A ClusterServiceVersion (CSV) is a YAML manifest created from Operator metadata that assists the Operator Lifecycle Manager (OLM) in running the Operator in a cluster. It is the metadata that accompanies an Operator container image, used to populate user interfaces with information like its logo, description, and version. It is also a source of technical information that is required to run the Operator, like the RBAC rules it requires and which Custom Resources (CRs) it manages or depends on.

The Operator SDK includes the olm-catalog gen-csv subcommand to generate a ClusterServiceVersion (CSV) for the current Operator project customized using information contained in manually-defined YAML manifests and Operator source files.

A CSV-generating command removes the responsibility of Operator authors having in-depth Operator Lifecycle Manager (OLM) knowledge in order for their Operator to interact with OLM or publish metadata to the Catalog Registry. Further, because the CSV spec will likely change over time as new Kubernetes and OLM features are implemented, the Operator SDK is equipped to easily extend its update system to handle new CSV features going forward.

The CSV version is the same as the Operator’s, and a new CSV is generated when upgrading Operator versions. Operator authors can use the --csv-version flag to have their Operators' state encapsulated in a CSV with the supplied semantic version:

$ operator-sdk olm-catalog gen-csv --csv-version <version>

This action is idempotent and only updates the CSV file when a new version is supplied, or a YAML manifest or source file is changed. Operator authors should not have to directly modify most fields in a CSV manifest. Those that require modification are defined in this guide. For example, the CSV version must be included in metadata.name.

How CSV generation works

An Operator project’s deploy/ directory is the standard location for all manifests required to deploy an Operator. The Operator SDK can use data from manifests in deploy/ to write a CSV. The following command:

$ operator-sdk olm-catalog gen-csv --csv-version <version>

writes a CSV YAML file to the deploy/olm-catalog/ directory by default.

Exactly three types of manifests are required to generate a CSV:

  • operator.yaml

  • *_{crd,cr}.yaml

  • RBAC role files, for example role.yaml

Operator authors may have different versioning requirements for these files and can configure which specific files are included in the deploy/olm-catalog/csv-config.yaml file.

Workflow

Depending on whether an existing CSV is detected, and assuming all configuration defaults are used, the olm-catalog gen-csv subcommand either:

  • Creates a new CSV, with the same location and naming convention as exists currently, using available data in YAML manifests and source files.

    1. The update mechanism checks for an existing CSV in deploy/. When one is not found, it creates a ClusterServiceVersion object, referred to here as a cache, and populates fields easily derived from Operator metadata, such as Kubernetes API ObjectMeta.

    2. The update mechanism searches deploy/ for manifests that contain data a CSV uses, such as a Deployment resource, and sets the appropriate CSV fields in the cache with this data.

    3. After the search completes, every cache field populated is written back to a CSV YAML file.

or:

  • Updates an existing CSV at the currently pre-defined location, using available data in YAML manifests and source files.

    1. The update mechanism checks for an existing CSV in deploy/. When one is found, the CSV YAML file contents are marshaled into a ClusterServiceVersion cache.

    2. The update mechanism searches deploy/ for manifests that contain data a CSV uses, such as a Deployment resource, and sets the appropriate CSV fields in the cache with this data.

    3. After the search completes, every cache field populated is written back to a CSV YAML file.

Individual YAML fields are overwritten and not the entire file, as descriptions and other non-generated parts of a CSV should be preserved.

CSV composition configuration

Operator authors can configure CSV composition by populating several fields in the deploy/olm-catalog/csv-config.yaml file:

Field Description

operator-path (string)

The Operator resource manifest file path. Defaults to deploy/operator.yaml.

crd-cr-path-list (string(, string)*)

A list of CRD and CR manifest file paths. Defaults to [deploy/crds/*_{crd,cr}.yaml].

rbac-path-list (string(, string)*)

A list of RBAC role manifest file paths. Defaults to [deploy/role.yaml].

Manually-defined CSV fields

Many CSV fields cannot be populated using generated, non-SDK-specific manifests. These fields are mostly human-written, English metadata about the Operator and various Custom Resource Definitions (CRDs).

