Red Hat Launches Kubernetes Operator Framework Project

COPENHAGEN, Denmark—The open-source Kubernetes project is not just a container orchestration system, it can also be a platform for deploying and managing applications. That's the goal of the Kubernetes Operator Framework project, which Red Hat officially announced on May 1 at the Kubecon EU conference here.

The basic idea behind the Operator Framework comes to Red Hat from CoreOS, which had been working on the preliminary concepts. Red Hat acquired CoreOS on Jan. 30 in a $250 million deal that also brought CoreOS' staff to Red Hat, including former CTO Brandon Philips. In a video interview with eWEEK, Philips explained what the operator framework is all about and also detailed his view on where Kubernetes is headed next.

"We want Kubernetes to be the de facto API that we integrate with for a bunch of applications," Philips said.

With the Operator Framework project, Red Hat is now launching a project that includes multiple code development libraries to help enable applications to more easily be built on top of Kubernetes. Philips noted that CoreOS had been working on the initial Operator concept since 2016 as a way to help manage Kubernetes deployments. The basic idea behind the Operator concept is to have a tool that understands the Kubernetes API and can create, configure and manage Kubernetes instances.

CoreOS Red Hat Integration

The Operator Framework project launch is one of the first developments from the former CoreOS team since being acquired by Red Hat.

"The team came together about four months ago, and a lot of what we have been doing is starting to integrate components of Tectonic into OpenShift," Philips said.

Tectonic was CoreOS' flagship Kubernetes product, while OpenShift is Red Hat's Kubernetes platform. Philips added that Tectonic had multiple technology components including the capability to automate operations to enable upgrades that are being integrated into OpenShift. Red Hat is set to reveal further details on the CoreOS integration at Red Hat Summit in San Francisco on May 8.

What's Next for Kubernetes

The most recently released version of Kubernetes—1.10—was launched on March 26. While new capabilities did land in Kubernetes 1.10, there are still multiple APIs in beta.

Philips said that looking forward he wants to see all the APIs get to stable to help enable the extensibility that the Operator Framework requires. Overall though, he doesn't see any real major pieces of functionality that are missing in Kubernetes. 

"I think Kubernetes has gotten to the point where a lot of the core fundamentals are good enough," Philips said. "We're really just working on operational readiness and stabilizing all the random APIs that are still in beta."

Watch the full video interview with Brandon Philips above.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.