Kubernetes Operators

Kubernetes Operators

Jason Dobies and Joshua Wood


Automating the Container Orchestration Platform

Kubernetes is a popular container orchestrator. It harnesses many computers together into one large computing resource and establishes a means of addressing that resource through the Kubernetes application programming interface (API). Kubernetes is open source software with origins at Google, developed over the last five years by a large group of collaborators under the auspices of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

An Operator extends Kubernetes to automate the management of the entire lifecycle of a particular application. Operators serve as a packaging mechanism for distributing applications on Kubernetes, and they monitor, maintain, recover, and upgrade the software they deploy.

What you will learn

This book explains what an Operator is and how Operators extend the Kubernetes API. It shows how to deploy and use existing Operators, and how to create and dis‐ tribute Operators for your applications using the Red Hat Operator Framework. We relate good practices for designing, building, and distributing Operators, and we explain the thinking that animates Operators with Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) principles. After describing Operators and their concepts in the first chapter, we’ll suggest ways to get access to a Kubernetes cluster where you can do the exercises in the rest of the xiii book. With a cluster running, you’ll deploy an Operator and observe its behavior when its application fails, scales, or gets upgraded to a new version.

Later, we will explore the Operator SDK and show you how to use it to build an Operator to naturalize an example application as a first-class Kubernetes citizen. With that practical foundation in place, we will discuss the SRE ideas from which Operators derive and the goals they share: reducing operations effort and cost, increasing service reliability, and spurring innovation by freeing teams from repetitive maintenance work.


How Operators Work

Operators work by extending the Kubernetes control plane and API. In its simplest form, an Operator adds an endpoint to the Kubernetes API, called a custom resource (CR), along with a control plane component that monitors and maintains resources of the new type. This Operator can then take action based on the resource’s state. This is illustrated in Figure 1-2.


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