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Lightrun Kubernetes Operator

The Lightrun Kubernetes (K8s) Operator is a Kubernetes operator provided by Lightrun to help install Lightrun agents in your Kubernetes workloads without having to change your docker or manifest files.

The Lightrun Kubernetes operator project was initially scaffolded using kubebuilder book and operator-sdk, and the project aims to follow the Kubernetes Operator pattern. You can find the project’s GitHub repository here.

How does the Lightrun Kubernetes Operator work?

To add and debug with Lightrun agents in your Kubernetes cluster, you must:

  1. Install a Lightrun agent into the cluster (with initContainers or with Persistent Volumes).
  2. Instruct your application to start using the installed agent.

The Lightrun K8s Operator carries out these two steps automatically for you. You can learn more about how the Lightrun K8s Operator works by checking out the following link.

Setup the Lightrun Kubernetes Operator


This tutorial assumes that you are using Kubernetes version 1.25 or later.

Install the Lightrun Kubernetes Operator

  1. Create a namespace for the Lightrun Kubernetes Operator.
    kubectl create namespace lightrun-operator
  2. Deploy the Lightrun Kubernetes Operator to the created namespace.
    kubectl apply -f -n lightrun-operator
  3. To show how the Lightrun operator works, we have created a test deployment for you. You can access the deployment.yaml file here. Create a sample deployment namespace and deploy the deployment.yaml file to the created namespace.
    $ kubectl create namespace lightrun-agent-test
    $ kubectl apply -f -n lightrun-agent-test
  4. Create a test folder.
    mkdir lightrun_operator_test
  5. Download the Lightrun K8s Operator agent configuration file into the test folder.

    curl > agent.yaml
    An agent.yaml file will appear in the test folder.

  6. Open the agent.yaml file in your preferred code editor and edit the following configuration options.

    • serverHostname: The serverHostname value is your Lightrun server url. For SaaS, the value is, while on-prem users will have to use their own hostname.
    • lightrun_key: Your Lightrun secret key.
    • pinned_cert_hash: You can get this value by navigating to https://<serverHostname>/api/getPinnedServerCert. Note - you have to be authenticated to the Lightrun server to view the key.
  7. Create the agent Custom resource.

    kubectl apply -f agent.yaml -n lightrun-agent-test

  8. Login to your Lightrun management portal to confirm if the new agent was registered.

Install the Lightrun Kubernetes Operator with Helm Chart

  1. Add the Lightrun K8s Operator repository to your Helm repository list.
    helm repo add lightrun-k8s-operator
  2. Install the Helm chart repository using one of these methods:

    • Install using default values.
      helm install lightrun-k8s-operator/lightrun-k8s-operator  -n lightrun-operator --create-namespace
    • Install using a custom values file.
      helm install lightrun-k8s-operator/lightrun-k8s-operator  -f <values file>  -n lightrun-operator --create-namespace
  3. To uninstall the Helm chart.

    helm delete lightrun-k8s-operator


  • helm upgrade --install or helm install --dry-run may not work properly due to limitations of how Helm work with CRDs. You can find more info here.
  • CRDs will not be deleted due to Helm CRDs limitations. You can learn more about the limitations here.

Chart version vs controller version

For the sake of simplicity, we are keeping the convention of the same version for both the controller image and the Helm chart. This helps to ensure that controller actions are aligned with CRDs preventing failed resource validation errors.

Lightrun Kubernetes Operator Limitations

  1. If an application has JDWR enabled, it will cause a conflict with the Lightrun agent installed by the Lightrun K8s operator.
  2. You must install the correct init container for your application’s container platform. For example, lightruncom/k8s-operator-init-java-agent-linux:1.7.0-init.0.

    Supported platforms:

    • Linux
    • Alpine

    K8s type of deployment:

    • Deployment

    Supported languages:

    • Java

Last update: June 6, 2024