Operator authors must directly modify their CSV YAML file, adding personalized data to the following required fields. The Operator SDK gives a warning CSV generation when a lack of data in any of the required fields is detected.

Table 1. Required
Field Description

metadata.name

A unique name for this CSV. Operator version should be included in the name to ensure uniqueness, for example app-operator.v0.1.1.

spec.displayName

A public name to identify the Operator.

spec.description

A short description of the Operator’s functionality.

spec.keywords

Keywords describing the operator.

spec.maintainers

Human or organizational entities maintaining the Operator, with a name and email.

spec.provider

The Operators' provider (usually an organization), with a name.

spec.labels

Key-value pairs to be used by Operator internals.

spec.version

Semantic version of the Operator, for example 0.1.1.

spec.customresourcedefinitions

Any CRDs the Operator uses. This field is populated automatically by the Operator SDK if any CRD YAML files are present in deploy/. However, several fields not in the CRD manifest spec require user input:

  • description: description of the CRD.

  • resources: any Kubernetes resources leveraged by the CRD, for example Pods and StatefulSets.

  • specDescriptors: UI hints for inputs and outputs of the Operator.

Table 2. Optional
Field Description

spec.replaces

The name of the CSV being replaced by this CSV.

spec.links

URLs (for example, websites and documentation) pertaining to the Operator or application being managed, each with a name and url.

spec.selector

Selectors by which the Operator can pair resources in a cluster.

spec.icon

A base64-encoded icon unique to the Operator, set in a base64data field with a mediatype.

spec.maturity

The Operator’s capability level according to the Operator maturity model, for example Seamless Upgrades.

Further details on what data each field above should hold are found in the CSV spec.

Several YAML fields currently requiring user intervention can potentially be parsed from Operator code; such Operator SDK functionality will be addressed in a future design document.

Additional resources

Generating a CSV

Prerequisites
  • An Operator project generated using the Operator SDK

Procedure
  1. In your Operator project, configure your CSV composition by modifying the deploy/olm-catalog/csv-config.yaml file, if desired.

  2. Generate the CSV:

    $ operator-sdk olm-catalog gen-csv --csv-version <version>
  3. In the new CSV generated in the deploy/olm-catalog/ directory, ensure all required, manually-defined fields are set appropriately.

Understanding your Custom Resource Definitions (CRDs)

There are two types of Custom Resource Definitions (CRDs) that your Operator may use: ones that are owned by it and ones that it depends on, which are required.

Owned CRDs

The CRDs owned by your Operator are the most important part of your CSV. This establishes the link between your Operator and the required RBAC rules, dependency management, and other Kubernetes concepts.

It is common for your Operator to use multiple CRDs to link together concepts, such as top-level database configuration in one object and a representation of ReplicaSets in another. Each one should be listed out in the CSV file.

Table 3. Owned CRD fields
Field Description Required/Optional

Name

The full name of your CRD.

Required

Version

The version of that object API.

Required

Kind

The machine readable name of your CRD.

Required

DisplayName

A human readable version of your CRD name, for example MongoDB Standalone.

Required

Description

A short description of how this CRD is used by the Operator or a description of the functionality provided by the CRD.

Required

Group

The API group that this CRD belongs to, for example database.example.com.

Optional

Resources

Your CRDs own one or more types of Kubernetes objects. These are listed in the resources section to inform your users of the objects they might need to troubleshoot or how to connect to the application, such as the Service or Ingress rule that exposes a database.

It is recommended to only list out the objects that are important to a human, not an exhaustive list of everything you orchestrate. For example, ConfigMaps that store internal state that should not be modified by a user should not appear here.

Optional

SpecDescriptors, StatusDescriptors, and ActionDescriptors

These Descriptors are a way to hint UIs with certain inputs or outputs of your Operator that are most important to an end user. If your CRD contains the name of a Secret or ConfigMap that the user must provide, you can specify that here. These items are linked and highlighted in compatible UIs.

There are three types of descriptors:

  • SpecDescriptors: A reference to fields in the spec block of an object.

