Collaborate on application lifecycle managent in k8s - let's have a meeting to discuss

If you want to discuss about these, answer this form to find a date.
Vote until the 8th of June 3pm, and I’ll tell the date here the 8th of June at 4pm.


We, at IndieHosters, run on kubernetes since more than 3 years now.

We went through different phases to manage our deployments:

From this experience, we can tell that managing the deploy object is the easy part of the story, of our job.
And helm is really good at that.

But, our job, system administrator, involves a lot more tasks than just deploy, and run a migration script to update.

Here is our migrations, where we keep track of these admin tasks.

And templating is fine to replace values, but when you start to need turing complete language, it becomes difficult to manage.

And because we plan to maintain these kubernetes clusters for the next decade, we want to have solid foundations. That’s why we want to redevelop these packages as operators. (Nextcloud operator, Matrix operator, Discourse operator…)

For all these reasons, we’d like to discuss the creation of a yunohost like system, but based on kubernetes primitives.

And we’d like to collaborate with you on this endeavor.

Potential collaboration

There is a wide variety of subject we could discuss like:

  • distrib kubernetes / Infra
    • VM provider
    • OS
    • kubernetes binary
  • Curating backend/infra services providers
    • storage
      • objects
      • databases
      • cache
    • network
      • overlay
      • gateway/proxy
      • LoadBalancer
      • cert manager
  • Identity Management
    • Identity provider
    • clients provisionning
      • SAML
      • OiDC
    • user/group sync
  • UI Dashboard
    • manage users/groups
    • manage applications
  • Curating Collaboration plateforme
    • RocketChat vs Matrix
    • Nextcloud vs seafile vs raw s3
  • Maintain Upstream apps
    • share work to bug fix Nextcloud

But we’ll not discuss about those.
Instead, we’d like to discuss on:

Application operator

For each app, we aim to build a “package” spec (a CRD) that would allow us to:

  • deploy
  • update
  • perform migrations (change bucket endpoint for instance)
  • backup/restore/clone

The goal is to be able to deploy this application in these envs:

  • single home env, like a VM or arm computer
  • high availability setup



  • safe : not easy to break
  • auto pilot : set it and forget it
    • auto update
    • auto scaling
  • 2 topology for app deployments
    • single node : simple setup & small footprint
    • high availibility : survives node failure & rolling update
  • backup/restore : from one to another
  • point in time recovery
  • modularity : you can swap backing service implementation


  • highly customizable : it’s not kustomize, you can’t change every fields
  • support every scenario : we offer a curated experience, if your cluster isn’t compatible, deploy a dedicated one
  • use existing packages (helm or kustomize)
  • build a package manager : it won’t replace helm & kustomize

Technical problems

Abstract backing service management

We need standard APIs to manage and keep track of the backing services, and extract most of required logic from the app management code.
A CRD + controller for each service seems like kube way. And it avoid building http api and the need of external state storage.

Example backend services:

  • Id provider
  • database
  • object store
  • redis
  • email

(We tried to discuss upstream about this concept, but it is way too much work for our small coop (: )

Separate infrastructure specific configuration (of backing service)

We need to choose and configure backing service’s provisionner. It’s the kind of config done once at installation and availible cluster wide.
The existing storageClass concept is interesting. Using something similar will allow us to decouple this config from any instance (app or backing service) CRD. It also avoid repetition. And it can be managed by a specific role (RBAC).

Potential solution based on Crossplane:

This object is deployed by the Nextlcoud operator:

kind: PostgreSQL
  namespace: default
  name: my-db
    storage: 5G
    name: zalandopg
    name: my-db-connection-details

Then, as cluster admin, you can then decide to use crossplane to implement this CRD (or develop your onw controller implementation).
We configure our cluster to transform this object into a postgres zalando object with this config:

kind: Composition
  name: zalandopg
    provider: kubernetes
  writeConnectionSecretsToNamespace: libresh-system
    kind: XPostgreSQLInstance
    - name: zalandoinstance
        kind: Object
            name: kubernetes-provider
              kind: postgresql
                databases: {}
                numberOfInstances: 1
                  version: "12"
                teamId: libresh
                users: {}
        - type: FromCompositeFieldPath
          fromFieldPath: metadata.labels[""]
          toFieldPath: spec.forProvider.manifest.metadata.namespace
        - type: FromCompositeFieldPath
            - type: string
                fmt: "libresh-%s"
        - type: FromCompositeFieldPath
          toFieldPath: spec.forProvider.manifest.spec.volume.size
        - type: MatchString
          fieldPath: status.atProvider.manifest.status.PostgresClusterStatus
          matchString: "Running"

You can find more yaml ideas here.

Referencing other application

kind: CollaboraClaim
  name: test-instance
    name: collabora-connection-details

Using external backing services

See Crossplane.

Managing app configs for many instances

How do we configure many Nextcloud instances with defaults, and specifics.


This is awesome @pierreozoux!

I have some updates for you on this plane: we’re just out of the third meeting for setting up a cooperative datacenter nearby and we agreed on using \o/ More later…

But I have bad news as well: I’ll be on the road from June 8 to June 20-something, so a meeting will be improbable. If there is a date and it matches my schedule I’ll be happy to join though. I’ll pass the meeting info on to my new colleagues :slight_smile:

And I’m planning to go to Lyon on the way back @unteem… Let’s find a moment to find each other.

@how we’ll take note and organize a monthly meeting anyway, I’ll tell when is the recurrence.

It will be Tuesday, June 14, 2022 - 16h

See you there!

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