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New MetalLB chart and our own operator charts.

Introdocution: Our own Operator Charts

The last few months, we’ve experimented with injecting so-called “operators” into the cluster directly when using our charts. Manifests for things like: MetalLB, Cert-Manager and CNPG where always loaded. While this system guaranteed users where always running the latest operator versions, we’ve also encountered some downsides. Primarily:

  • Loading manifests from the web is a security issue
  • Loading manifests required a pre-install job, with full-cluster permissions. Which is also a security issue.
  • Mistakes in the manifests, directly affect all users regardless of version
  • It requires creating namespaces outside of the ix-something style, while not an issue that’s something somehow iX developers voiced annoyance with.
  • It lacks any configurability for users that need a customization
  • It prevents users from using these operators outside of the TrueCharts scope on non-scale systems

To fix all of these issues, we’ve had quite the challenge. First off we needed to figure out a way of preventing users from installing multiple instances of the same operator. But we also needed to ensure ourselves that users always had the correct operators installed for the charts they want to install.

We’ve by now designed an industry leading helm logic, that scans your cluster for references of installed operators and compares those to the required operators.

Besides this logic, we also need to write the Helm Charts ourselves. This is a lot of work, as operators are often notoriosly complex to write helm charts for. Luckily we’ve enough experienced Kubernetes developers that we’re certain to pull this off!

First chart: MetalLB

As a first example of our new logic, we’re super happy to introduce our first self-build operator helm chart: MetalLB. It will be completely self-contained within it’s own namespace, not load dynamic manifests from the web and doesn’t contain risky security practices.

Obviously this chart, in the operators train, has a naming conflict with the old metallb chart in the enterprise train, so the later has been renamed to metallb-config requiring a reinstall. We want to point out that only the new metallb-config chart is compatible with the new self-build metallb operator.

We are very happy to also announce that the metallb-config chart, is fully compatible with our old and new ways of installing/managing metallb. However, new installs of the old way of handling metallb (without the chart from the operators train), will be actively disabled from now on.

To use MetalLB on new installs, one needs to install both metallb and metallb-config, in that order.

Updating to the new MetalLB helm chart

We want to point out though, that users should update the new MetalLB Helm chart as soon as possible. To update a current install using MetalLB to the new system, the following procedure can be used:

  • remove the old metallb chart coming from the enterprise train
  • run this in a root shell: k3s kubectl delete --grace-period 30 --v=4 -k
  • install the new metallb chart from the operators train
  • wait a few minutes
  • install or update metallb-config to the latest version
  • wait a few minutes
  • Hit edit on metallb-config and save without changes if you where already on the latest version or it isn’t working yet
  • wait a few minutes

If you run into additional issues, please file a ticket with our dedicated support staff via the #support channel of our discord as normal.