For OpenShift Container Platform clusters that are installed on restricted networks, also known as disconnected clusters, Operator Lifecycle Manager (OLM) by default cannot access the Red Hat-provided OperatorHub sources hosted on remote registries because those remote sources require full internet connectivity.

However, as a cluster administrator you can still enable your cluster to use OLM in a restricted network if you have a workstation that has full internet access. The workstation, which requires full internet access to pull the remote OperatorHub content, is used to prepare local mirrors of the remote sources, and push the content to a mirror registry.

The mirror registry can be located on a bastion host, which requires connectivity to both your workstation and the disconnected cluster, or a completely disconnected, or airgapped, host, which requires removable media to physically move the mirrored content to the disconnected environment.

This guide describes the following process that is required to enable OLM in restricted networks:

  • Disable the default remote OperatorHub sources for OLM.

  • Use a workstation with full internet access to create and push local mirrors of the OperatorHub content to a mirror registry.

  • Configure OLM to install and manage Operators from local sources on the mirror registry instead of the default remote sources.

After enabling OLM in a restricted network, you can continue to use your unrestricted workstation to keep your local OperatorHub sources updated as newer versions of Operators are released.

While OLM can manage Operators from local sources, the ability for a given Operator to run successfully in a restricted network still depends on the Operator itself. The Operator must:

  • List any related images, or other container images that the Operator might require to perform their functions, in the relatedImages parameter of its ClusterServiceVersion (CSV) object.

  • Reference all specified images by a digest (SHA) and not by a tag.

See the following Red Hat Knowledgebase Article for a list of Red Hat Operators that support running in disconnected mode:


  • Log in to your OpenShift Container Platform cluster as a user with cluster-admin privileges.

  • If you want to prune the default catalog and selectively mirror only a subset of Operators, install the opm CLI.

If you are using OLM in a restricted network on IBM Z, you must have at least 12 GB allocated to the directory where you place your registry.

Disabling the default OperatorHub sources

Operator catalogs that source content provided by Red Hat and community projects are configured for OperatorHub by default during an OpenShift Container Platform installation. In a restricted network environment, you must disable the default catalogs as a cluster administrator. You can then configure OperatorHub to use local catalog sources.

  • Disable the sources for the default catalogs by adding disableAllDefaultSources: true to the OperatorHub object:

    $ oc patch OperatorHub cluster --type json \
        -p '[{"op": "add", "path": "/spec/disableAllDefaultSources", "value": true}]'

Alternatively, you can use the web console to manage catalog sources. From the AdministrationCluster SettingsGlobal ConfigurationOperatorHub page, click the Sources tab, where you can create, delete, disable, and enable individual sources.

Pruning a SQLite-based index image

An index image, based on the Operator bundle format, is a containerized snapshot of an Operator catalog. You can prune an index of all but a specified list of packages, which creates a copy of the source index containing only the Operators that you want.

When configuring Operator Lifecycle Manager (OLM) to use mirrored content on restricted network OpenShift Container Platform clusters, use this pruning method if you want to only mirror a subset of Operators from the default catalogs.

For the steps in this procedure, the target registry is an existing mirror registry that is accessible by your workstation with unrestricted network access. This example also shows pruning the index image for the default redhat-operators catalog, but the process is the same for any index image.

  • Workstation with unrestricted network access

  • podman version 1.9.3+

  • grpcurl (third-party command-line tool)

  • opm version 1.18.0+

  • Access to a registry that supports Docker v2-2

    The internal registry of the OpenShift Container Platform cluster cannot be used as the target registry because it does not support pushing without a tag, which is required during the mirroring process.

  1. Authenticate with registry.redhat.io:

    $ podman login registry.redhat.io
  2. Authenticate with your target registry:

    $ podman login <target_registry>
  3. Determine the list of packages you want to include in your pruned index.

    1. Run the source index image that you want to prune in a container. For example:

      $ podman run -p50051:50051 \
          -it registry.redhat.io/redhat/redhat-operator-index:v4.9
      Example output
      Trying to pull registry.redhat.io/redhat/redhat-operator-index:v4.9...
      Getting image source signatures
      Copying blob ae8a0c23f5b1 done
      INFO[0000] serving registry                              database=/database/index.db port=50051
    2. In a separate terminal session, use the grpcurl command to get a list of the packages provided by the index:

      $ grpcurl -plaintext localhost:50051 api.Registry/ListPackages > packages.out
    3. Inspect the packages.out file and identify which package names from this list you want to keep in your pruned index. For example:

      Example snippets of packages list
        "name": "advanced-cluster-management"
        "name": "jaeger-product"
        "name": "quay-operator"
    4. In the terminal session where you executed the podman run command, press Ctrl and C to stop the container process.

