Updating Sourcegraph with Kubernetes

A new version of Sourcegraph is released every month (with patch releases in between, released as needed). Check the Sourcegraph blog for release announcements.


These steps assume that you have created a release branch following the instructions in the configuration guide.

  1. Merge the new version of Sourcegraph into your release branch.
   # get updates
   git fetch upstream
   # to merge the upstream release tag into your release branch.
   git checkout release
   # Choose which version you want to deploy from https://github.com/sourcegraph/deploy-sourcegraph/releases
   git merge $NEW_VERSION
  1. Deploy the updated version of Sourcegraph to your Kubernetes cluster:
  1. Monitor the status of the deployment.
   kubectl get pods -o wide --watch


You can rollback by resetting your release branch to the old state and proceeding with step 2 above.

If an update includes a database migration, rollback will require some manual DB modifications. We plan to eliminate these in the near future, but for now, email [email protected] if you have concerns before updating to a new release.

Improving update reliability and latency with node selectors

Some of the services that comprise Sourcegraph require more resources than others, especially if the default CPU or memory allocations have been overridden. During an update when many services restart, you may observe that the more resource-hungry pods (e.g., gitserver, indexed-search) fail to restart, because no single node has enough available CPU or memory to accommodate them. This may be especially true if the cluster is heterogeneous (i.e., not all nodes have the same amount of CPU/memory).

If this happens, do the following:

  • Use kubectl drain $NODE to drain a node of existing pods, so it has enough allocation for the larger service.
  • Run watch kubectl get pods -o wide and wait until the node has been drained. Run kubectl get pods to check that all pods except for the resource-hungry one(s) have been assigned to a node.
  • Run kubectl uncordon $NODE to enable the larger pod(s) to be scheduled on the drained node.

Note that the need to run the above steps can be prevented altogether with node selectors, which tell Kubernetes to assign certain pods to specific nodes. See the docs on enabling node selectors for Sourcegraph on Kubernetes.

High-availability updates

Sourcegraph is designed to be a high-availability (HA) service, but upgrades by default require a 10m downtime window. If you need zero-downtime upgrades, please contact us. Services employ health checks to test the health of newly updated components before switching live traffic over to them by default. HA-enabling features include the following:

  • Replication: nearly all of the critical services within Sourcegraph are replicated. If a single instance of a service fails, that instance is restarted and removed from operation until it comes online again.
  • Updates are applied in a rolling fashion to each service such that a subset of instances are updated first while traffic continues to flow to the old instances. Once the health check determines the set of new instances is healthy, traffic is directed to the new set and the old set is terminated. By default, some database operations may fail during this time as migrations occur so a scheduled 10m downtime window is required.
  • Each service includes a health check that detects whether the service is in a healthy state. This check is specific to the service. These are used to check the health of new instances after an update and during regular operation to determine if an instance goes down.
  • Database migrations are handled automatically on update when they are necessary.

Updating blue-green deployments

Some users may wish to opt for running two separate Sourcegraph clusters running in a blue-green deployment. Such a setup makes the update step more complex, but it can still be done with the sourcegraph-server-gen snapshot command:

  • Preconditions:

    • Suppose cluster A is currently live, and cluster B is in standby.
    • Clusters A and B should be running the same version of Sourcegraph.
    • Ensure sourcegraph-server-gen is upgraded to version 3.0.1 (sourcegraph-server-gen update)
  • Snapshot of A: Configure kubectl to access cluster A and then run sourcegraph-server-gen snapshot create.

  • Restore A’s snapshot to B:

    • Configure kubectl to access B.

    • Spin down sourcegraph-frontend replicas to 0. (Note: this is very important, because otherwise sourcegraph-frontend may apply changes to the database that corrupt the snapshot restoration.)

      kubectl scale --replicas=0 deployment/sourcegraph-frontend
    • sourcegraph-server-gen snapshot restore from the same directory where you ran the snapshot creation earlier.

    • Spin up sourcegraph-frontend replicas to what it was before:

      kubectl scale --replicas=$N deployment/sourcegraph-frontend
  • Upgrade cluster B to the new Sourcegraph version. Perform some quick checks to verify it is functioning.

  • Switch traffic over to B. (B is now live.)

  • Upgrade cluster A to the new Sourcegraph version.

  • Switch traffic back to A. (A is now live again.)

After the update, cluster A will be live, cluster B will be in standby, and both will be running the same new version of Sourcegraph. You may lose a few minutes of database updates while A is not live, but that is generally acceptable.

To keep the database on B current, you may periodically wish to sync A’s database over to B (sourcegraph-server-gen snapshot create on A, sourcegraph-server-gen snapshot restore on B). It is important that the versions of A and B are equivalent when this is done.


See the troubleshooting page.