Red Hat, Others Launch Operators Hub

Red Hat, in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google and Microsoft, announced the launch of a hub that promises to make it easier to find tools known as operators that take advantage of Kubernetes to optimize a wide range of IT management functions.

Diane Mueller, director of community development for cloud platforms at Red Hat, says the is public registry for discovering operators for managing back-end services. Each relies on Kubernetes as the underlying automation engine for performing tasks such as provisioning a cloud service or kicking off a backup and restore process.

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Operators were first developed by CoreOS, which was subsequently acquired by Red Hat. In turn, Red Hat is expected to be formally acquired by IBM early next year. While the operators concept has been around for a while, awareness of the capabilities of these tools has tended to get lost in the general enthusiasm for all things Kubernetes.

Mueller says represents an opportunity to rectify that issue by making it much easier for IT organizations to discover tools that have been vetted and are curated on an ongoing basis. Operators that are currently listed include: Amazon Web Services Operator, CrunchyData’s PostgreSQL, Couchbase Autonomous Operator, etcd Operator, Jaeger Operator for Kubernetes, Kubernetes Federation Operator, MongoDB Enterprise Operator, Percona MySQL Operator, PlanetScale’s Vitess Operator, Prometheus Operator and Redis Operator.

Each is constructed using the Operator Framework, an open source toolkit that provides a software development kit, lifecycle management tools and metering and monitoring capabilities. They can be implemented in several programming and automation languages, including Go, Helm and Ansible. Essentially, they are a method of packaging, deploying and managing a Kubernetes-native application, which is defined by the community as an application that is deployed on Kubernetes and managed using Kubernetes application programming interfaces (APIs) and kubectl tooling.

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The community has defined a manual set of processes initially for loading operators into the hub for review. The goal is to automate that process. Once enough critical mass is achieved, the hope is that they will become a mainstream element of any portfolio of IT management tools. In fact, many of the users of those tools may not ever interact directly with Kubernetes.

It’s unclear to what degree the operators being developed automate manual tasks versus replace existing tools that either require a commercial license or simply are too difficult to use. The one thing that all the developers of operators have in common is the easier it becomes to use a platform, the more they tend to financially benefit. Enterprise IT organizations are especially conservative when it comes to adopting new platforms if not enough management tools are readily available.

But at the very least, the cost of developing management tools to automate specific DevOps functions is about to drop considerably. In fact, because the builders of these tools can now leverage a base level of automation enabled by Kubernetes, the IT industry as a whole may be on the cusp of a forthcoming period of renaissance in IT management.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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