About Operator catalogs

An Operator catalog is a repository of metadata that Operator Lifecycle Manager (OLM) can query to discover and install Operators and their dependencies on a cluster. OLM always installs Operators from the latest version of a catalog. As of OpenShift Container Platform 4.6, Red Hat-provided catalogs are distributed using index images.

An index image, based on the Operator Bundle Format, is a containerized snapshot of a catalog. It is an immutable artifact that contains the database of pointers to a set of Operator manifest content. A catalog can reference an index image to source its content for OLM on the cluster.

Starting in OpenShift Container Platform 4.6, index images provided by Red Hat replace the App Registry catalog images, based on the deprecated Package Manifest Format, that are distributed for previous versions of OpenShift Container Platform 4. While App Registry catalog images are not distributed by Red Hat for OpenShift Container Platform 4.6 and later, custom catalog images based on the Package Manifest Format are still supported.

As catalogs are updated, the latest versions of Operators change, and older versions may be removed or altered. In addition, when OLM runs on an OpenShift Container Platform cluster in a restricted network environment, it is unable to access the catalogs directly from the Internet to pull the latest content.

As a cluster administrator, you can create your own custom index image, either based on a Red Hat-provided catalog or from scratch, which can be used to source the catalog content on the cluster. Creating and updating your own index image provides a method for customizing the set of Operators available on the cluster, while also avoiding the aforementioned restricted network environment issues.

When creating custom catalog images, previous versions of OpenShift Container Platform 4 required using the oc adm catalog build command, which has been deprecated for several releases. With the availability of Red Hat-provided index images starting in OpenShift Container Platform 4.6, catalog builders should start switching to using the opm index command to manage index images before the oc adm catalog build command is removed in a future release.

About Red Hat-provided Operator catalogs

The following Operator catalogs are distributed by Red Hat:

Catalog Index image Description



Red Hat products packaged and shipped by Red Hat. Supported by Red Hat.



Products from leading independent software vendors (ISVs). Red Hat partners with ISVs to package and ship. Supported by the ISV.



Certified software that can be purchased from Red Hat Marketplace.



Software maintained by relevant representatives in the operator-framework/community-operators GitHub repository. No official support.