  4. Run the following command to prune the source index of all but the specified packages:

    $ opm index prune \
        -f registry.redhat.io/redhat/redhat-operator-index:v4.9 \(1)
        -p advanced-cluster-management,jaeger-product,quay-operator \(2)
        [-i registry.redhat.io/openshift4/ose-operator-registry:v4.9] \(3)
        -t <target_registry>:<port>/<namespace>/redhat-operator-index:v4.9 (4)
    1 Index to prune.
    2 Comma-separated list of packages to keep.
    3 Required only for IBM Power Systems and IBM Z images: Operator Registry base image with the tag that matches the target OpenShift Container Platform cluster major and minor version.
    4 Custom tag for new index image being built.
  5. Run the following command to push the new index image to your target registry:

    $ podman push <target_registry>:<port>/<namespace>/redhat-operator-index:v4.9

    where <namespace> is any existing namespace on the registry. For example, you might create an olm-mirror namespace to push all mirrored content to.

Mirroring an Operator catalog

For instructions about mirroring Operator catalogs for use with disconnected clusters, see Installing → Mirroring images for a disconnected installation.

Adding a catalog source to a cluster

Adding a catalog source to an OpenShift Container Platform cluster enables the discovery and installation of Operators for users. Cluster administrators can create a CatalogSource object that references an index image. OperatorHub uses catalog sources to populate the user interface.

  • An index image built and pushed to a registry.

  1. Create a CatalogSource object that references your index image. If you used the oc adm catalog mirror command to mirror your catalog to a target registry, you can use the generated catalogSource.yaml file in your manifests directory as a starting point.

    1. Modify the following to your specifications and save it as a catalogSource.yaml file:

      apiVersion: operators.coreos.com/v1alpha1
      kind: CatalogSource
        name: my-operator-catalog (1)
        namespace: openshift-marketplace (2)
        sourceType: grpc
        image: <registry>/<namespace>/redhat-operator-index:v4.9 (3)
        displayName: My Operator Catalog
        publisher: <publisher_name> (4)
          registryPoll: (5)
            interval: 30m
      1 If you want the catalog source to be available globally to users in all namespaces, specify the openshift-marketplace namespace. Otherwise, you can specify a different namespace for the catalog to be scoped and available only for that namespace.
      2 If you mirrored content to local files before uploading to a registry, remove any backslash (/) characters from the metadata.name field to avoid an "invalid resource name" error when you create the object.
      3 Specify your index image.
      4 Specify your name or an organization name publishing the catalog.
      5 Catalog sources can automatically check for new versions to keep up to date.
    2. Use the file to create the CatalogSource object:

      $ oc apply -f catalogSource.yaml
  2. Verify the following resources are created successfully.

    1. Check the pods:

      $ oc get pods -n openshift-marketplace
      Example output
      NAME                                    READY   STATUS    RESTARTS  AGE
      my-operator-catalog-6njx6               1/1     Running   0         28s
      marketplace-operator-d9f549946-96sgr    1/1     Running   0         26h
    2. Check the catalog source:

      $ oc get catalogsource -n openshift-marketplace
      Example output
      NAME                  DISPLAY               TYPE PUBLISHER  AGE
      my-operator-catalog   My Operator Catalog   grpc            5s
    3. Check the package manifest:

      $ oc get packagemanifest -n openshift-marketplace
      Example output
      NAME                          CATALOG               AGE
      jaeger-product                My Operator Catalog   93s

You can now install the Operators from the OperatorHub page on your OpenShift Container Platform web console.

Additional resources

Updating a SQLite-based index image

After configuring OperatorHub to use a catalog source that references a custom index image, cluster administrators can keep the available Operators on their cluster up to date by adding bundle images to the index image.

You can update an existing index image using the opm index add command. For restricted networks, the updated content must also be mirrored again to the cluster.

  • opm version 1.18.0+

  • podman version 1.9.3+

  • An index image built and pushed to a registry.

  • An existing catalog source referencing the index image.

  1. Update the existing index by adding bundle images:

    $ opm index add \
        --bundles <registry>/<namespace>/<new_bundle_image>@sha256:<digest> \(1)
        --from-index <registry>/<namespace>/<existing_index_image>:<tag> \(2)
        --tag <registry>/<namespace>/<existing_index_image>:<tag> (3)
    1 A comma-separated list of additional bundle images to add to the index.
    2 The existing index that was previously pushed.
    3 The image tag that you want the updated index image to have.
  2. Push the updated index image:

    $ podman push <registry>/<namespace>/<existing_index_image>:<tag>
  3. Follow the steps in the Mirroring an Operator catalog procedure again to mirror the updated content. However, when you get to the step about creating the ImageContentSourcePolicy (ICSP) object, use the oc replace command instead of the oc create command. For example:

    $ oc replace -f ./manifests-redhat-operator-index-<random_number>/imageContentSourcePolicy.yaml

    This change is required because the object already exists and must be updated.

    Normally, the oc apply command can be used to update existing objects that were previously created using oc apply. However, due to a known issue regarding the size of the metadata.annotations field in ICSP objects, the oc replace command must be used for this step currently.

  4. After Operator Lifecycle Manager (OLM) automatically polls the index image referenced in the catalog source at its regular interval, verify that the new packages are successfully added:

    $ oc get packagemanifests -n openshift-marketplace
Additional resources