This guide will take you through the process of deploying Trident for the first time and provisioning your first volume automatically. If you are a new user, this is the place to get started with using Trident.

If you are an existing user looking to upgrade, head on over to the Upgrading Trident section.

There are two ways you can deploy Trident:

  1. Using the Trident Operator: The 20.04 release provides a Kubernetes Operator to deploy Trident. The Trident Operator controls the installation of Trident, taking care to self-heal the install and manage changes as well as upgrades to the Trident installation. Take a look at Deploying with the Trident Operator!
  2. Deploying Trident with tridentctl: If you have already deployed previous releases, this is the method of deployment that you would have used. This page explains all the steps involved in deploying Trident in this manner.


The 20.04 release limits the Trident Operator to greenfield installations only.

Choosing the right option

To determine which deployment option to use, you must consider the following:

Why should I use the Trident Operator?

If you are a new user testing Trident (or) deploying a fresh installation of Trident in your cluster, the Trident Operator is a great way to dynamically manage Trident resources and automate the setup phase. There are some prerequisites that must be satisfied. Please refer to the Requirements section to identify the necessary requirements to deploy with the Trident Operator.

The Trident Operator offers a number of benefits such as:


The biggest advantage that the operator provides is the ability to monitor a Trident installation and actively take measures to address issues, such as when the Trident deployment is deleted or if the installation is modified accidentally. When the operator is set up as a deployment, a trident-operator-<generated-id> pod is created. This pod associates a TridentProvisioner CR with a Trident installation and always ensures there exists only one active TridentProvisioner. In other words, the operator makes sure there’s only one instance of Trident in the cluster and controls its setup, making sure the installation is idempotent. When changes are made to the Trident install [such as deleting the Trident deployment or node daemonset], the operator identifies them and fixes them individually.

Updating existing installations

With the operator it is easy to update an existing Trident deployment. Since the Trident install is initiated by the creation of a TridentProvisioner CR, you can edit it to make updates to an already created Trident installation. Wherein installations done with tridentctl will require an uninstall/reinstall to perform something similar, the operator only requires editing the TridentProvisioner CR.

As an example, consider a scenario where you need to enable Trident to generate debug logs. To do this, you will need to patch your TridentProvisioner to set spec.debug to true.

kubectl patch tprov <trident-provisioner-name> -n trident --type=merge -p '{"spec":{"debug":true}}'

After the TridentProvisioner is updated, the operator processes the updates and patches the existing installation. This may triggers the creation of new pods to modify the installation accordingly.

Handling Kubernetes upgrades

When the Kubernetes version of the cluster is upgraded to a supported version, the operator updates an existing Trident installation automatically and changes it to make sure it meets the requirements of the Kubernetes version.

If the cluster is upgraded to an unsupported version (1.19 and above):

  • the operator prevents installing Trident.
  • If Trident has already been installed with the operator, a warning is displayed to indicate that Trident is installed on an unsupported Kubernetes version.

When should I use tridentctl?

If you have an existing Trident deployment that must be upgraded to or if you are looking to highly customize your Trident install, you should take a look at using tridentctl to setup Trident. This is the conventional method of installing Trident, as well as the supported method of upgrading your Trident deployment to the 20.04 release. Take a look at the Upgrading page to upgrade Trident.

Ultimately, the environment in question will determine the choice of deployment. It is important to note that the 20.04 Trident Operator is meant for new deployments only.


The 20.04 release of the Trident Operator is only meant to be used for greenfield deployments. For existing installations, you must use tridentctl to upgrade to the latest release.

Moving between installation methods

It is not hard to imagine a scenario where moving between deployment methods is desired. Here’s what you must know before attempting to move from a tridentctl install to an operator-based deployment, or vice versa:

  1. Always use the same method for uninstalling Trident. If you have deployed Trident with tridentctl, you must use the appropriate version of the tridentctl binary to uninstall Trident. Similarly, if deploying Trident with the operator, you must edit the TridentProvisioner CR and set spec.uninstall=true to uninstall Trident.
  2. The 20.04 release limits the Trident Operator to greenfield installations only. As a result, you can only use the Trident Operator to create a fresh install. For existing Trident installs that must be moved to 20.04, you will need to use tridentctl to uninstall and reinstall Trident. Future releases of the operator are targeted to support upgrades.
  3. If you have a Trident Operator deployment that you want to remove and use tridentctl to deploy Trident, you must first edit the TridentProvisioner and set spec.uninstall=true to uninstall Trident. You will then have delete the TridentProvisioner and the operator deployment. You can then install Trident with tridentctl.

NetApp does not recommend downgrading Trident releases unless absolutely necessary.