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CNI spec versions


How to Upgrade to CNI Specification v1.0

CNI v1.0 has the following changes:

  • non-List configurations are removed
  • the version field in the interfaces array was redundant and is removed

libcni Changes in CNI v1.0

/pkg/types/current no longer exists

This means that runtimes need to explicitly select a version they support. This reduces code breakage when revendoring cni into other projects and returns the decision on which CNI Spec versions a plugin supports to the plugin’s authors.

For example, your Go imports might look like

import (
    cniv1 "github.com/containernetworking/cni/pkg/types/100"

Changes in CNI v0.4

CNI v0.4 has the following important changes:

  • A new verb, “CHECK”, was added. Runtimes can now ask plugins to verify the status of a container’s attachment
  • A new configuration flag, disableCheck, which indicates to the runtime that configuration should not be CHECK’ed

No changes were made to the result type.

How to upgrade to CNI Specification v0.3.0 and later

The 0.3.0 specification contained a small error. The Result structure’s ip field should have been renamed to ips to be consistent with the IPAM result structure definition; this rename was missed when updating the Result to accommodate multiple IP addresses and interfaces. All first-party CNI plugins (bridge, host-local, etc) were updated to use ips (and thus be inconsistent with the 0.3.0 specification) and most other plugins have not been updated to the 0.3.0 specification yet, so few (if any) users should be impacted by this change.

The 0.3.1 specification corrects the Result structure to use the ips field name as originally intended. This is the only change between 0.3.0 and 0.3.1.

Version 0.3.0 of the CNI Specification provides rich information about container network configuration, including details of network interfaces and support for multiple IP addresses.

To support this new data, the specification changed in a couple significant ways that will impact CNI users, plugin authors, and runtime authors.

This document provides guidance for how to upgrade:

Note: the CNI Spec is versioned independently from the GitHub releases for this repo. For example, Release v0.4.0 supports Spec version v0.2.0, and Release v0.5.0 supports Spec v0.3.0.

For CNI Users

If you maintain CNI configuration files for a container runtime that uses CNI, ensure that the configuration files specify a cniVersion field and that the version there is supported by your container runtime and CNI plugins. Configuration files without a version field should be given version 0.2.0. The CNI spec includes example configuration files for single plugins and for lists of chained plugins .

Consult the documentation for your runtime and plugins to determine what CNI spec versions they support. Test any plugin upgrades before deploying to production. You may find cnitool useful. Specifically, your configuration version should be the lowest common version supported by your plugins.

For Plugin Authors

This section provides guidance for upgrading plugins to CNI Spec Version 0.3.0.

General guidance for all plugins (language agnostic)

To provide the smoothest upgrade path, existing plugins should support multiple versions of the CNI spec. In particular, plugins with existing installed bases should add support for CNI spec version 1.0.0 while maintaining compatibility with older versions.

To do this, two changes are required. First, a plugin should advertise which CNI spec versions it supports. It does this by responding to the VERSION command with the following JSON data:

  "cniVersion": "1.0.0",
  "supportedVersions": [ "0.1.0", "0.2.0", "0.3.0", "0.3.1", "0.4.0", "1.0.0" ]

Second, for the ADD command, a plugin must respect the cniVersion field provided in the network configuration JSON . That field is a request for the plugin to return results of a particular format:

  • If the cniVersion field is not present, then spec v0.2.0 should be assumed and v0.2.0 format result JSON returned.

  • If the plugin doesn’t support the version, the plugin must error.

  • Otherwise, the plugin must return a CNI Result in the format requested.

Result formats for older CNI spec versions are available in the git history for SPEC.md .

For example, suppose a plugin, via its VERSION response, advertises CNI specification support for v0.2.0 and v0.3.0. When it receives cniVersion key of 0.2.0, the plugin must return result JSON conforming to CNI spec version 0.2.0.

Specific guidance for plugins written in Go

Plugins written in Go may leverage the Go language packages in this repository to ease the process of upgrading and supporting multiple versions. CNI Library and Plugins Release v0.5.0 includes important changes to the Golang APIs. Plugins using these APIs will require some changes now, but should more-easily handle spec changes and new features going forward.

For plugin authors, the biggest change is that types.Result is now an interface implemented by concrete struct types in the types/100, types/040, and types/020 subpackages.

Internally, plugins should use the latest spec version (eg types/100) structs, and convert to or from specific versions when required. A typical plugin will only need to do a single conversion when it is about to complete and needs to print the result JSON in the requested cniVersion format to stdout. The library function types.PrintResult() simplifies this by converting and printing in a single call.

