“Operators play an important role in enabling lifecycle management of stateful applications on Kubernetes”
Heavyweights of the cloud world AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft and Red Hat have teamed up to launch a unique project this week, OperatorHub.io: a public registry of Kubernetes Operator-backed services.
“It remains challenging for developers and Kubernetes administrators to find available Operators, including those that meet their quality standards. We are helping to address this challenge by introducing a common registry” Red Hat said.
(Keep reading: we’ll explain…)
Firstly, a quick back-to-basics refresher from Computer Business Review
1: What are containers?
Containers are a way to separate an application from its underlying environment, allowing you to deploy apps quickly and reliably anywhere, regardless of environment.
They have a lower overhead both in terms of lower memory footprint and higher efficiency than “traditional” hypervisors that support VMs in most datacentres.
This means higher density can be achieved — simply put, you can get more for the same hardware. Additionally, VMs take longer to provision and start; containers can be spun up in seconds, and they boot instantly. In a brave new world of microservices and hybrid/multicloud architectures, they are crucial to enterprise success.
2: What’s Kubernetes?
Kubernetes is a container orchestration framework originally built by Google, and one of the most popular projects on GitHub, with over 6,500 contributors.
With containers typically being deployed for a single service (e.g. web app, the database, a logging system), a modern application can require a “small army” of containers that need to work together seamlessly across environments.
That’s where Kubernetes comes in: it has rapidly become the go-to way of automating container-based application deployment, scaling, and management
3: So… What’s a Kubernetes Operator?
Kubernetes is great for stateless apps, or apps that don’t need to save client data generated in one session for use in the next session.
But for stateful applications such as databases, it needs a little bit more hands-on manual intervention.
In 2016 the company CoreOS introduced Operators as a way of extending Kubernetes’ capabilities to stateful applications.
With Red Hat having bought CoreOS Inc. in May 2018, it has become a champion of the Operator Framework, an open source toolkit that provides an SDK, lifecycle management, metering and monitoring capabilities enabling developers to build, test and publish Operators in a range of programming and automation languages.
4: What’s OperatorHub.io?
As the Operator concept has experienced growing interest across upstream communities and software providers, the number of Operators available has increased.
It’s still tough for developers and Kubernetes administrators to find available Operators, including those that meet their quality standards however.
Enter OperatorHub.io, which is a common registry of “curated” Operators.
To be listed, Operators must successfully show cluster lifecycle features, packaging that can be maintained through the Operator Framework’s Operator Lifecycle Management, and acceptable documentation for its intended users.
Those that have made the cut so far are AWS Operator, Couchbase Autonomous Operator, CrunchyData’s PostgreSQL, etcd Operator, Jaeger Operator for Kubernetes, Kubernetes Federation Operator, MongoDB Enterprise Operator, Percona MySQL Operator, PlanetScale’s Vitess Operator, Prometheus Operator, and Redis Operator.
As Aparna Sinha, Group Product Manager, Google Cloud puts it:”At Google Cloud, we have invested in building and qualifying community developed operators, and are excited to see more than 40 percent of Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) clusters running stateful applications today.”
“Operators play an important role in enabling lifecycle management of stateful applications on Kubernetes. The creation of OperatorHub.io provides a centralised repository that helps users and the community to organize around Operators. We look forward to seeing growth and adoption of OperatorHub.io as an extension of the Kubernetes community.”