Rolling Stream

A single, rolling stream of Operator updates.

Platform Aligned Operators

The following operators are released and maintained closely bound to the support lifecycle of the underlying OpenShift Container Platform (OCP) cluster.

Released as part of, or within 1 month of the new OCP minor version the operator aligns with, the operator shares the same boundaries of full support and maintenance support phases. While operators in this category will still be compatible with older OCP versions, cluster administrators can expect support duration through the aligned OCP cluster version, and remain on a given minor version branch of the operator, enabling simplified validation and upgrade strategies. Customers are still expected to apply patches to the operator to receive the newest bug fix and security advisories.

Platform Agnostic Operators

The following operators are released independent of OpenShift Container Platform releases, allowing for an increased frequency to introduce new features.

Operators will typically have multiple minor version branches supported in parallel on an OCP release, but each will generally have a shorter life cycle than that of a given OCP release. Customers can select the desired minor version using the respective OLM release channel of the operator package. Customers need to anticipate the need to update to a newer minor version of the operator at the end of the operator lifecycle of the current version or when planning to update the OCP cluster to stay supported. While a given operator minor version may not support the latest available OCP release, there will always be a version of the operator available for every supported version of OpenShift at any given point in time.

Rolling-Stream Operators

The following operators have a single rolling stream in which fixes and features are introduced.

Released independently and with a variable cadence, cluster administrators should expect to continually validate Rolling Stream Operators and upgrade to remain in a support status. New releases are required to support all in-maintenance OpenShift Container Platform versions, ensuring a cluster administrator could remain on an non current cluster version and still be supported.

The following operators have a single rolling stream release and do not publish version information.

Footnotes