  • StatusDescriptors: A reference to fields in the status block of an object.

  • ActionDescriptors: A reference to actions that can be performed on an object.

All Descriptors accept the following fields:

  • DisplayName: A human readable name for the Spec, Status, or Action.

  • Description: A short description of the Spec, Status, or Action and how it is used by the Operator.

  • Path: A dot-delimited path of the field on the object that this descriptor describes.

  • X-Descriptors: Used to determine which "capabilities" this descriptor has and which UI component to use. See the openshift/console project for a canonical list of React UI X-Descriptors for OpenShift Container Platform.

Also see the openshift/console project for more information on Descriptors in general.

Optional

The following example depicts a MongoDB Standalone CRD that requires some user input in the form of a Secret and ConfigMap, and orchestrates Services, StatefulSets, Pods and ConfigMaps:

Example owned CRD
      - displayName: MongoDB Standalone
        group: mongodb.com
        kind: MongoDbStandalone
        name: mongodbstandalones.mongodb.com
        resources:
          - kind: Service
            name: ''
            version: v1
          - kind: StatefulSet
            name: ''
            version: v1beta2
          - kind: Pod
            name: ''
            version: v1
          - kind: ConfigMap
            name: ''
            version: v1
        specDescriptors:
          - description: Credentials for Ops Manager or Cloud Manager.
            displayName: Credentials
            path: credentials
            x-descriptors:
              - 'urn:alm:descriptor:com.tectonic.ui:selector:core:v1:Secret'
          - description: Project this deployment belongs to.
            displayName: Project
            path: project
            x-descriptors:
              - 'urn:alm:descriptor:com.tectonic.ui:selector:core:v1:ConfigMap'
          - description: MongoDB version to be installed.
            displayName: Version
            path: version
            x-descriptors:
              - 'urn:alm:descriptor:com.tectonic.ui:label'
        statusDescriptors:
          - description: The status of each of the Pods for the MongoDB cluster.
            displayName: Pod Status
            path: pods
            x-descriptors:
              - 'urn:alm:descriptor:com.tectonic.ui:podStatuses'
        version: v1
        description: >-
          MongoDB Deployment consisting of only one host. No replication of
          data.

Required CRDs

Relying on other required CRDs is completely optional and only exists to reduce the scope of individual Operators and provide a way to compose multiple Operators together to solve an end-to-end use case.

An example of this is an Operator that might set up an application and install an etcd cluster (from an etcd Operator) to use for distributed locking and a Postgres database (from a Postgres Operator) for data storage.

The Operator Lifecycle Manager (OLM) checks against the available CRDs and Operators in the cluster to fulfill these requirements. If suitable versions are found, the Operators are started within the desired namespace and a Service Account created for each Operator to create, watch, and modify the Kubernetes resources required.

Table 4. Required CRD fields
Field Description Required/Optional

Name

The full name of the CRD you require.

Required

Version

The version of that object API.

Required

Kind

The Kubernetes object kind.

Required

DisplayName

A human readable version of the CRD.

Required

Description

A summary of how the component fits in your larger architecture.

Required

Example required CRD
    required:
    - name: etcdclusters.etcd.database.coreos.com
      version: v1beta2
      kind: EtcdCluster
      displayName: etcd Cluster
      description: Represents a cluster of etcd nodes.

CRD templates

Users of your Operator will need to be aware of which options are required versus optional. You can provide templates for each of your CRDs with a minimum set of configuration as an annotation named alm-examples. Compatible UIs will pre-fill this template for users to further customize.

The annotation consists of a list of the kind, for example, the CRD name and the corresponding metadata and spec of the Kubernetes object.

