Taming the Borg:How Red Hat and IBM collaborated to give you an “appstore” experience in Kubernetes

Kubernetes Operators (or as I refer to them friendly k8s robots) — in my opinion — revolutionized Kubernetes. If you have heard me tell the story of the three k8s distributions being k8s, Techtonic and OpenShift — you will know that Operators took OpenShift 3 into overdrive by being able to support OTA, single-click, no-downtime upgrades and installs of the entire cluster.

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Seven-of-Nine, the Borg who inspired the original codename of Kubernetes, and to whom homage is paid in the Kubernetes logo.

All bias aside — Red Hat OpenShift 4 is absolutely stunning (frankly $34B stunning). Operators don't stop at cluster management, these robot admins can package and manage any application that runs on Kubernetes meaning that installing and managing stateful, complex applications like databases are now a doddle on OpenShift and k8s.

This has taken the application providers by storm as suddenly they could make their applications much more consumable on the complex powerful beast that is k8s. Some realised early and started writing operators for their applications, and more and more and more did the same. Now there are 100s of operators available for Kubernetes — and they hang out at http://operatorhub.io.

Something was still missing

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Photo by Owen Beard on Unsplash

In my presentations, I would picture k8s Operators as a way of giving an AppStore-like experience on a Kubernetes platform. I liken the feeling of using operators on OpenShift to the feeling of installing an application on your smartphone from an AppStore — the smooth, slick, streamlined easy that lets you find, like, install, enjoy.

Recently someone after hearing my presentation said to me — “That’s true but I can’t try and buy like I can on an AppStore.” To be honest, I was a little thrown here because they were right. My analogy was only partially fulfilled. Damn!

Do the chair dance of joy

But today, I am very proud to say that thanks to the might of the ‘big blue’, and the spark of the ‘red hat’, there is an answer to this missing gap too — The Red Hat Marketplace. [do a little swivel chair dance of happiness in your chair while your one-click Kafka install finishes].

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I’m so excited that I had to share. Just like operators took OpenShift 3 into overdrive, the Red Hat Marketplace takes OpenShift 4 into overdrive.


… Operators have tamed the Borg!

Check out this intro video to the Marketplace: https://youtu.be/RmmjEnJ_njs

If you want to know a bit more about operators, I like this article “How to explain Kubernetes Operators in plain English on the enterprisesproject.com.

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