Google Kubernetes Engine Best Practices

Best practices for running Agones on Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE).


On this page, we’ve collected several Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) best practices.

Release Channels


We recommend using Release Channels for all GKE clusters. Using Release Channels has several advantages:

  • Google automatically manages the version and upgrade cadence for your Kubernetes Control Plane and its nodes.
  • Clusters on a Release Channel are allowed to use the No minor upgrades and No minor or node upgrades scope of maintenance exclusions - in other words, enrolling a cluster in a Release Channel gives you more control over node upgrades.
  • Clusters enrolled in rapid channel have access to the newest Kubernetes version first. Agones strives to support the newest release in rapid channel to allow you to test the newest Kubernetes soon after it’s available in GKE.

What channel should I use?

We recommend the regular channel, which offers a balance between stability and freshness. See this guide for more discussion.

If you need to disallow minor version upgrades for more than 6 months, consider choosing the freshest Kubernetes version possible: Choosing the freshest version on rapid or regular will extend the amount of time before your cluster reaches end of life.

What versions are available on a given channel?

You can query the versions available across different channels using gcloud:

gcloud container get-server-config \
  --region=[COMPUTE_REGION] \
  --flatten="channels" \

Replace the following:

Managing Game Server Disruption on GKE

If your game session length is less than an hour, use the eviction API to configure your game servers appropriately - see Controlling Disruption.

For sessions longer than an hour, there are currently two possible approaches to manage disruption:

  • (GKE Standard/Autopilot) Blue/green deployment at the cluster level: If you are using an automated deployment process, you can:

    • create a new, green cluster within a release channel e.g. every week,
    • use maintenance exclusions to prevent node upgrades for 30d, and
    • scale the Fleet on the old, blue cluster down to 0, and
    • use multi-cluster allocation on Agones, which will then direct new allocations to the new green cluster (since blue has 0 desired), then
    • delete the old, blue cluster when the Fleet successfully scales down.
  • (GKE Standard only) Use node pool blue/green upgrades

Last modified July 23, 2024: Graduate Passthrough Port Policy to Beta on Autopilot (#3916) (205e87e)