Without supporting information and guidance, updates can be daunting! In our research sessions, we heard from you: Channels can be confusing, and your overall update experience could benefit from a better understanding of how they work. You told us there’s “little visibility into what happens during an update,” and we agreed. Now, we’re excited to unveil the improvements we’ve made to simplify and detail the update process.
For OpenShift’s 4.6 release, we focused on making cluster updates as simple and transparent as possible. We made channel and version information accessible and streamlined the update process by providing recommended update paths. In addition, 4.6 informs you on Operator and Node progress and communicates when new versions and channels become available to take the guesswork out of cluster updates.
Let’s take a closer look at the enhancements we’ve made so far.
Find information on channels and versions
Learn more about how OpenShift handles updates with the addition of in-context help and direct links to channel documentation and release notes. Providing access to this information in the console makes it easy to view changes made in each release and guides you to the correct channel for appropriate release versions. As you navigate through the update process, in-context help surfaces in popovers.
View recommended update paths and available channels
The new channel visualization guides users to select the correct channel and update version.
Your cluster can be in one of three states, indicated under the Update Status heading::
- Up to date 🎉
- Available updates in your current channel
- Available updates in your current channel and a new channel is also available
Let’s explore the third scenario and break down what you’ll see on screen.
Access the channel visualization from the Details tab of the Cluster Settings page. There, the channel visualization displays your cluster update status on a graph with two lines: the channel you're currently on and your next available channel.
The blue line signifies your current channel. The current version (4.3.18) and the farthest recommended jump (4.3.22) are both marked with blue dots. Below them, a gray line signifies the next available channel.
At this time, we only support showing the next available channel in the channel visualization, even if multiple channels are available.
You can interact with the graph to access additional information on versions in that particular channel. For example, clicking the version name like 4.3.22 surfaces a popover with a link to view the corresponding version's release notes.
Access versions between your current version and farthest recommended jump by clicking + More.
Finally, changing the channel by clicking on the pencil icon, will allow you to see versions you can update to when they become available.
Monitor Operator and Node progress during an update
In addition to the new channel visualization, we added more transparency around what happens to Operators and Nodes during an update. As a result, we created an in-progress checklist to illustrate the progress of Cluster Operators, Master Nodes, and Worker Nodes.
Once you confirm and begin an update, you’ll be able to monitor Operator and Node progress in the Update Status section on the Cluster Settings screen.
Once the Cluster Operators and Master Nodes progress bars reach 100%, the update status will change from “In progress”, to “Up to date.” Worker Nodes may keep updating after Master Nodes and Cluster Operators finish. If your Worker Nodes are still progressing, they will remain under the channel visualization until their update is complete.
In an upcoming release, the in-progress visualization will support custom machine role types (like Infra Nodes.
What if a failing condition occurs during an update?
If critical issues arise during an update, you can use the View conditions link to view further details. This link navigates you to the Cluster Version details page, where you can view condition types and their corresponding troubleshoot messages.
We’re still working on improving and refining our critical issue alert system. Until then, the Cluster version details page offers resources to help you troubleshoot the issue at hand.
We added a new Recommendations section to the notification drawer. Recommendation notifications communicate optional actions about situations in which the required action is already known. These situations often require contextual knowledge about your system before taking action, or they may have potential consequences associated with them.
Three new recommendation notifications were added to help you select the correct channel and version to update to.
The new notifications will inform you when:
- A new patch becomes available.
- A new minor release becomes available.
- A new channel becomes available.
The future of cluster update enhancements
The enhancements we’ve rolled out in 4.6 are just the beginning. Be on the lookout for more to come in the future, as we are always growing and evolving our improvements to OpenShift.
If you’re just getting started with OpenShift or you’d like to try our cluster update enhancements, visit Try OpenShift to get instant access to a cluster.
Let us know your thoughts––we’d love to connect with users like you. Stay up to speed with the OpenShift design team on our OpenShift Design site, and be sure to catch us on the OpenShift Twitch channel.