Getting Started with the Datadog Operator

This guide describes the Datadog Operator, how to install it, and how to use it to install the Datadog Agent on Kubernetes.

What is the Datadog Operator?

The Datadog Operator is an open source Kubernetes Operator that enables you to deploy and configure the Datadog Agent in a Kubernetes environment. By using the Operator, you can use a single Custom Resource Definition (CRD) to deploy the node-based Agent, Cluster Agent, and Cluster Checks Runner. The Operator reports deployment status, health, and errors in the Operator’s CRD status. Because the Operator uses higher-level configuration options, it limits the risk of misconfiguration.

Once you have deployed the Agent, the Datadog Operator provides the following benefits:

  • Validation for your Agent configurations
  • Keeping all Agents up to date with your configuration
  • Orchestration for creating and updating Agent resources
  • Reporting of Agent configuration status in the Operator’s CRD status
  • Optionally, use of an advanced DaemonSet deployment by using Datadog’s ExtendedDaemonSet.
The Datadog Operator is in beta.

Why use the Datadog Operator instead of a Helm chart or DaemonSet?

You can also use a Helm chart or a DaemonSet to install the Datadog Agent on Kubernetes. However, using the Datadog Operator offers the following advantages:

  • The Operator has built-in defaults based on Datadog best practices.
  • Operator configuration is more flexible for future enhancements.
  • As a Kubernetes Operator, the Datadog Operator is treated as a first-class resource by the Kubernetes API.
  • Unlike the Helm chart, the Operator is included in the Kubernetes reconciliation loop.

Datadog fully supports using a DaemonSet to deploy the Agent, but manual DaemonSet configuration leaves significant room for error. Therefore, using a DaemonSet is not highly recommended.


  • Kubernetes v1.14.X+
  • Helm for deploying the Datadog Operator
  • The Kubernetes command-line tool, kubectl, for installing the Datadog Agent


  1. Install the Datadog Operator with Helm:
helm repo add datadog
helm install my-datadog-operator datadog/datadog-operator
  1. Create a Kubernetes secret with your API and app keys:
kubectl create secret generic datadog-secret --from-literal api-key=<DATADOG_API_KEY> --from-literal app-key=<DATADOG_APP_KEY>

Replace <DATADOG_API_KEY> and <DATADOG_APP_KEY> with your Datadog API and application keys.

  1. Create a datadog-agent.yaml file with the spec of your DatadogAgent deployment configuration. The following sample configuration enables metrics, logs, and APM:
kind: DatadogAgent
  name: datadog
      secretName: datadog-secret
      keyName: api-key
      secretName: datadog-secret
      keyName: app-key
      enabled: true
      enabled: true
  1. Deploy the Datadog Agent:
kubectl apply -f agent_spec=/path/to/your/datadog-agent.yaml


Use kubectl get daemonset and kubectl get pod -owide to validate your installation.

In a cluster with two worker Nodes, you should see Agent Pods created on each Node:

$ kubectl get daemonset
datadog-agent   2         2         2       2            2           <none>          5m30s

$ kubectl get pod -owide
NAME                                         READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE     IP            NODE
agent-datadog-operator-d897fc9b-7wbsf        1/1     Running   0          1h   kind-worker
datadog-agent-k26tp                          1/1     Running   0          5m59s   kind-worker
datadog-agent-zcxx7                          1/1     Running   0          5m59s    kind-worker2


The following commands delete all Kubernetes resources created in this guide:

kubectl delete datadogagent datadog
helm delete my-datadog-operator