Additionally, the plugin should advertise which CNI Spec versions it supports via the 3rd argument to skel.PluginMain().

Here is some example code

import (
	 current "github.com/containernetworking/cni/pkg/types/100"

func cmdAdd(args *skel.CmdArgs) error {
	// determine spec version to use
	var netConf struct {
		// other plugin-specific configuration goes here
	err := json.Unmarshal(args.StdinData, &netConf)
	cniVersion := netConf.CNIVersion

	// plugin does its work...
	//   set up interfaces
	//   assign addresses, etc
	// construct the result
	result := &current.Result{
		Interfaces: []*current.Interface{ ... },
		IPs: []*current.IPs{ ... },
	// print result to stdout, in the format defined by the requested cniVersion
	return types.PrintResult(result, cniVersion)

func main() {
	skel.PluginMain(cmdAdd, cmdDel, version.All)

Alternately, to use the result from a delegated IPAM plugin, the result value might be formed like this:

ipamResult, err := ipam.ExecAdd(netConf.IPAM.Type, args.StdinData)
result, err := current.NewResultFromResult(ipamResult)

Other examples of spec v0.3.0-compatible plugins are the main plugins in this repo

For Runtime Authors

This section provides guidance for upgrading container runtimes to support CNI Spec Version 0.3.0 and later.

General guidance for all runtimes (language agnostic)

Support multiple CNI spec versions

To provide the smoothest upgrade path and support the broadest range of CNI plugins, container runtimes should support multiple versions of the CNI spec. In particular, runtimes with existing installed bases should add support for CNI spec version 0.3.0 and later while maintaining compatibility with older versions.

To support multiple versions of the CNI spec, runtimes should be able to call both new and legacy plugins, and handle the results from either.

When calling a plugin, the runtime must request that the plugin respond in a particular format by specifying the cniVersion field in the Network Configuration JSON block. The plugin will then respond with a Result in the format defined by that CNI spec version, and the runtime must parse and handle this result.

Handle errors due to version incompatibility

Plugins may respond with error indicating that they don’t support the requested CNI version (see Well-known Error Codes ), e.g.

  "cniVersion": "0.2.0",
  "code": 1,
  "msg": "CNI version not supported"

In that case, the runtime may retry with a lower CNI spec version, or take some other action.

(optional) Discover plugin version support

Runtimes may discover which CNI spec versions are supported by a plugin, by calling the plugin with the VERSION command. The VERSION command was added in CNI spec v0.2.0, so older plugins may not respect it. In the absence of a successful response to VERSION, assume that the plugin only supports CNI spec v0.1.0.

Handle missing data in v0.3.0 and later results

The Result for the ADD command in CNI spec version 0.3.0 and later includes a new field interfaces. An IP address in the ip field may describe which interface it is assigned to, by placing a numeric index in the interface subfield.

However, some plugins which are v0.3.0 and later compatible may nonetheless omit the interfaces field and/or set the interface index value to -1. Runtimes should gracefully handle this situation, unless they have good reason to rely on the existence of the interface data. In that case, provide the user an error message that helps diagnose the issue.

Specific guidance for container runtimes written in Go

Container runtimes written in Go may leverage the Go language packages in this repository to ease the process of upgrading and supporting multiple versions. CNI Library and Plugins Release v0.5.0 includes important changes to the Golang APIs. Runtimes using these APIs will require some changes now, but should more-easily handle spec changes and new features going forward.

For runtimes, the biggest changes to the Go libraries are in the types package. It has been refactored to make working with versioned results simpler. The top-level types.Result is now an opaque interface instead of a struct, and APIs exposed by other packages, such as the high-level libcni package, have been updated to use this interface. Concrete types are now per-version subpackages. The types/current subpackage contains the latest (spec v0.3.0) types.

When up-converting older result types to spec v0.3.0 and later, fields new in spec v0.3.0 and later (like interfaces) may be empty. Conversely, when down-converting v0.3.0 and later results to an older version, any data in those fields will be lost.

To 0.1xxx
To 0.2xxx
To 0.3
To 0.4
To 1.0


✔ : lossless conversion ✴ : higher-version output may have empty fields x : lower-version output is missing some data

A container runtime should use current.NewResultFromResult() to convert the opaque types.Result to a concrete current.Result struct. It may then work with the fields exposed by that struct:

// runtime invokes the plugin to get the opaque types.Result
// this may conform to any CNI spec version
resultInterface, err := libcni.AddNetwork(ctx, netConf, runtimeConf)

// upconvert result to the current 0.3.0 spec
result, err := current.NewResultFromResult(resultInterface)

// use the result fields ....
for _, ip := range result.IPs { ... }