TiDB Operator Overview

TiDB Operator is an automatic operation system for TiDB clusters in Kubernetes. It provides a full management life-cycle for TiDB including deployment, upgrades, scaling, backup, fail-over, and configuration changes. With TiDB Operator, TiDB can run seamlessly in the Kubernetes clusters deployed on a public or private cloud.


You can only deploy one TiDB Operator in a Kubernetes cluster.

The corresponding relationship between TiDB Operator and TiDB versions is as follows:

TiDB Operator version Compatible TiDB versions
v1.0 v2.1, v3.0
v1.1 v3.0, v3.1, v4.0
dev v3.0, v3.1, v4.0, dev

TiDB Operator architecture

TiDB Operator Overview

TidbCluster, TidbMonitor, TidbInitializer, Backup, Restore, BackupSchedule, and TidbClusterAutoScaler are custom resources defined by CRD (CustomResourceDefinition).

  • TidbCluster describes the desired state of the TiDB cluster.
  • TidbMonitor describes the monitoring components of the TiDB cluster.
  • TidbInitializer describes the desired initialization Job of the TiDB cluster.
  • Backup describes the desired backup of the TiDB cluster.
  • Restore describes the desired restoration of the TiDB cluster.
  • BackupSchedule describes the scheduled backup of the TiDB cluster.
  • TidbClusterAutoScaler describes the automatic scaling of the TiDB cluster.

The following components are responsible for the orchestration and scheduling logic in a TiDB cluster:

  • tidb-controller-manager is a set of custom controllers in Kubernetes. These controllers constantly compare the desired state recorded in the TidbCluster object with the actual state of the TiDB cluster. They adjust the resources in Kubernetes to drive the TiDB cluster to meet the desired state and complete the corresponding control logic according to other CRs;
  • tidb-scheduler is a Kubernetes scheduler extension that injects the TiDB specific scheduling policies to the Kubernetes scheduler;
  • tidb-admission-webhook is a dynamic admission controller in Kubernetes, which completes the modification, verification, operation and maintenance of Pod, StatefulSet and other related resources.

In addition, TiDB Operator also provides tkctl, the command-line interface for TiDB clusters in Kubernetes. It is used for cluster operations and troubleshooting cluster issues.

TiDB Operator Control Flow

The diagram above is the analysis of the control flow of TiDB Operator. Starting from TiDB Operator v1.1, the TiDB cluster, monitoring, initialization, backup, and other components are deployed and managed using CR. The overall control flow is described as follows:

  1. The user creates a TidbCluster object and other CR objects through kubectl, such as TidbMonitor;
  2. TiDB Operator watches TidbCluster and other related objects, and constantly adjust the StatefulSet, Deployment, Service, and other objects of PD, TiKV, TiDB, Monitor or other components based on the actual state of the cluster;
  3. Kubernetes’ native controllers create, update, or delete the corresponding Pod based on objects such as StatefulSet, Deployment, and Job;
  4. In the Pod declaration of PD, TiKV, and TiDB, the tidb-scheduler scheduler is specified. tidb-scheduler applies the specific scheduling logic of TiDB when scheduling the corresponding Pod.

Based on the above declarative control flow, TiDB Operator automatically performs health check and fault recovery for the cluster nodes. You can easily modify the TidbCluster object declaration to perform operations such as deployment, upgrade and scaling.

Manage TiDB clusters using TiDB Operator

TiDB Operator provides several ways to deploy TiDB clusters in Kubernetes:

Before deploying TiDB on any of the above two environments, you can always refer to TiDB Cluster Configuration Document to customize TiDB configurations.

After the deployment is complete, see the following documents to use, operate, and maintain TiDB clusters in Kubernetes:

When a problem occurs and the cluster needs diagnosis, you can:

TiDB in Kubernetes provides a dedicated command-line tool tkctl for cluster management and auxiliary diagnostics. Meanwhile, some of TiDB's tools are used differently in Kubernetes. You can:

Finally, when a new version of TiDB Operator is released, you can refer to Upgrade TiDB Operator to upgrade to the latest version.