This guide documents the Operator SDK CLI commands and their syntax:

$ operator-sdk <command> [<subcommand>] [<argument>] [<flags>]


The operator-sdk build command compiles the code and builds the executables. After build completes, the image is built locally in docker. It must then be pushed to a remote registry.

Table 1. build arguments
Argument Description


The container image to be built, e.g., quay.io/example/operator:v0.0.1.

Table 2. build flags
Flag Description

--enable-tests (bool)

Enable in-cluster testing by adding test binary to the image.

--namespaced-manifest (string)

Path of namespaced resources manifest for tests. Default: deploy/operator.yaml.

--test-location (string)

Location of tests. Default: ./test/e2e

-h, --help

Usage help output.

If --enable-tests is set, the build command also builds the testing binary, adds it to the container image, and generates a deploy/test-pod.yaml file that allows a user to run the tests as a Pod on a cluster.

Example output
$ operator-sdk build quay.io/example/operator:v0.0.1

building example-operator...

building container quay.io/example/operator:v0.0.1...
Sending build context to Docker daemon  163.9MB
Step 1/4 : FROM alpine:3.6
 ---> 77144d8c6bdc
Step 2/4 : ADD tmp/_output/bin/example-operator /usr/local/bin/example-operator
 ---> 2ada0d6ca93c
Step 3/4 : RUN adduser -D example-operator
 ---> Running in 34b4bb507c14
Removing intermediate container 34b4bb507c14
 ---> c671ec1cff03
Step 4/4 : USER example-operator
 ---> Running in bd336926317c
Removing intermediate container bd336926317c
 ---> d6b58a0fcb8c
Successfully built d6b58a0fcb8c
Successfully tagged quay.io/example/operator:v0.0.1


The operator-sdk completion command generates shell completions to make issuing CLI commands quicker and easier.

Table 3. completion subcommands
Subcommand Description


Generate bash completions.


Generate zsh completions.

Table 4. completion flags
Flag Description

-h, --help

Usage help output.

Example output
$ operator-sdk completion bash

# bash completion for operator-sdk                         -*- shell-script -*-
# ex: ts=4 sw=4 et filetype=sh


The operator-sdk print-deps command prints the most recent Golang packages and versions required by Operators. It prints in columnar format by default.

Table 5. print-deps flags
Flag Description


Print packages and versions in Gopkg.toml format.

Example output
$ operator-sdk print-deps --as-file
required = [

  name = "k8s.io/code-generator"
  revision = "6702109cc68eb6fe6350b83e14407c8d7309fd1a"


The operator-sdk generate command invokes a specific generator to generate code as needed.


The generate crds subcommand generates CRDs or updates them if they exist, under deploy/crds/__crd.yaml. OpenAPI V3 validation YAML is generated as a validation object.

Table 6. generate crds flags
Flag Description

--crd-version (string)

CRD version to generate (default v1beta1)

-h, --help

Help for generate crds

Example output
$ operator-sdk generate crds
$ tree deploy/crds
├── deploy/crds/app.example.com_v1alpha1_appservice_cr.yaml
└── deploy/crds/app.example.com_appservices_crd.yaml


The csv subcommand writes a Cluster Service Version (CSV) manifest for use with Operator Lifecycle Manager (OLM). It also optionally writes Custom Resource Definition (CRD) files to deploy/olm-catalog/<operator_name>/<csv_version>.

Table 7. generate csv flags
Flag Description

--csv-channel (string)

The channel the CSV should be registered under in the package manifest.

--csv-config (string)

The path to the CSV configuration file. Default: deploy/olm-catalog/csv-config.yaml.

--csv-version (string)

The semantic version of the CSV manifest. Required.


Use the channel passed to --csv-channel as the package manifests' default channel. Only valid when --csv-channel is set.

--from-version (string)

The semantic version of CSV manifest to use as a base for a new version.


The Operator name to use while generating the CSV.


Updates CRD manifests in deploy/<operator_name>/<csv_version> using the latest CRD manifests.

