Proposes adding a --feature-config to core kube system components: apiserver , scheduler, controller-manager, kube-proxy, and selected addons. This flag will be used to enable/disable alpha features on a per-component basis.


Motivation is enabling/disabling features that are not tied to an API group. API groups can be selectively enabled/disabled in the apiserver via existing --runtime-config flag on apiserver, but there is currently no mechanism to toggle alpha features that are controlled by e.g. annotations. This means the burden of controlling whether such features are enabled in a particular cluster is on feature implementors; they must either define some ad hoc mechanism for toggling (e.g. flag on component binary) or else toggle the feature on/off at compile time.

By adding a--feature-config to all kube-system components, alpha features can be toggled on a per-component basis by passing enableAlphaFeature=true|false to --feature-config for each component that the feature touches.


The following components will all get a --feature-config flag, which loads a config.ConfigurationMap:

  • kube-apiserver
  • kube-scheduler
  • kube-controller-manager
  • kube-proxy
  • kube-dns

(Note kubelet is omitted, it’s dynamic config story is being addressed by #29459). Alpha features that are not accessed via an alpha API group should define an enableFeatureName flag and use it to toggle activation of the feature in each system component that the feature uses.

Suggested conventions

This proposal only covers adding a mechanism to toggle features in system components. Implementation details will still depend on the alpha feature’s owner(s). The following are suggested conventions:

  • Naming for feature config entries should follow the pattern “enable=true”.
  • Features that touch multiple components should reserve the same key in each component to toggle on/off.
  • Alpha features should be disabled by default. Beta features may be enabled by default. Refer to docs/devel/api_changes#alpha-beta-and-stable-versions for more detailed guidance on alpha vs. beta.

Upgrade support

As the primary motivation for cluster config is toggling alpha features, upgrade support is not in scope. Enabling or disabling a feature is necessarily a breaking change, so config should not be altered in a running cluster.

Future work

  1. The eventual plan is for component config to be managed by versioned APIs and not flags (#12245). When that is added, toggling of features could be handled by versioned component config and the component flags deprecated.