The following full example provides templates for EtcdCluster, EtcdBackup and EtcdRestore:

metadata:
  annotations:
    alm-examples: >-
      [{"apiVersion":"etcd.database.coreos.com/v1beta2","kind":"EtcdCluster","metadata":{"name":"example","namespace":"default"},"spec":{"size":3,"version":"3.2.13"}},{"apiVersion":"etcd.database.coreos.com/v1beta2","kind":"EtcdRestore","metadata":{"name":"example-etcd-cluster"},"spec":{"etcdCluster":{"name":"example-etcd-cluster"},"backupStorageType":"S3","s3":{"path":"<full-s3-path>","awsSecret":"<aws-secret>"}}},{"apiVersion":"etcd.database.coreos.com/v1beta2","kind":"EtcdBackup","metadata":{"name":"example-etcd-cluster-backup"},"spec":{"etcdEndpoints":["<etcd-cluster-endpoints>"],"storageType":"S3","s3":{"path":"<full-s3-path>","awsSecret":"<aws-secret>"}}}]

Understanding your API services

As with CRDs, there are two types of APIServices that your Operator may use: owned and required.

Owned APIServices

When a CSV owns an APIService, it is responsible for describing the deployment of the extension api-server that backs it and the group-version-kinds it provides.

An APIService is uniquely identified by the group-version it provides and can be listed multiple times to denote the different kinds it is expected to provide.

Table 5. Owned APIService fields
Field Description Required/Optional

Group

Group that the APIService provides, for example database.example.com.

Required

Version

Version of the APIService, for example v1alpha1.

Required

Kind

A kind that the APIService is expected to provide.

Required

Name

The plural name for the APIService provided

Required

DeploymentName

Name of the deployment defined by your CSV that corresponds to your APIService (required for owned APIServices). During the CSV pending phase, the OLM Operator searches your CSV’s InstallStrategy for a deployment spec with a matching name, and if not found, does not transition the CSV to the install ready phase.

Required

DisplayName

A human readable version of your APIService name, for example MongoDB Standalone.

Required

Description

A short description of how this APIService is used by the Operator or a description of the functionality provided by the APIService.

Required

Resources

Your APIServices own one or more types of Kubernetes objects. These are listed in the resources section to inform your users of the objects they might need to troubleshoot or how to connect to the application, such as the Service or Ingress rule that exposes a database.

It is recommended to only list out the objects that are important to a human, not an exhaustive list of everything you orchestrate. For example, ConfigMaps that store internal state that should not be modified by a user should not appear here.

Optional

SpecDescriptors, StatusDescriptors, and ActionDescriptors

Essentially the same as for owned CRDs.

Optional

APIService Resource Creation

The Operator Lifecycle Manager (OLM) is responsible for creating or replacing the Service and APIService resources for each unique owned APIService:

  • Service Pod selectors are copied from the CSV deployment matching the APIServiceDescription’s DeploymentName.

  • A new CA key/cert pair is generated for each installation and the base64-encoded CA bundle is embedded in the respective APIService resource.

APIService Serving Certs

The OLM handles generating a serving key/cert pair whenever an owned APIService is being installed. The serving certificate has a CN containing the host name of the generated Service resource and is signed by the private key of the CA bundle embedded in the corresponding APIService resource.

The cert is stored as a type kubernetes.io/tls Secret in the deployment namespace, and a Volume named apiservice-cert is automatically appended to the Volumes section of the deployment in the CSV matching the APIServiceDescription’s DeploymentName field.

If one does not already exist, a VolumeMount with a matching name is also appended to all containers of that deployment. This allows users to define a VolumeMount with the expected name to accommodate any custom path requirements. The generated VolumeMount’s path defaults to /apiserver.local.config/certificates and any existing VolumeMounts with the same path are replaced.

Required APIServices

The OLM ensures all required CSVs have an APIService that is available and all expected group-version-kinds are discoverable before attempting installation. This allows a CSV to rely on specific kinds provided by APIServices it does not own.

Table 6. Required APIService fields
Field Description Required/Optional

Group

Group that the APIService provides, for example database.example.com.

Required

Version

Version of the APIService, for example v1alpha1.

Required

Kind

A kind that the APIService is expected to provide.

Required

DisplayName

A human readable version of your APIService name, for example MongoDB Standalone.

Required

Description

A short description of how this APIService is used by the Operator or a description of the functionality provided by the APIService.

Required