​Red Hat introduces Kubernetes Operators software development toolkit

Kubernetes Operators will help ISVs deliver Red Hat OpenShift-tested and validated cloud-native applications and services across hybrid and multi-cloud footprints.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

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At Red Hat Summit in San Francisco, Red Hat introduced Kubernetes Operators to the Red Hat OpenShift ecosystem. This provides an easy path for independent software vendors (ISVs) to deliver tested and validated Kubernetes applications on OpenShift.

Red Hat picked up Kubernetes Operators as part of its CoreOS acquisition. Kubernetes Operators are application-specific controllers that extend the Kubernetes application programming interface (API). It can create, configure, and manage instances of complex stateful applications. This takes the "human knowledge" of managing a Kubernetes application and builds it into software, thus making typically challenging Kubernetes workloads easier to deploy and maintain.

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Developed with the Operator Framework open-source toolkit, an Operator helps to remove the barriers to building complex, stateful applications for Kubernetes, resulting in services designed to "just work" across any cloud where Red Hat's OpenShift Kubernetes variant runs.

At launch, over 60 software partners have committed to the Kubernetes Operator Framework initiative. It's easy to see why. Building and maintaining cloud-native applications isn't easy. They must address significant complexities during the initial build and provide maintenance across siloed cloud footprints. Operator is meant to make packaging, deploying, and managing a Kubernetes application much easier.

A Kubernetes program is an application that is both deployed on Kubernetes and managed using the Kubernetes APIs and kubectl tooling. Kubernetes Operators simplify application development by abstracting away complexities and coding human operational knowledge into applications. These services can then function without human intervention.

This service automation can be used to make a Kubernetes function act as a cloud service. For example, they can be used for self-healing and self-provisioning to easier management and maintenance at production-scale. Operator applications can be instantly updated across all footprints simultaneously, limiting IT downtime and easing the burden of maintaining large clusters of Kubernetes applications.

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According to Red Hat, Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform (RHOCP) provides a common foundation for cloud-native operations -- just as Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) did for server and datacenter operations. Also, just as DevOps programs such as Ansible and Puppet made it easy to manage Linux servers, Operators will make it easier to use Kubernetes to manage pods of containers on OpenShift.

Looking ahead, Red Hat will introduce a method for its software partners to test and validate their Operators for RHOCP against Red Hat OpenShift. ISVs, and customers will know that their applications will work as intended on any Red Hat OpenShift instance. This will hold true across hybrid and multicloud footprints, such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

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