Example output
$ operator-sdk generate csv --csv-version 0.1.0 --update-crds
INFO[0000] Generating CSV manifest version 0.1.0
INFO[0000] Fill in the following required fields in file deploy/olm-catalog/operator-name/0.1.0/operator-name.v0.1.0.clusterserviceversion.yaml:
INFO[0000] Created deploy/olm-catalog/operator-name/0.1.0/operator-name.v0.1.0.clusterserviceversion.yaml


The k8s subcommand runs the Kubernetes code-generators for all CRD APIs under pkg/apis/. Currently, k8s only runs deepcopy-gen to generate the required DeepCopy() functions for all Custom Resource (CR) types.

This command must be run every time the API (spec and status) for a custom resource type is updated.

Example output
$ tree pkg/apis/app/v1alpha1/
├── appservice_types.go
├── doc.go
├── register.go

$ operator-sdk generate k8s
Running code-generation for Custom Resource (CR) group versions: [app:v1alpha1]
Generating deepcopy funcs

$ tree pkg/apis/app/v1alpha1/
├── appservice_types.go
├── doc.go
├── register.go
└── zz_generated.deepcopy.go


The operator-sdk new command creates a new Operator application and generates (or scaffolds) a default project directory layout based on the input <project_name>.

Table 8. new arguments
Argument Description


Name of the new project.

Table 9. new flags
Flag Description


CRD APIVersion in the format $GROUP_NAME/$VERSION, for example app.example.com/v1alpha1. Used with ansible or helm types.


Generate an Ansible playbook skeleton. Used with ansible type.

--header-file <string>

Path to file containing headers for generated Go files. Copied to hack/boilerplate.go.txt.

--helm-chart <string>

Initialize Helm operator with existing Helm chart: <url>, <repo>/<name>, or local path.

--helm-chart-repo <string>

Chart repository URL for the requested Helm chart.

--helm-chart-version <string>

Specific version of the Helm chart. (Default: latest version)

--help, -h

Usage and help output.

--kind <string>

CRD Kind, for example AppService. Used with ansible or helm types.


Do not initialize the directory as a Git repository.


Type of Operator to initialize: go, ansible or helm. (Default: go)

Starting with Operator SDK v0.12.0, the --dep-manager flag and support for dep-based projects have been removed. Go projects are now scaffolded to use Go modules.

Example usage for Go project
$ mkdir $GOPATH/src/github.com/example.com/
$ cd $GOPATH/src/github.com/example.com/
$ operator-sdk new app-operator
Example usage for Ansible project
$ operator-sdk new app-operator \
    --type=ansible \
    --api-version=app.example.com/v1alpha1 \


The operator-sdk add command adds a controller or resource to the project. The command must be run from the Operator project root directory.

Table 10. add subcommands
Subcommand Description


Adds a new API definition for a new Custom Resource (CR) under pkg/apis and generates the Customer Resource Definition (CRD) and Custom Resource (CR) files under deploy/crds/. If the API already exists at pkg/apis/<group>/<version>, then the command does not overwrite and returns an error.


Adds a new controller under pkg/controller/<kind>/. The controller expects to use the CR type that should already be defined under pkg/apis/<group>/<version> via the operator-sdk add api --kind=<kind> --api-version=<group/version> command. If the controller package for that Kind already exists at pkg/controller/<kind>, then the command does not overwrite and returns an error.


Adds a CRD and the CR files. The <project-name>/deploy path must already exist. The --api-version and --kind flags are required to generate the new Operator application.

  • Generated CRD filename: <project-name>/deploy/crds/<group>_<version>_<kind>_crd.yaml

  • Generated CR filename: <project-name>/deploy/crds/<group>_<version>_<kind>_cr.yaml

Table 11. add api flags
Flag Description

--api-version (string)

CRD APIVersion in the format $GROUP_NAME/$VERSION (e.g., app.example.com/v1alpha1).

--kind (string)

CRD Kind (e.g., AppService).

