An Educational Discussion on Kubernetes Operators and Their Functions

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All About Kubernetes Operators and their Functions

Today, Kubernetes is sure to be among the leading orchestration platforms. The number of Kubernetes users continues to increase as time passes. Multiple factors have helped make orchestration platforms popular. Kubernetes is a strong candidate for being the most popular orchestration platform in the future due to its presence of Kubernetes operators.

Existing Kubernetes users are already familiar with the relevance of Kubernetes operators. The concept of the Kubernetes operator may seem vague and complicated for a new user. However, it’s impossible to perform specific tasks on Kubernetes without having knowledge about Kubernetes operators. This article will enlighten Kubernetes beginners about the facts and purposes of Kubernetes operators in detail.

What are Kubernetes Operators?

In order to understand Kubernetes better, you need to be clear about its purpose. As an orchestration platform, Kubernetes is best utilized for creating, managing, and monitoring applications and servers. Kubernetes operators are now responsible for creating and deploying applications on Kubernetes. The Kubernetes operator manages the entire process, from packaging the application content to managing it.

To be specific, a Kubernetes operator can be considered an application-specific controller. You are supposed to utilize different Kubernetes operators in terms of deploying or managing different applications on Kubernetes. The process of deploying and managing an application on Kubernetes becomes possible with the support of Kubernetes API and kubectl tooling. The fundamental function of a Kubernetes operator is to enhance the productivity and efficiency of a Kubernetes API. That’s how a Kubernetes operator eases up the process of configuring and deploying an application.

Deeping diving into the Kubernetes mechanism, you are supposed to know about the existence of control planes in the platform. Every Kubernetes application comes with its own control plane that consists of controllers. Throughout the process of app development, the controllers of the application’s control plane keep utilizing control loops. Now, what are the functions of the loops? Actually, they compare the present state of the entire cluster with the state required to develop the application successfully. Those control loops notify the controllers about mismatches between present states and desired states continuously. The process keeps going on until the app is deployed successfully.

Once the controllers detect that the present state of the cluster is not matching with the requirements, it troubleshoot the issues immediately. A Kubernetes operator remains liable to operate the controllers in terms of completing application developments. Such an operator utilizes custom resources for managing the application it is dedicated to. When a programmer inputs a specific configuration for an application, the configuration consists of complicated and high-level directives. A Kubernetes operator transforms those high-level directives into easy and low-level actions.

Be it upgrading the version of an application, or scaling an application, a Kubernetes operator does it all concisely. That’s what makes Kubernetes operators inseparable parts of Kubernetes.

The Working Procedure of Kubernetes Operators

As you have attained adequate information about Kubernetes operators, you may be curious about how they work. This segment will describe the functional procedure of Kubernetes operators.

When it comes to the functional procedures of Kubernetes operators, you need to know about Stateless applications and Stateful applications. Firstly, what can be considered Stateless applications? Well, web applications, API services, and mobile backends can be considered stateless applications. Why? Because these applications don’t demand additional knowledge about their functional attributes. The basic, in-built infrastructure of Kubernetes is efficient enough to handle such stateless applications.

Now, let’s focus on Stateful applications. Applications that demand domain-specific expertise are considered stateful applications. Monitoring applications or databases can be categorized under this category. The basic Kubernetes infrastructure doesn’t possess the efficiency to scale and upgrade stateful applications. That’s why Kubernetes requires Kubernetes operators to manage stateful applications.

The job of a Kubernetes Operator is to get the domain-specific knowledge encoded in a particular Kubernetes extension. That’s how the operator eases up the task of scaling a stateful application for Kubernetes. The domain-specific knowledge enforced into the Kubernetes extension helps Kubernetes automate the life-cycle of the specific application as well.

Another major function of a Kubernetes operator is to eliminate manual application management tasks from the cluster where the application is deployed. Naturally, that makes it easier for Kubernetes to scale the application and configure it accordingly.

On top of that, a developer can distribute software on Kubernetes clusters without worrying about support infrastructures with a Kubernetes operator. The operator makes that possible by addressing application-specific problems and fixing them. Alongside, you get the opportunity to write additional codes to automate applications beyond the automation features of Kubernetes. This feature, at times, comes in handy.

It can be stated with confidence that a Kubernetes operator functions identically as a human operator. The operator pattern present in a Kubernetes operator detects the probable human approach towards scaling and maintaining a service. The operator pattern prompts the operator to act similarly. That’s why Kubernetes operators are extremely friendly and easy to work with. You can utilize the Kubernetes operator software development kit to create a specialized operator according to your requirements.

What are you supposed to know about the Operator Framework?

Like every other software architecture, a Kubernetes operator comes with a framework too. Actually, the operator framework offers Kubernetes tools to the developer and the runtime as an open-source project. With those tools, you can customize your operator to build a specific application on Kubernetes.

Now, you may question the contents of the operator framework. Let’s have a glance at what gets included in the operator framework-

  • Firstly, you get an operator SDK tool that helps you create your customized operator even without the basic knowledge of Kubernetes APIs.
  • Alongside, an operator lifecycle management tool also remains present in the operator framework package. This one assists you in managing the lifecycle of an operator.
  • Lastly, the operator monitoring tool helps you to determine operator usage.

These are the tools that you get in an operator framework. With these tools and your expertise, you can build a Kubernetes operator as you want.

Wrapping up

There’s no alternative to a Kubernetes operator in terms of building an application on Kubernetes that demands domain-specific knowledge. This article has offered complete knowledge about Kubernetes operators. Also, we have described the functional procedures of Kubernetes operators in depth.
Kubernetes operators are the best options to scale and monitor complicated applications with special features. As a developer, you can’t turn down the utility and necessity of Kubernetes operators. If you’ve started developing applications with Kubernetes recently, we strongly recommend you utilize Kubernetes developers to enhance your productivity. Now it’s your turn to use your knowledge of Kubernetes operators and generate outstanding results.

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