CFP: How to build a Kubernetes operator that doesn’t break production

September 21, 2020 8:46 am Published by


This talk is targeted at software developers and SREs interested in development practices for Kubernetes operators. Are they interested in how development of an operator is different from other software projects? This project will give an outline of the operator pattern and how development looks like, focusing on the importance of good engineering practices. Are they writing a Kubernetes operator just to automate a simple task? They should write tests for it, and this talk will tell them why. As Site Reliability Engineers in OpenShift Dedicated, we’re developing and maintaining a number of operators to keep toil on all our operated clusters as low as possible.


In a recently published blog post I wrote about how to make sure a Kubernetes operator project is maintainable and follows software development best practices. As SREs we create and maintain a growing number of Operators to keep toil away from us. But a poorly designed, implemented or tested operator can just create toil on its own by not functioning correctly. Adding new features to it can get hard for SREs as bugs can go in undiscovered and the confidence in adding new code can be low if the operator lacks an adequate test suite.

In this talk I will talk about the important concepts you should keep in mind when developing your own Kubernetes operator. Even if you want to start a new project just to automate the setup and configuration of a small application, make sure to give all the attention to good software development practices it needs, even if you feel this could slow down the development and even take you more time than just performing that task by hand. Software grows, and in the long run it will pay out if you craft a tested and readable operator from the beginning.

Key Takeaways

During this talk, attendees should have learned the importance of (1) treating a Kubernetes operator as production code. (2) It is very helpful to wrap external dependencies, where (3) tests will help achieve this goal as well as help improve the overall structure of the code.

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This post was written by Manuel Dewald