Upgrade an Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) cluster

As part of the lifecycle of an AKS cluster, you often need to upgrade to the latest Kubernetes version. It is important you apply the latest Kubernetes security releases, or upgrade to get the latest features. This article shows you how to upgrade the master components or a single, default node pool in an AKS cluster.

For AKS clusters that use multiple node pools or Windows Server nodes (currently in preview in AKS), see Upgrade a node pool in AKS.

Before you begin

This article requires that you are running the Azure CLI version 2.0.65 or later. Run az --version to find the version. If you need to install or upgrade, see Install Azure CLI.


An AKS cluster upgrade triggers a cordon and drain of your nodes. If you have a low compute quota available, the upgrade may fail. See increase quotas for more information.

Check for available AKS cluster upgrades

To check which Kubernetes releases are available for your cluster, use the az aks get-upgrades command. The following example checks for available upgrades to the cluster named myAKSCluster in the resource group named myResourceGroup:

az aks get-upgrades --resource-group myResourceGroup --name myAKSCluster --output table


When you upgrade an AKS cluster, Kubernetes minor versions cannot be skipped. For example, upgrades between 1.12.x -> 1.13.x or 1.13.x -> 1.14.x are allowed, however 1.12.x -> 1.14.x is not.

To upgrade, from 1.12.x -> 1.14.x, first upgrade from 1.12.x -> 1.13.x, then upgrade from 1.13.x -> 1.14.x.

The following example output shows that the cluster can be upgraded to versions 1.13.9 and 1.13.10:

Name     ResourceGroup     MasterVersion    NodePoolVersion    Upgrades
-------  ----------------  ---------------  -----------------  ---------------
default  myResourceGroup   1.12.8           1.12.8             1.13.9, 1.13.10

If no upgrade is available, you will get:

ERROR: Table output unavailable. Use the --query option to specify an appropriate query. Use --debug for more info.

Upgrade an AKS cluster

With a list of available versions for your AKS cluster, use the az aks upgrade command to upgrade. During the upgrade process, AKS adds a new node to the cluster that runs the specified Kubernetes version, then carefully cordon and drains one of the old nodes to minimize disruption to running applications. When the new node is confirmed as running application pods, the old node is deleted. This process repeats until all nodes in the cluster have been upgraded.

The following example upgrades a cluster to version 1.13.10:

az aks upgrade --resource-group myResourceGroup --name myAKSCluster --kubernetes-version 1.13.10

It takes a few minutes to upgrade the cluster, depending on how many nodes you have.


There is a total allowed time for a cluster upgrade to complete. This time is calculated by taking the product of 10 minutes * total number of nodes in the cluster. For example in a 20 node cluster, upgrade operations must succeed in 200 minutes or AKS will fail the operation to avoid an unrecoverable cluster state. To recover on upgrade failure, retry the upgrade operation after the timeout has been hit.

To confirm that the upgrade was successful, use the az aks show command:

az aks show --resource-group myResourceGroup --name myAKSCluster --output table

The following example output shows that the cluster now runs 1.13.10:

Name          Location    ResourceGroup    KubernetesVersion    ProvisioningState    Fqdn
------------  ----------  ---------------  -------------------  -------------------  ---------------------------------------------------------------
myAKSCluster  eastus      myResourceGroup  1.13.10               Succeeded            myaksclust-myresourcegroup-19da35-90efab95.hcp.eastus.azmk8s.io

Next steps

This article showed you how to upgrade an existing AKS cluster. To learn more about deploying and managing AKS clusters, see the set of tutorials.