The kubernetes Operator Pattern is exactly what it sounds like. It is code or automation that acts like the set of runbooks a human operator of an application would use to deploy, monitor, troubleshoot, upgrade and decommission an application. The operator can do these functions because it has a deep understanding of the application it is operating on and knowns if the application is functioning correctly.

When Solace first introduced a Kubernetes solution back in the days of Kubernetes 1.5 and 1.6, Operator concepts where very much in flux. For this reason, we based our Solution on Helm to do initial deployments and rolling upgrades and config-maps as the glue that binds together the highly available cluster of brokers together. But today Kubernetes Operators are far more prevalent and stable. They make extending Kubernetes behaviour to manage stateful applications like event brokers and databases possible via custom resource and custom resource definitions. So for organizations that manage their deployments through custom resources and operators a Solace operator would be useful, here is why.

All Kubernetes deployments are a collection of resources. Services, Persistent Volumes, Secrets, Pods, are example of basic resources that are composed together to make up a deployment. With a Solace custom resources as defined in an operator, then a Solace highly available cluster could also be used as another resource to compose a deployment. Its life cycle tied to the deployment and maintained within the deployment. It would be possible for example to upgrade brokers and applications in one operation.

The easiest first step toward a Solace Operator is to wrap the existing Helm charts and Kubernetes templates into an operator based with the Operator SDK. So, lets see how to do that.

The result of the package command will produce pubsubplus-2.1.2.tgz

Now that you have a helm package configured the way you want, use this to create the operator with the following workflow:

The new image can be seen loaded locally

docker images

REPOSITORY                                 TAG                 IMAGE ID            CREATED             SIZE
kenbarr/pubsubplus-operator                v0.0.2              435ddaefa627        14 minutes ago      174MB

(Optional) Push newly built operator into container repo, here I am using personal dockerhub

docker push  kenbarr/pubsubplus-operator:v0.0.2
857870fbcbfe: Pushed                                                   6e6a6b67e101: Layer already exists                                                                                      b496b494f6f9: Layer already exists                             9fd48ecc1227: Layer already exists                                                                                      0141daa77f22: Layer already exists                             27cd2023d60a: Layer already exists                                                                                      4b52dfd1f9d9: Layer already exists                     v0.0.2: digest: sha256:199c815d49f59e3e8cad16133fc799a88cda61a3c051470334811430d116b044 size: 1779

The next steps are to deploy and test the new operator

Edit the opertor.yaml file to point at the newly created operator container image.

vi deploy/operator.yaml
        - name: pubsubplus-operator
          # Replace this with the built image name
          image: kenbarr/pubsubplus-operator:v0.0.1 

Ensure roles are correct to create custom service account. Ensure these lines exist in deploy/role.yaml

- apiGroups:
  - rolebindings
  - roles
  - '*'
- apiGroups:
  - ""
  - serviceaccounts
  - '*'

Deploy the operator with specific service account and role binding.

kubectl apply -f deploy/service_account.yaml
kubectl apply -f deploy/role.yaml
kubectl apply -f deploy/role_binding.yaml
kubectl apply -f deploy/operator.yaml

You can verify the operator container is deployed and running.

$ kubectl get deployment
pubsubplus-operator       1         1         1            1           1m

kubectl get pods
NAME                                  READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
pubsubplus-operator-5889cf85c-446kb   1/1     Running   0          3m36s

Finally run the operator to start the Solace cluster

kubectl apply -f deploy/crds/charts.helm.k8s.io_v1alpha1_pubsubplus_cr.yaml

Validate the Solace brokers are live and ready.

kubectl get pods
NAME                                  READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
example-pubsubplus-pubsubplus-0       1/1     Running   0          96s
example-pubsubplus-pubsubplus-1       1/1     Running   0          96s
example-pubsubplus-pubsubplus-2       1/1     Running   0          95s
pubsubplus-operator-5889cf85c-446kb   1/1     Running   0          3m36s

Go on the primary broker with node ordinal 0 and validate "Redundancy Status" = "Up". This means that all the brokers are syncronized and ready to recieve messages.

kubectl exec -it example-pubsubplus-pubsubplus-0 cli
example-pubsubplus-pubsubplus-0> show redundancy

Configuration Status     : Enabled
Redundancy Status        : Up
Operating Mode           : Message Routing Node
Switchover Mechanism     : Hostlist
Auto Revert              : No
Redundancy Mode          : Active/Standby
Active-Standby Role      : Primary
Mate Router Name         : examplepubsubpluspubsubplus1
ADB Link To Mate         : Up
ADB Hello To Mate        : Up

Finally get the name of the loadbalancing Service that fronts the Solace cluster. This will be the name used be applications connect to Solace.

kubectl get services
NAME                                      TYPE           CLUSTER-IP      EXTERNAL-IP   PORT(S)                                                                                                                                                                   AGE
example-pubsubplus-pubsubplus             LoadBalancer     <pending>     2222:31348/TCP,8080:31717/TCP,1943:32170/TCP,55555:32597/TCP,55003:30106/TCP,55443:32318/TCP,8008:31054/TCP,1443:32713/TCP,5672:32610/TCP,1883:30046/TCP,9000:31317/TCP   5m4s

Using the test application found here to test, we see successful send and receipt of messages.

*** Subscriber to topic "tutorial/topic" is ready to connect ***
[21:13:32] Connecting to Solace message router using url: ws://example-pubsubplus-pubsubplus:8008
[21:13:32] Client username: subscriber
[21:13:32] Solace message router VPN name: default
[21:13:32] Press Ctrl-C to exit
[21:13:32] === Successfully connected and ready to subscribe. ===
[21:13:32] Subscribing to topic: tutorial/topic
[21:13:32] Successfully subscribed to topic: tutorial/topic
[21:13:32] === Ready to receive messages. ===
[21:17:40] Received message: "Sample Message", details:
Destination:                            [Topic tutorial/topic]
Class Of Service:                       COS1
DeliveryMode:                           DIRECT
Binary Attachment:                      len=14
  53 61 6d 70 6c 65 20 4d    65 73 73 61 67 65          Sample.Message

From here you should be able to stress the cluster be deleting nodes,(in public clouds), or pods and watch the Solace HA cluster heal itself.

Finally, to clean up and remove Solace HA cluster, the operator and the CRD.

kubectl delete -f deploy/crds/charts.helm.k8s.io_v1alpha1_pubsubplus_cr.yaml
kubectl delete -f deploy/operator.yaml
kubectl delete -f deploy/role_binding.yaml
kubectl delete -f deploy/role.yaml
kubectl delete -f deploy/service_account.yaml
kubectl delete -f deploy/crds/charts.helm.k8s.io_pubsubplus_crd.yaml

Note: this will not automatically delete the persistent volumes.

kubectl get pvc
kubectl delete -R pvc <no-longer-needed-pvc>