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The Ambassador Operator

The Ambassador Operator is a Kubernetes Operator that controls the complete lifecycle of Ambassador Edge Stack in your cluster. It also automates many of the repeatable tasks you have to perform for Ambassador Edge Stack. Once installed, the Ambassador Operator will automatically complete rapid installations and seamless upgrades to new versions of Ambassador Edge Stack. Read more about the benefits of the Operator.

A Kubernetes operator is a software extension that makes it easier to manage and automate your Kubernetes-based applications, in the spirit of a human operator. Operators complete actions such as deploying, upgrading and maintaining applications, and many others. Read more about Kubernetes Operators here.

This document covers installing the Operator:

And also shows how the Operator automatically updates versions.

Install the Operator

Start by installing the operator:

  1. Create the Operator Custom Resource schema with the following command: kubectl apply -f https://github.com/datawire/ambassador-operator/releases/latest/download/ambassador-operator-crds.yaml

  2. Install the actual CRD for the Ambassador Operator in the ambassador namespace with the following command: kubectl apply -n ambassador -f https://github.com/datawire/ambassador-operator/releases/latest/download/ambassador-operator.yaml

  3. To install the Ambassador Operator CRD in a different namespace, you can specify it in NS and then run the following command:

    $ NS="custom-namespace"
    $ curl -L https://github.com/datawire/ambassador-operator/releases/latest/download/ambassador-operator.yaml | \
    sed -e "s/namespace: ambassador/namespace: $NS/g" | \
    kubectl apply -n $NS -f -

Then, create the AmbassadorInstallation Custom Resource schema and apply it to the Ambassador Operator.

  1. To create the AmbassadorInstallation Custom Resource schema, use the following YAML as your guideline.
  2. Save that file as amb-install.yaml
  3. Edit the amb-install.yaml and optionally complete configurations such as Version constraint or UpdateWindow:
  4. Finally, apply your AmbassadorInstallation CRD to the Ambassador Operator schema with the following command: kubectl apply -n ambassador -f amb-install.yaml

Configuration for Ambassador Edge Stack

After the initial installation of Ambassador Edge Stack, the Operator will check for updates every 24 hours and delay the update until the Update Window allows the update to proceed. It will use the Version Syntax for determining if any new release is acceptable. When a new release is available and acceptable, the Operator will upgrade Ambassador Edge Stack.

Version syntax and update window

To specify version numbers, use SemVer for the version number for any level of precision. This can optionally end in *. For example:

  • 1.0 = exactly version 1.0
  • 1.1 = exactly version 1.1
  • 1.1.* = version 1.1 and any bug fix versions 1.1.1, 1.1.2, 1.1.3, etc.
  • 2.* = version 2.0 and any incremental and bug fix versions 2.0, 2.0.1, 2.0.2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.2.1, etc.
  • * = all versions.
  • 3.0-ea = version 3.0-ea1 and any subsequent EA releases on 3.0. Also selects the final 3.0 once the final GA version is released.
  • 4.*-ea = version 4.0-ea1 and any subsequent EA release on 4.0. This also selects:
    • the final GA 4.0.
    • any incremental and bug fix versions 4.* and 4
    • the most recent 4.* EA release (i.e., if 4.0.5 is the last GA version and there is a 4.1-EA3, then this selects 4.1-EA3 over the 4.0.5 GA).

Read more about SemVer here.

updateWindow is an optional item that will control when the updates can take place. This is used to force system updates to happen during specified times.

There can be any number of updateWindow entries (separated by commas). Never turns off automatic updates even if there are other entries in the comma-separated list. Never is used by sysadmins to disable all updates during blackout periods by doing a kubectl apply or using our Edge Policy Console to set this.

Each updateWindow is in crontab format (see https://crontab.guru/) Some examples of updateWindow are:

  • 0-6 * * * SUN: every Sunday, from 0am to 6am
  • 5 1 * * *: every first day of the month, at 5am

The Operator cannot guarantee minute time granularity, so specifying a minute in the crontab expression can lead to some updates happening sooner/later than expected.

installOSS in an optional field which, if set to true, installs Emissary-ingress instead of Ambassador Edge Stack. Default: false.

Customizing the installation with some Helm values

helmValues is an optional map of configurable parameters of the Ambassador Edge Stack chart with some overriden values. Take a look at the current list of values and their default values.


apiVersion: getambassador.io/v2
kind: AmbassadorInstallation
name: ambassador
version: "*"
pullPolicy: Always
name: ambassador
- name: http
port: 80
targetPort: 8080
type: NodePort
  • Note that the spec.installOSS parameter should be used instead of spec.helmValues.enableAES to control whether Emissary-ingress or Ambassador Edge Stack is installed. A configuration where both installOSS and enableAES are set to the same value will introduce a conflict and result in an error.

Install via Helm Chart

You can also install the Ambassador Operator from a Helm Chart. The following Helm values are supported:

  • image.name: Operator image name
  • image.pullPolicy: Operator image pull policy
  • namespace: namespace in which to install the Operator

To do so:

  1. Add the Helm repository to your Helm client with helm repo add datawire https://getambassador.io

  2. Run the following command: helm install datawire/ambassador-operator

  3. Once the new Operator is working, create a new CRD called AmbassadorInstallation based on the following YAML:

    $ cat <<EOF | kubectl apply -n ambassador -f -
    apiVersion: getambassador.io/v2
    kind: AmbassadorInstallation
    name: ambassador
    version: 1.2.0

Updates by the Operator

After the AmbassadorInstallation is created for the first time, the Operator will then use the list of releases available for the Ambassador Edge Stack Helm Chart for determining the most recent version that can be installed, using the optional Version Syntax for filtering the releases that are acceptable.

It will then install Ambassador Edge Stack, using any extra arguments provided in the AmbassadorInstallation, like the baseImage, the logLevel or any of the helmValues.

For example:

$ cat <<EOF | kubectl apply -n ambassador -f -
apiVersion: getambassador.io/v2
kind: AmbassadorInstallation
name: ambassador
version: 1.2.0

After applying an AmbassadorInstallation customer resource like this in a new cluster, the Operator will install a new instance of Ambassador Edge Stack 1.2.0 in the ambassador namespace, immediately. Removing this AmbassadorInstallation will uninstall Ambassador Edge Stack from this namespace.

Verify configuration

To verify that everything was installed and configured correctly, you can visually confirm the set up in the Edge Policy Console on the “Debugging” tab. Alternatively, you can check the Operator pod in your cluster to check its health and run status.


We’re here to help if you have questions.