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Introduction to Kubernetes Operators

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What is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes (commonly stylized as k8s) is a portable, open-source system designed for automating scaling, management, and deployment of containerized applications. It groups containers that make an application into logical units for simple discovery and management.

Due to its large number of features, Kubernetes can be thought of as a micro-services platform, a container platform, a portable cloud platform, or many more. With the flexibility of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), it provides much of the simplicity of Platform as a Service (PaaS) and enables portability across infrastructure providers.

What are Operators in Kubernetes?

Operators are like a cloud, they provide services like provisioning, scaling, and backup/restore, and Kubernetes helps them in doing so, as operators can run anywhere where Kubernetes can.

Kubernetes Operator Framework

The Operator Framework is an open-source project that provides runtime and developer Kubernetes tools that help you improve an operator’s development. It consists of Operator SDK, Operator Lifecycle Management and Operator Metering (recently released feature).

Operator SDK: It makes it easy for a developer to build his own operators without having prior knowledge of Kubernetes APIs and their complexities.

Operator Lifecycle Management: It helps Kubernetes to provide an assertive way to install, update and manage operators and their dependencies. It also manages to give a good user experience.

Operator Metering: It is responsible for collecting data and other happenings which are happening in the Kubernetes and then generate the report of the same.

1. Operator SDK

2. Operator Lifecycle Manager

When an operator is built, it needs to be deployed on a Kubernetes cluster, and to do so; we have an Operator lifecycle Manager.

It is the backplane that smoothes the working of operators.

It helps device controllers to control the namespace of an operator.

It also helps the device controller to ensure who can communicate with running operators.

OLM supervises the lifecycle of operators and their dependencies.

It upgrades/updates the application involuntary.

Stateless and simple applications can leverage the Operator Framework’s lifecycle Management features without writing any code by using a generic operator (e.g., the Helm Operator). However, stateful and complex applications are where an operator is given appropriate importance. The cloud-like capabilities that are encoded in the Operator code can provide a better user experience and features like scaling, backups, and updates.

3. Operator Metering Benefits of Operator Framework

Given below are the benefits mentioned:

Scales the Output: Being designed on the same principles that allow Google to run thousands of containers in a day, Kubernetes can scale without increasing your ops team.

Never Outgrow: Kubernetes is very flexible with your needs as it helps you deliver both locally or globally available applications easily and steadily, no matter how complex your needs are.

How to Create a Kubernetes Operator?

Operators are application-specific by nature, So, the hard work is to convert all of the application operational domain knowledge into a reasonable and logical configuration resource and control loop.

Some common and important steps to follow while building an Operator for any application are:

Wait for the Operators to create a new third-party type when installing into Kubernetes. And then create a new application instance using this type.

Operators should leverage built-in Kubernetes primitives like Replica sets and Services when possible to leverage well-understood and well-tested code.

Operators should be backward compatible and always understand previous versions of resources that you have already created.

Design your operator in such a way that application instances continue to run unaffected and effectively if the Operator is stopped or removed.

A common source of operational bugs and security issues is not upgrading the software, and operators help you work on this more confidently. They give you the ability to declare the desired version and coordinate applications upgrades based on the desired version. So, make sure that you are applying this feature while building your own operators.

Test your Operators against a “Chaos Monkey” test suite that simulates potential failures of Pods, configuration, and networking.

Recommended Articles

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