Generic Release Process

This process applies to all releases other than feature releases, this includes:

  • Stable releases

If you intent to release a new feature release, see the Feature Release Process section instead.


The following commands have been validated when ran in the VM used in the Cilium development process. See Development Setup for detailed instructions about setting up said VM.

  1. Ensure that the necessary backports have been completed and merged. See Backporting process.

    1. Update GitHub project and create vX.Y.Z+1 project if applicable.
    2. Update PRs / issues that were added to the vX.Y.Z project, but didn’t make it into this release into the vX.Y.Z+1 project.
  2. Checkout the desired stable branch and pull it:

    git checkout v1.0; git pull
  3. Create a branch for the release pull request:

    git checkout -b pr/prepare-v1.0.3
  4. Update the VERSION file to represent X.Y.Z+1

  5. If this is the first release after creating a new release branch. Adjust the image pull policy for all .sed files in install/kubernetes/cilium/values.yaml from Always to IfNotPresent.

  6. Update Helm chart documentation

    1. Update version and appVersion in install/kubernetes/cilium/Chart.yaml
    2. Update version tag in install/kubernetes/cilium/values.yaml
  7. Update the image tag versions in the examples:

    make -C install/kubernetes clean all
  8. Update the cilium_version and cilium_tag variables in examples/getting-started/Vagrantfile

  9. Update the AUTHORS file

    make update-authors


    Check to see if the AUTHORS file has any formatting errors (for instance, indentation mismatches) as well as duplicate contributor names, and correct them accordingly.

  10. Generate the release notes by running the instructions provided in

  11. Set the right version for the CustomResourceDefinitionSchemaVersion in the pkg/k8s/client by following these instructions:

    Run ./Documentation/ vX.Y

  12. Add all modified files using git add and create a commit with the title Prepare for release v1.0.3.

  13. Add the generated release notes in the file

  14. Add all modified files using git add and create a pull request with the title Prepare for release v1.0.3. Add the backport label to the PR which corresponds to the branch for which the release is being performed, e.g. backport/1.0.


    Make sure to create the PR against the desired stable branch. In this case v1.0

  15. Follow standard procedures to get the aforementioned PR merged into the desired stable branch. See Submitting a pull request for more information about this process.

  16. Checkout out the stable branch and pull your merged changes:

    git checkout v1.0; git pull
  17. Build the container images and push them

    DOCKER_IMAGE_TAG=v1.0.3 make docker-image
    docker push cilium/cilium:v1.0.3
  18. Create release tags:

    git tag -a v1.0.3 -m 'Release v1.0.3'
    git tag -a 1.0.3 -m 'Release 1.0.3'


    There are two tags that correspond to the same release because GitHub recommends using vx.y.z for release version formatting, and ReadTheDocs, which hosts the Cilium documentation, requires the version to be in format x.y.z For more information about how ReadTheDocs does versioning, you can read their Versions Documentation.

  19. Push the git release tag

    git push --tags
  20. Build the binaries and push it to the release bucket: ./contrib/release/uploadrev v1.0.3

    This step will print a markdown snippet which you will need when crafting the GitHub release so make sure to keep it handy.

  21. Create a GitHub release:

    1. Choose the correct target branch, e.g. v1.0
    2. Choose the correct target tag, e.g. v1.0.3
    3. Title: 1.0.3
    4. Check the This is a pre-release box if you are releasing a release candidate.
    5. Fill in the release description with the output generated by
    6. Use contrib/release/ to fetch the official docker manifests for the release and add these into the Github release announcement.
    7. Preview the description and then publish the release
  22. Prepare Helm changes using the Cilium Helm Charts Repository and push the changes into that repository (not the main cilium repository):

    ./ /path/to/cilium/repository/checked/out/to/release/commit
    git push
  23. Prepare Helm changes using the Cilium Helm Charts Repository for the vX.Y helm charts, and push the changes into that repository (not the main cilium repository):

    In the cilium/cilium repository:

    1. git checkout vx.y -b vx.z-dev
    2. Change the VERSION file to x.y-dev
    3. Run make -C install/kubernetes

    In the cilium/charts repository:

    ./ /path/to/cilium/repository/checked/out/to/release/commit
    git push

    After pushing you can revert all the changes made in the local branch x.y-dev from cilium/cilium.

  24. Announce the release in the #general channel on Slack. Sample text:

    :cilium-new: **Announcement:** Cilium vX.Y.Z has been released :tada:
    <If security release or major bugfix, short summary of fix here>
    For more details, see the release notes:
  25. Update the README.rst#stable-releases section from the Cilium master branch

  26. Bump the version of Cilium used in the Cilium upgrade tests to use the new release

    Please reach out on the #development channel on Slack for assistance with this task.

  27. Update the stable tags for cilium, cilium-operator, and cilium-docker-plugin on DockerHub.

  28. Check if all docker images are available before announcing the release:

    make -C install/kubernetes/ check-docker-images
  29. Update the following external tools and guides to point to the released Cilium version. This step is only required on a new minor release like going from 1.8 to 1.9.