Example add api output
$ operator-sdk add api --api-version app.example.com/v1alpha1 --kind AppService
Create pkg/apis/app/v1alpha1/appservice_types.go
Create pkg/apis/addtoscheme_app_v1alpha1.go
Create pkg/apis/app/v1alpha1/register.go
Create pkg/apis/app/v1alpha1/doc.go
Create deploy/crds/app_v1alpha1_appservice_cr.yaml
Create deploy/crds/app_v1alpha1_appservice_crd.yaml
Running code-generation for Custom Resource (CR) group versions: [app:v1alpha1]
Generating deepcopy funcs

$ tree pkg/apis
├── addtoscheme_app_appservice.go
├── apis.go
└── app
	└── v1alpha1
		├── doc.go
		├── register.go
		├── types.go
Example add controller output
$ operator-sdk add controller --api-version app.example.com/v1alpha1 --kind AppService
Create pkg/controller/appservice/appservice_controller.go
Create pkg/controller/add_appservice.go

$ tree pkg/controller
├── add_appservice.go
├── appservice
│   └── appservice_controller.go
└── controller.go
Example add crd output
$ operator-sdk add crd --api-version app.example.com/v1alpha1 --kind AppService
Generating Custom Resource Definition (CRD) files
Create deploy/crds/app_v1alpha1_appservice_crd.yaml
Create deploy/crds/app_v1alpha1_appservice_cr.yaml


The operator-sdk test command can test the Operator locally.


The local subcommand runs Go tests built using the Operator SDK’s test framework locally.

Table 12. test local arguments
Arguments Description

<test_location> (string)

Location of e2e test files (e.g., ./test/e2e/).

Table 13. test local flags
Flags Description

--kubeconfig (string)

Location of kubeconfig for a cluster. Default: ~/.kube/config.

--global-manifest (string)

Path to manifest for global resources. Default: deploy/crd.yaml.

--namespaced-manifest (string)

Path to manifest for per-test, namespaced resources. Default: combines deploy/service_account.yaml, deploy/rbac.yaml, and deploy/operator.yaml.

--namespace (string)

If non-empty, a single namespace to run tests in (e.g., operator-test). Default: ""

--go-test-flags (string)

Extra arguments to pass to go test (e.g., -f "-v -parallel=2").


Enable running the Operator locally with go run instead of as an image in the cluster.


Disable test resource creation.

--image (string)

Use a different Operator image from the one specified in the namespaced manifest.

-h, --help

Usage help output.

Example output
$ operator-sdk test local ./test/e2e/

# Output:
ok  	github.com/operator-framework/operator-sdk-samples/memcached-operator/test/e2e	20.410s


The operator-sdk run command provides options that can launch the Operator in various environments.

Table 14. run arguments
Arguments Description

--kubeconfig (string)

The file path to a Kubernetes configuration file. Defaults: $HOME/.kube/config


The Operator is run locally by building the Operator binary with the ability to access a Kubernetes cluster using a kubeconfig file.

--namespace (string)

The namespace where the Operator watches for changes. Default: default


Flags that the local Operator may need. Example: --flag1 value1 --flag2=value2. For use with the --local flag only.

-h, --help

Usage help output.


The --local flag launches the Operator on the local machine by building the Operator binary with the ability to access a Kubernetes cluster using a kubeconfig file.

Example output
$ operator-sdk run --local \
  --kubeconfig "mycluster.kubecfg" \
  --namespace "default" \
  --operator-flags "--flag1 value1 --flag2=value2"

The following example uses the default kubeconfig, the default namespace environment variable, and passes in flags for the Operator. To use the Operator flags, your Operator must know how to handle the option. For example, for an Operator that understands the resync-interval flag:

$ operator-sdk run --local --operator-flags "--resync-interval 10"

If you are planning on using a different namespace than the default, use the --namespace flag to change where the Operator is watching for Custom Resources (CRs) to be created:

$ operator-sdk run --local --namespace "testing"

For this to work, your Operator must handle the WATCH_NAMESPACE environment variable. This can be accomplished using the utility function k8sutil.GetWatchNamespace in your Operator.