Quick Start Guide

The goal of this quick start guide is to:

  • Provide an overview of Service Binding Operator.

  • Provide a list of prerequisites to be configured on your Kubernetes cluster.

  • Create a PostgreSQL database instance

  • Deploy the application

  • Connect the application to the database with Service Binding

For this quick start, we are using a PostgreSQL database and a simple application using the Spring Boot REST API server sample. This will allow you to understand how Service Binding Operator can be used to simplify the connection between a service, like a database and the application.

To illustrate what we are going to do, here is a visual representation of the application we are going to setup.


In this configuration, we leverage the service binding operator, to collect the binding data from the PostgreSQL database and project them into the sample application.

Before starting, we invite you to refer to the Prerequisites section to make sure you have all the needed components configured on your K8s cluster.

The quick start consists of three main steps:


In order to follow the quick start, you’ll need the following tools installed and configured:

  • Kubernetes cluster

You can use minikube or kind, locally

Create a PostgreSQL database instance

The application is going to use to a PostgreSQL database backend which can be setup using the v5 channel of Crunchy PostgreSQL operator from OperatorHub.io. We just need to make sure that the operator is availabe in our my-postgresql namespace.

The installation of the operator doesn’t create a database instance itself, so we need to create one.

  1. To create a database instance, you need to create custom resource PostgresCluster and that will trigger the operator reconciliation. For convenience, run this command to create PostgresCluster custom resource:

  2. Once the database is created, we need to ensure all the pods in my-postgresql namespace are running (it will take few minutes):

    kubectl get pod -n my-postgresql

    You should see output something like this:

    NAME                                     READY   STATUS      RESTARTS   AGE
    hippo-backup-6th6--1-28849               0/1     Completed   0          1m
    hippo-instance1-sl4r-0                   2/2     Running     0          2m
    hippo-pgbouncer-8454474bc7-lhcn9         2/2     Running     0          2m
    pgo-84b9679484-79c6m                     1/1     Running     0          3m

    The database has been created and is empty at this stage. We now need to set its schema and we will also project a sample data set, so we can play around with the application.

  3. You can initialize the database with the schema and sample data using this command:

    We have now finished to configured the database for the application. We are ready to deploy the sample application and connect it to the database.

Deploy the sample application

In this section, we are going to deploy the application on our kubernetes cluster. For that, we will use a deployment configuration and do the configuration of our local environment to be able to test the application.

  1. Deploy the spring-petclinic-rest app with this Deployment configuration:

  2. Let’s now setup the port forwarding from the application port so we can access it from our local environment

    kubectl port-forward --address svc/spring-petclinic-rest 9966:80 -n my-postgresql
  3. You should be able to open http://localhost:9966/petclinic and see a Swagger UI where you can play with the API.

At this stage, the application is not yet connected to the database. So, if you try to play around the APIs, you’ll see errors returned by the application.

For example, if you try to access the list of all pets, you can see an error like this:

curl -X GET "http://localhost:9966/petclinic/api/pets" -H "accept: application/json"

not open JPA EntityManager for transaction; nested exception is
org.hibernate.exception.JDBCConnectionException: Unable to acquire JDBC

Now, we are going to see how you can use Service Binding to easily connect the application to the database.

Connect the application to the database

Suppose the Service Binding operator is not present. In that case, the application’s admin needs to extract all the configuration details and create a Secret resource and expose it to the application through volume mount in Kubernetes. The steps would be something like this:

  1. Identify the required values for connecting the application to the database

  2. Locate the resources where the values are present

  3. Take the values from different resources and create a Secret resource

  4. Mount the Secret resource into the application

  5. Depending on the application requirement the values should be exposed as env var or file.

In this quick start, we are going to leverage Service Binding as a way to easily and safely connect the application to the database service. In order to do that, we’ll need to create a Service Binding resource which will trigger the Service Binding Operator to project the binding datas into the application.

  1. Create the ServiceBinding resource to project the binding data:

    The .spec has two sections. The first is a list of service resources (.spec.services), and the second one is the application (.spec.application). The services resources points to the database’s service resources. How the values are exposed from service resources are explained Introduction section. The application points to a Deployment or any resource that is PodSpec compatible.

    apiVersion: binding.operators.coreos.com/v1alpha1
    kind: ServiceBinding
      name: spring-petclinic-rest
      namespace: my-postgresql
        - group: postgres-operator.crunchydata.com
          version: v1beta1
          kind: PostgresCluster
          name: hippo
        name: spring-petclinic-rest
        group: apps
        version: v1
        resource: deployments

    For simplicity, you can copy/paste the following command to create the resource:

    To check if the binding was successful you can check the binding resource status conditions by the following command:

    kubectl get servicebindings spring-petclinic-rest -n my-postgresql -o jsonpath-as-json='{.status.conditions}'

    You should see output something like:

          "lastTransitionTime": "2021-09-06T13:42:28Z",
          "message": "",
          "reason": "DataCollected",
          "status": "True",
          "type": "CollectionReady",
          "lastTransitionTime": "2021-09-06T13:42:28Z",
          "message": "",
          "reason": "ApplicationUpdated",
          "status": "True",
          "type": "InjectionReady",
          "lastTransitionTime": "2021-09-06T13:42:28Z",
          "message": "",
          "reason": "ApplicationsBound",
          "status": "True",
          "type": "Ready",

    To learn more about creating service bindings, you can find more information on the following document

    By creating this Service Binding resource, we now have values from the database’s binding data projected into the application container as files (that’s the default behavior, but you can also project environment variables if you prefer). If you check under /bindings/spring-petclinic-rest directory you’ll see all the values from the secret resource projected there. In the above example, you’ll find username and password. And the values pointed out through the annotation are also projected which includes database, host, and port. Finally type is also projected which is required for connectity.. The application looks for SERVICE_BINDING_ROOT env var to find the location of /bindings directory. The Spring Boot application used here is built using Spring Cloud Bindings and it looks for SERVICE_BINDING_ROOT to get the projected binding data. See the using projected binding data section about how the values can be used from the application.

    To verify that binding was successful and that the files in the application contain the expected content, you can use the following script to inspect the deployment:

    for i in username password host port type; do
      kubectl exec -it deploy/spring-petclinic-rest -n my-postgresql -- /bin/bash -c 'find /bindings/*/'$i' -exec echo -n {}:" " \; -exec cat {} \;';

    You should see output something like:

    /bindings/spring-petclinic-rest/username: hippo
    /bindings/spring-petclinic-rest/password: w0ZB<0j1W|K;+4*TlK7-w^z/
    /bindings/spring-petclinic-rest/host: hippo-pgbouncer
    /bindings/spring-petclinic-rest/port: 5432
    /bindings/spring-petclinic-rest/type: postgresql
  2. Let’s now check how the application is behaving and setup the port forwarding of the application port to access it from our local environment

    kubectl port-forward --address svc/spring-petclinic-rest 9966:80 -n my-postgresql
  3. Open http://localhost:9966/petclinic, you should see a Swagger UI where you can play with the API.

    If you try to access list of all pets, you can see the application is now connected to the database and see the sample data initially configured:

    $ curl -X GET "http://localhost:9966/petclinic/api/pets" -H "accept: application/json"

Next Steps

In this sample, we setup a database and connected it to an application using the Service Binding operator to collect the connection metadata and expose them to the application.

By using service bindings, developers are able to more easily leverage the services available to them on a Kubernetes cluster. This method provides consistency accross different services and is repeatable for the developers. By remove the usual manual and error prone configuration, they benefit from a unified way to do application-to-service linkage.

You can continue to learn more about Service Binding by: