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Service Catalog is an extension API that enables applications running in Kubernetes clusters to easily use external managed software offerings, such as a datastore service offered by a cloud provider.
It provides a way to list, provision, and bind with external Managed Services from Service Brokers without needing detailed knowledge about how those services are created or managed.
A service broker, as defined by the Open service broker API spec, is an endpoint for a set of managed services offered and maintained by a third-party, which could be a cloud provider such as AWS, GCP, or Azure. Some examples of managed services are Microsoft Azure Cloud Queue, Amazon Simple Queue Service, and Google Cloud Pub/Sub, but they can be any software offering that can be used by an application.
Using Service Catalog, a cluster operator can browse the list of managed services offered by a service broker, provision an instance of a managed service, and bind with it to make it available to an application in the Kubernetes cluster.
Example use case
An application developer wants to use message queuing as part of their application running in a Kubernetes cluster. However, they do not want to deal with the overhead of setting such a service up and administering it themselves. Fortunately, there is a cloud provider that offers message queuing as a managed service through its service broker.
A cluster operator can setup Service Catalog and use it to communicate with the cloud provider's service broker to provision an instance of the message queuing service and make it available to the application within the Kubernetes cluster. The application developer therefore does not need to be concerned with the implementation details or management of the message queue. The application can access the message queue as a service.
Service Catalog uses the Open service broker API to communicate with service brokers, acting as an intermediary for the Kubernetes API Server to negotiate the initial provisioning and retrieve the credentials necessary for the application to use a managed service.
It is implemented using a CRDs-based architecture.
Service Catalog installs the
servicecatalog.k8s.io API and provides the following Kubernetes resources:
ClusterServiceBroker: An in-cluster representation of a service broker, encapsulating its server connection details. These are created and managed by cluster operators who wish to use that broker server to make new types of managed services available within their cluster.
ClusterServiceClass: A managed service offered by a particular service broker. When a new
ClusterServiceBrokerresource is added to the cluster, the Service Catalog controller connects to the service broker to obtain a list of available managed services. It then creates a new
ClusterServiceClassresource corresponding to each managed service.
ClusterServicePlan: A specific offering of a managed service. For example, a managed service may have different plans available, such as a free tier or paid tier, or it may have different configuration options, such as using SSD storage or having more resources. Similar to
ClusterServiceClass, when a new
ClusterServiceBrokeris added to the cluster, Service Catalog creates a new
ClusterServicePlanresource corresponding to each Service Plan available for each managed service.
ServiceInstance: A provisioned instance of a
ClusterServiceClass. These are created by cluster operators to make a specific instance of a managed service available for use by one or more in-cluster applications. When a new
ServiceInstanceresource is created, the Service Catalog controller connects to the appropriate service broker and instruct it to provision the service instance.
ServiceBinding: Access credentials to a
ServiceInstance. These are created by cluster operators who want their applications to make use of a
ServiceInstance. Upon creation, the Service Catalog controller creates a Kubernetes
Secretcontaining connection details and credentials for the Service Instance, which can be mounted into Pods.
Service Catalog supports these methods of authentication:
- Basic (username/password)
- OAuth 2.0 Bearer Token
A cluster operator can use Service Catalog API Resources to provision managed services and make them available within a Kubernetes cluster. The steps involved are:
- Listing the managed services and Service Plans available from a service broker.
- Provisioning a new instance of the managed service.
- Binding to the managed service, which returns the connection credentials.
- Mapping the connection credentials into the application.
Listing managed services and Service Plans
First, a cluster operator must create a
ClusterServiceBroker resource within the
servicecatalog.k8s.io group. This resource contains the URL and connection details necessary to access a service broker endpoint.
This is an example of a
apiVersion: servicecatalog.k8s.io/v1beta1 kind: ClusterServiceBroker metadata: name: cloud-broker spec: # Points to the endpoint of a service broker. (This example is not a working URL.) url: https://servicebroker.somecloudprovider.com/v1alpha1/projects/service-catalog/brokers/default ##### # Additional values can be added here, which may be used to communicate # with the service broker, such as bearer token info or a caBundle for TLS. #####
The following is a sequence diagram illustrating the steps involved in listing managed services and Plans available from a service broker:
ClusterServiceBrokerresource is added to Service Catalog, it triggers a call to the external service broker for a list of available services.
The service broker returns a list of available managed services and a list of Service Plans, which are cached locally as
A cluster operator can then get the list of available managed services using the following command:
kubectl get clusterserviceclasses -o=custom-columns=SERVICE\ NAME:.metadata.name,EXTERNAL\ NAME:.spec.externalName
It should output a list of service names with a format similar to:
SERVICE NAME EXTERNAL NAME 4f6e6cf6-ffdd-425f-a2c7-3c9258ad2468 cloud-provider-service ... ...
They can also view the Service Plans available using the following command:
kubectl get clusterserviceplans -o=custom-columns=PLAN\ NAME:.metadata.name,EXTERNAL\ NAME:.spec.externalName
It should output a list of plan names with a format similar to:
PLAN NAME EXTERNAL NAME 86064792-7ea2-467b-af93-ac9694d96d52 service-plan-name ... ...
Provisioning a new instance
A cluster operator can initiate the provisioning of a new instance by creating a
This is an example of a
apiVersion: servicecatalog.k8s.io/v1beta1 kind: ServiceInstance metadata: name: cloud-queue-instance namespace: cloud-apps spec: # References one of the previously returned services clusterServiceClassExternalName: cloud-provider-service clusterServicePlanExternalName: service-plan-name ##### # Additional parameters can be added here, # which may be used by the service broker. #####
The following sequence diagram illustrates the steps involved in provisioning a new instance of a managed service:
- When the
ServiceInstanceresource is created, Service Catalog initiates a call to the external service broker to provision an instance of the service.
- The service broker creates a new instance of the managed service and returns an HTTP response.
- A cluster operator can then check the status of the instance to see if it is ready.
Binding to a managed service
After a new instance has been provisioned, a cluster operator must bind to the managed service to get the connection credentials and service account details necessary for the application to use the service. This is done by creating a
The following is an example of a
apiVersion: servicecatalog.k8s.io/v1beta1 kind: ServiceBinding metadata: name: cloud-queue-binding namespace: cloud-apps spec: instanceRef: name: cloud-queue-instance ##### # Additional information can be added here, such as a secretName or # service account parameters, which may be used by the service broker. #####
The following sequence diagram illustrates the steps involved in binding to a managed service instance:
- After the
ServiceBindingis created, Service Catalog makes a call to the external service broker requesting the information necessary to bind with the service instance.
- The service broker enables the application permissions/roles for the appropriate service account.
- The service broker returns the information necessary to connect and access the managed service instance. This is provider and service-specific so the information returned may differ between Service Providers and their managed services.
Mapping the connection credentials
After binding, the final step involves mapping the connection credentials and service-specific information into the application. These pieces of information are stored in secrets that the application in the cluster can access and use to connect directly with the managed service.
Pod configuration File
One method to perform this mapping is to use a declarative Pod configuration.
The following example describes how to map service account credentials into the application. A key called
sa-key is stored in a volume named
provider-cloud-key, and the application mounts this volume at
/var/secrets/provider/key.json. The environment variable
PROVIDER_APPLICATION_CREDENTIALS is mapped from the value of the mounted file.
... spec: volumes: - name: provider-cloud-key secret: secretName: sa-key containers: ... volumeMounts: - name: provider-cloud-key mountPath: /var/secrets/provider env: - name: PROVIDER_APPLICATION_CREDENTIALS value: "/var/secrets/provider/key.json"
The following example describes how to map secret values into application environment variables. In this example, the messaging queue topic name is mapped from a secret named
provider-queue-credentials with a key named
topic to the environment variable
... env: - name: "TOPIC" valueFrom: secretKeyRef: name: provider-queue-credentials key: topic
- If you are familiar with Helm Charts, install Service Catalog using Helm into your Kubernetes cluster. Alternatively, you can install Service Catalog using the SC tool.
- View sample service brokers.
- Explore the kubernetes-sigs/service-catalog project.
- View svc-cat.io.