what is an operator

What is an Operator after all?

An Operator represents human operational knowledge in software, to reliably manage an application. They are methods of packaging, deploying, and managing a Kubernetes application.

The goal of an Operator is to put operational knowledge into software. Previously this knowledge only resided in the minds of administrators, various combinations of shell scripts or automation software like Ansible. It was outside of your Kubernetes cluster and hard to integrate. With Operators, CoreOS changed that.

Operators implement and automate common Day-1 (installation, configuration, etc) and Day-2 (re-configuration, update, backup, failover, restore, etc.) activities in a piece of software running inside your Kubernetes cluster, by integrating natively with Kubernetes concepts and APIs. We call this a Kubernetes-native application. With Operators you can stop treating an application as a collection of primitives like Pods, Deployments, Services or ConfigMaps, but instead as a single object that only exposes the knobs that make sense for the application.

Who's building Operators?

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Go to Operator SDK

Persona, persona, persona.

Who's using Operators

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Go to OperatorHub.io

Persona, persona, persona.

Capability model

Operators come in different maturity levels in regards to their lifecycle management capabilities for the application or workload they deliver. The capability models aims to provide guidance in terminology to express what features users can expect from an Operator.

Learn More About The Capability Model