Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Kubeapps Extends its Catalog with Support for Operators

Over the last few weeks, the Bitnami team has worked on including a major change in the new Kubeapps version (available in alpha): support for Operators. With this, the Kubeapps catalog increases by more than 110 applications.

Operators extend Kubernetes capabilities, including those related to stateful applications. Operators may handle updates, failure recovery, application scale-out, etc., reducing the number of manual operations that are required for applications to run on a cluster. They contain the logic for deploying and operating an application on Kubernetes, handling almost all aspects of application management. Operators can also help with many so-called "day-2 operations", automating manual tasks like upgrades or backups.

Now, cluster administrators and developers will be able to deploy Operators directly from Kubeapps. Kubeapps users will be able to deploy instances directly from the UI to better manage applications and their components using custom resources.

Keep reading to learn how to use this new feature and to discover other enhancements in this new version of Kubeapps.

Why extend the Kubeapps catalog with Operators? 

Helm charts are a great way for deploying applications on Kubernetes. They package pre-configured Kubernetes resources and contain manifest files which describe how the application should be managed.

While Helm charts allow you to easily run an application on a cluster, once the application is deployed, you may still need to perform additional tasks to connect your application with external resources such a database or manual operations to scale a deployment.

Bitnami has added Operators to Kubeapps to give cluster administrators and developers the resources to automate the application lifecycle in their clusters. For example, when a security update is available for your application, you can now expect it to be automatically applied with no human intervention. This is especially useful for SRE teams that need to manage many clusters.

Now that the Kubeapps catalog includes both Helm charts and Operators (some applications are only available as Operators), administrators can mix and match Helm charts and Operators to create more complex / production-ready solutions.

Kubeapps is the first open source tool that allows you to manage charts, Operators, and instances through a single user-friendly interface.

Enable Operators Support and Start Deploying Operators on Your Cluster 

Support for Operators is being released as a feature in alpha state and it is not enabled by default. For that reason, users must manually enable it by adding the related flag at deployment time or when upgrading Kubeapps. 

When you finish the process, your Kubeapps “Catalog”  will add Operators to the catalog, and you can start using them from a web browser. Navigate to the “Configuration -> Operators” menu, and see the full list of Operators available and ready to be deployed on your cluster:

Click the Operator you wish to deploy, check the information displayed, click “Deploy” and follow the instructions to finish the installation. Check out the Kubeapps GitHub repository to learn how to get started with Operators.

Want to try Operators in Kubeapps?  Download the latest version and start using them!