Frame 481609

Written by

Technical Head

Amina Reshma

March 31, 2023 . 4 min read

What is Canary Deployment? A Guide to Canary Deployment in Kubernetes

Canary deployment is a strategy where you roll out a new version of your software to a small subset of your users or servers and gradually increase the rollout as you confirm the stability and reliability of the new version. Using the canary deployment strategy, you can test new features or changes on a small group of users before distributing them to everyone. 

This strategy can significantly lower the chance of spreading bugs or other problems to your user base. This blog post will detail the idea of canary deployments, their advantages, and how to use them successfully in your projects. So, let’s get started!

What is canary deployment?

Imagine you’re a coal miner, and you’re about to enter a pitch-black, perilous mine. You know that the mine may contain hazardous gasses, and you must take precautions to avoid them. However, how do you determine whether the air is safe to breathe?

Bringing a canary with you would be one solution. Canaries are tiny birds with heightened sensitivity to poisonous gasses like carbon monoxide. The miners must leave immediately if the canary stops singing or passes away as a warning that the air is hazardous.

A canary deployment works in a similar way. You want to ensure that any new code you introduce won’t result in issues before you deploy it to your production environment. Before rolling out the new code to everyone, a canary deployment involves releasing it to a select group of users or servers first.

Like the canary in the mine, this small subset of users or servers signals a problem. The new code will first appear here if there are any issues. If everything appears to be in order, you can start using the new code on a smaller number of servers or users and gradually increase that number until everyone is using it.

With the aid of canary deployments, you can identify issues early and lessen their effects when they occur. Before releasing the new code to your entire user base, they also allow you to monitor it and ensure it is operating as expected.

Canary Deployment

So to put it simply, canary deployments offer an early warning system to aid in the early detection of issues before they spread widely. You can find any problems early and reduce the impact on your users by releasing new code to a few users or servers first.

Benefits of Canary deployment

The following are some of the benefits of canary deployment:

Reduced risk: Canary deployment lowers the risk of introducing bugs or other issues that could affect many users by gradually rolling out new changes or features to a subset of users. Using this method, you can find and address problems before they spread widely.

Improved quality: By enabling you to monitor and test new releases in a controlled environment before making them available to all users, canary deployment helps ensure that new releases are of the highest quality. With this method, problems with performance or compatibility that may not be obvious during testing can be found.

Faster time-to-market: By enabling you to roll out changes more effectively and quickly, canary deployment can also hasten the release process. You can gather feedback, make improvements more quickly, and release the final version by releasing changes to a smaller group of users.

Better user experience: Canary deployment enables you to test new features or changes with a small group of users and collect feedback on their effectiveness and usability. This strategy can help guarantee that new features are welcomed and beneficial to users.

Seamless rollbacks: If problems are found during the canary deployment process, you can quickly undo the changes and fix the problems before making the new version available to all users. This strategy lets you take care of any problems immediately and guarantees that users are not negatively affected.

Limitations of Canary deployment

While canary deployment offers many benefits, it also has some limitations that are important to consider. 

Here are some of the main limitations:

Limited feedback: Canary deployments rely on user feedback from a small subset of users, which might not be typical of the entire user base. As a result, problems that only affect a few users might not be discovered until the new version is fully implemented, which may result in more pervasive issues.

Increased complexity: Canary deployments demand extra infrastructure and procedures to manage the rollout and ensure that you are taken to the correct version of the application. This could complicate the release process and necessitate more resources and knowledge.

Increased risk: Canary deployments may increase the chance of failure because there is a chance that the new version won’t function properly for the select group of users who are a part of the canary group. This risk can be reduced through careful planning and testing, but it is crucial to be aware of all possible risks.

Limited visibility: Canary deployments only give insight into the actions of the canary group, which might not be indicative of the actions of the entire user base. This implies that problems that only affect a larger user base might not be discovered until the new version has been fully implemented.

Increased time to release: Canary deployments require additional time to plan and execute, which can delay the release of new features and updates. This can be a major limitation for businesses that have to be competitive and move quickly in a market that is changing quickly.

