Kubernetes became famous for its ease of scaling and administration of containerized applications. It allows you to sort and manage nodes, pieces, containers, services, and configuration maps throughout the entire application life cycle. It was difficult to achieve such flexibility and control through scripts.
But thanks to Kubernets’ announcement approach to infrastructure, you can define precision changes at any level. Kubernetes empowers you to integrate multiple tools to facilitate automated planning, deployment, and monitoring for containers.
One such tool is Helm, a CNCF-adopted automation framework that has become popular not only in Kubernetes circles but also in the GitOps ecosystem. In this post, we will look at how Helm helps automate cloud-native applications via the Kubernetes and the GitOps.
What is Helm?
Although described as a package manager, Helm is a powerful tool for automating the installation, deployment, upgrade, and management of Kubernetes applications. Managing the Kubernetes Manifesto is a task that is becoming increasingly complex across systems. Duplicate multiple YAML files and hardcode values are required for a single sort. Kubernetes needed a better way to manage YAML files through a simple packaging format, which led to helm charts. However, the purpose of the Helm is beyond the template.
Helm charts are units that can be used for Kubernetes applications. Each chart can contain files, metadata, and application infrastructure. Charts written in Go will be stored in specific template directories with associated variables, versions, and descriptions. By storing these charts as archives in a repository, you can share them throughout your development team for reuse.
Once a copy of a chart is installed in the Kubernetes cluster, it is called output. A new release is created each time the chart is used, which can happen multiple times. Publications help you to monitor and install charts.
Below are some important rules to know when working with Helm.
Chart.YAML: The main file that holds the description of your chart
Values.YAML: The file containing the default values of your chart
Charts: A directory with sub-charts
Templates: Kubernetes Sources Directory defined as Templates
A template folder is a key feature of Helm. It contains the application’s configuration files, which are then applied to the cluster. The files in the template directory call their values from values.YAML.
Helm adds great value to the continuous delivery environment as it brings the following benefits.
Helm (along with other sorting tools such as Flux) allows you to sort software with a single button or a single command. This will allow your team to focus only on software development.
Makes the process easier:
The concept of charts allows you to copy the same chart across the pipeline – development, testing, and production – or across the workflow of different teams. This significantly reduces the problem.
Charts are designed to align with the Kubernetes cluster architecture, which facilitates scalability.
Helm manages all releases, making it easy to get changes when issues arise.
GitOps leverages both Helm & Flux
Helm can manage complex releases and keep things simple as you measure. However, as the changes are gradually introduced, Helm will need additional tools to update the Kubernetes cluster.
Flux is an excellent filler solution for Helm because it acts as a bridge between Helm and all the important Git repositories from which the entire Kubernetes cluster and utility specifications are defined.
Flux is a deployment automation solution based on the GitOps model, which makes Git the starting point and the real source of all changes. Flux allows you to maintain consistency between code repositories and Kubernetes clusters and automates sorting when code changes are introduced.
In short, Flux Helm automats chart releases by synchronizing charts from Git to the Kubernetes cluster.
How does Flux work with Helm?
To use Flux as a GitOps operator, you save all Helm charts along with their YAML files and Kubernetes custom resources in the Git repository. Also, you put unchanging images of these sources in a container registry.
Once you have made a change to Git with the ‘Pull’ request, Flux will check your repository and provide the necessary resources. The changes are then incorporated into the production cluster. This, of course, simplifies the process, and you can do a lot more – such as smoking tests or approving SRE-specific changes – but for now, let’s keep it simple.
If you want to learn more about how the Flux 2 and Helm work together to increase speed and reliability while reducing idle time, check out this YouTube talk by Scott Rigby.
Helm significantly reduces the difficulty in running Kubernetes. It adds great value to the GitOps pipeline with the concept of charts or templates. That said, there are other requirements beyond templating, namely end-to-end deployment automation. This is where a tool like Flux (or Weave GitOps, built into Flux) is needed to use the helm. In addition, the Magalix-like solution ensures that Helm releases are compatible and secure.
Weave KitApps is a continuous delivery solution that allows you to manage Kubernetes on a scale. This makes it easy for any company to adopt and implement GitOps. Weave GitOps simplifies the functional cluster with commands such as ‘gitops install’ to enable GitOps and ‘gitops add app’ to add to your application. These commands abstract away the underlying complex tasks that are otherwise involved in deployment automation. Weave GitOps brings together the entire GitOps pipeline including Helm, Flux, Magalix, and more – so you can get started with GitOps without wasting any time.