Kubernetes defines operators as software extensions that make use of custom resources to manage applications and their components. They have quickly become one of the most popular ways for users to adopt and extend Kubernetes as their infrastructure platform.

In cloud native technologies, operators provide intelligent, dynamic management capabilities by extending the functionality of the API. Many CNCF projects have Operators today, including Envoy, etcd, Jaeger, NATS, Prometheus, Rook, and Vitess. Helm is supported as a way to create Operators using the SDK. In addition, internal Operators exist at organizations, including Amadeus, Kohl’s, SAP Concur, SIX Group, TicketMaster, Uber, Zalando, and more.

Because of their growing popularity, the Operator Working Group (TAG App Delivery) has created a White Paper to help end users and software vendors adopt operators to simplify application delivery and operations.

The goal of the White Paper is to provide a definition of, and comprehensive guide to, operators for cloud native applications in the context of Kubernetes and other container orchestrators. It outlines:

  • The Operator Design Pattern and emerging patterns for the future.
  • Recommended configuration, implementation, and use cases for an operator application management system. 
  • Best practices including observability and security, technical implementation, and CNCF maintained code samples.
  • Advice for organizations wanting to design their own operators. 

The White Paper is intended for application developers, Kubernetes cluster operators, and service providers (internal or external) who want to learn about operators and the problems they can solve. It can also help teams already looking at operators to learn when and where to use them to best effect.

You can view the full White Paper here, or download a PDF here

The Application Delivery TAG focuses on delivering cloud native applications, which involves multiple phases, including building, deploying, managing, and operating. Learn more about TAG App Delivery here, and get involved by joining the mailing list, CNCF Slack, or join monthly public meetings every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month at 8:00 a.m. PST.