Canary deployment is still a common method for software releases despite these drawbacks, especially for businesses prioritizing user satisfaction and quality assurance. Companies can reduce the risks and restrictions related to this strategy and provide their users with high-quality software by carefully organizing and carrying out canary deployments. The blue-green deployment strategy is another method that has gained much popularity. Continue reading to learn how these two well-known strategies differ from one another.

Canary Vs Blue-Green deployments

The key distinction between Canary and Blue-Green deployments is the approach to releasing software updates.

Canary deployment allows you to test and monitor updates’ effects prior to releasing them to the entire system by gradually deploying them to a small subset of users or servers. This strategy is excellent for reducing risks and guaranteeing the caliber of updates.

Contrarily, in a Blue-Green deployment, updates are first made available in a brand-new, identical environment (the Green environment) before traffic is switched to the new environment (i.e., the Blue environment). With this strategy, system updates can be made with the least amount of downtime possible.

Updates are gradually rolled out to a select group of users or servers.Updates are released to a completely separate and identical environment
Enables you to test and monitor the impact of updates before releasing to the entire systemReroutes traffic from the current environment to the updated environment
Ideal for lowering risks and guaranteeing update qualityIdeal for reducing downtime and ensuring that the system is available during updates
Managing and keeping an eye on multiple environments might take more work.Separate environments might need more infrastructure and resources to maintain.

Canary deployments in Kubernetes require careful planning, monitoring, and communication to ensure a smooth rollout with as little impact on your users as possible because you face a number of challenges when doing so. Leading to our next subtopic, on how to do canary 

deployment in kubernetes and its challenges.

Executing Canary deployments in Kubernetes and its challenges

You can carry out Canary deployment in Kubernetes in many ways that largely depends on the developer portal being used. One of the ways to configure a canary rollout could be the following steps:

  1. With the updated version of your application, create a new deployment, but disable traffic by setting the replicas to zero.
  2. Make a brand-new service that directs traffic to both the old and the new deployments.
  3. Create a VirtualService that manages traffic routing between the two deployments using a programme like Istio or Linkerd.
  4. Increase traffic to the new deployment gradually while keeping an eye on the important metrics to make sure the new version is stable.
  5. Use the rollback strategy to quickly revert to the previous version if any problems are found.
  6. You can remove the previous deployment and service once the new version has been fully deployed.


To find out whether the new version of the application is reliable and prepared for rollout, you must first decide which metrics to monitor. In case something goes wrong, you should also have a strong rollback strategy.

The next thing you need to do is make sure you have enough resources to handle the increased workload that will occur during the deployment. This entails monitoring resource usage closely and scaling up as necessary.

Making sure your team is properly trained on the Canary deployment procedure and knows how to monitor and troubleshoot issues that may arise is another challenge. To ensure that everyone is on the same page, this calls for clear communication and documentation.

In order to ensure that the updated version of the application is thoroughly tested before rollout, you must also have a strong testing strategy in place. To identify any potential problems early on, both automated and manual testing is included in this.

Canary Deployments on Ozone

Unlike traditional platforms, to configure canary deployments, there’s no need to code your pipelines or parameters on Ozone. The platform ships with 100+ preloaded task templates for every significant phase of a CI/CD process, including deployment strategies. 

There is a customizable task template available for a canary deployment. All you need to do is drag and drop the task as part of your pipeline and save the pipeline template. 

This allows you to master canary deployments without having to deal with coding or tackling deployment failures, as you can associate every CI/CD pipeline on Ozone with an automated rollback pipeline should things go south. 

In a world where software development moves faster than ever, Canary Deployments provide a crucial way to ensure that your releases are successful and error-free. At Ozone, we specialize in providing the best user experience for every kind of deployment scenario for businesses of all sizes.

With our cutting-edge technology and expert team of developers, we can help you streamline your release process, reduce the risk of errors, and improve the overall quality of your software. 

So why not give us a try right now? With our proven track record of success and unparalleled expertise, we’re confident that we can help you achieve your goals and take your software development process to new heights. Get in touch with us now to learn more and get started!

Ozone is focused on eliminating every complexity of a DevOps team. It simplifies and automates containerized and decentralised application deployments across hybrid cloud and diverse blockchain networks. Ozone integrates seamlessly with major tools across CI, CD, analytics and automation to support your software delivery end to end for even the most complex scenarios.

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