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Helm Charts

Helm uses a packaging format called charts which is a collection of files that describe a set of Kubernetes resources. A single chart might be used to deploy something simple, like a memcached pod, or something complex, like a full web app stack with HTTP servers, databases, caches, and so on. Charts are created as files laid out in a particular directory tree, then they can be packaged into versioned archives to be deployed.

  • Every chart must have a version number
  • Kubernetes Helm uses version numbers as release markers
  • Packages in repositories are identified by "name + version"

You can manage the lifecycle of Helm based workloads using the Web Console or RCTL CLI or REST APIs. We strongly recommend that customers automate this either

  • By integrating RCTL with your existing CI system based automation pipeline, OR
  • By leveraging the integrated GitOps capability.

Helm Versions

The Controller supports both Helm 2 and 3. Users are strongly advised to use Helm 3. Support for Helm 2 support is deprecated and is only meant to be used for legacy charts that are incompatible with Helm 3.

With Helm 3, the Controller acts like a Helm 3 client. It does not have to parse and break down the chart down to its atomic k8s resources. Read more about Helm 2 End of Life.


Create Workload

  • Login into the Console (typically as a Project Admin)
  • Navigate to Applications -> Workloads
  • Click on New Workload
  • Provide a name, select Helm 3 for package type
  • Select if you would like to "upload" the artifacts or you would like the Controller to "pull" it directly from a configured repository.
  • Select the namespace where the resources should be deployed

Create Helm Workload-Upload

Tip

Ensure that a namespace where you would like to deploy has already been created.


Option A: Pull from Repository

This approach requires the user to first select the type of repository (Git or Helm)

Create Helm Workload-Pull Artifacts

Then, in the next step

  • Select the repository from the dropdown list
  • Specify the name of the chart
  • Optionally, Specify the chart version. If not specified, latest version will be pulled.
  • Optionally, provide the override "values.yaml" file

Create Helm Workload-Pull Artifacts


Option B: Upload Artifacts

This approach is suited for scenarios where the user would like to upload the artifacts to the Controller and not provide any form of access to their Git/Helm repository.

  • Upload the "Helm chart" (a tgz file) and if necessary a "values.yaml" override file

Configure Helm Workload


Multiple Values Files

It's possible to have multiple values files for the same helm chart. For Helm 3 workloads created either by Upload files manually or Pull files from Helm Repo, all these values files can be uploaded when creating the workload. They are processed and applied to the chart in the order they are uploaded.

  • Click Add Files and upload the values files that you want to supply to the chart.

Multiple values Helm Workload


Advanced Helm Options

Support for advanced Helm options is available under "Helm Options".

Advanced Helm Options


Placement Policy

In this step, specify the placement policy for the workload.

In the example below, the user has selected

  • "Not Set" for Drift Detection
  • The "Specific Clusters" placement policy

Publish Helm Workload


Publish Workload

We are now ready to publish the workload. Click on Publish to start the deployment process

Publish Helm Workload


Progress/Status

Depending on the complexity of the placement policy (e.g. multiple clusters), the Helm chart (e.g. lots of readiness process), the deployment process can take 30 seconds to a few minutes. If the deployment was successful, appropriate status is shown to the user.

Successful Helm Deployment

Users are also presented with the list of workloads, their status etc on the main workload list page. Clicking on Deployment Status will show the current state of the workload by cluster.

Workload List


Debugging/Troubleshooting

If there are application related issues during deployment, both the application developer and/or the operations user will require RBAC secure facilities to remotely debug. Built in "secure, interactive capabilities" are provided to help streamline the debugging and troubleshooting process.


Developers

Developers that are responsible for a microservice or just the workload will not be provided. This persona is typically provisioned with a "Project Admin" role OR a "Project Read Only" role (in production environments).

  • Navigate to the workload's publish screen or from the main workload list page, click on options
  • Click on Debug

This will take the user to the "main debug page"

  • For multi cluster deployments, select the cluster from the drop-down on the left
  • A live channel is established to the remote cluster based on the zero trust control channel

Debug Helm Workload

KubeCTL

Click on "KubeCTL" to launch a browser based Zero Trust KubeCTL shell. Note the KubeCTL operations this user can perform is access controlled and secured using the configured ROLE. All actions performed by the user are audited for compliance.


Kubernetes Events

Click on "Show Events" to view the k8s events associated with the workload's resources.

Debug - k8s Events


Logs and Shell

Click on "Launch" under Logs & Shell to establish a "live, interactive" debug channel to the pod on the remote cluster.


Infrastructure/Operations

This persona is generally an "Infrastructure Administrator" with privileged access to the Kubernetes Cluster.

All Workloads

Infrastructure admins are provided a bird's eye view of all workloads and their status on Kubernetes clusters. Click on the "Workloads" link on the cluster card.

In the example below, you can see the deployment status of our "apache-helm3" workload

Workloads on Cluster Card

K8s Resources By Workload

Infrastructure admins can view details about the k8s resources for a given workload on a cluster.

  • Click on the Cluster Dashboard
  • Click on Resources
  • Select "Workloads" for "View By"
  • Select the "workload name"

In the example below, you can view the details of all the k8s resources for our workload.

k8s Resources by Workload

By Helm Release

  • Click on the Cluster Dashboard
  • Click on Resources
  • Select "Helm Releases" for "View By"

In the example below, the Operations persona can see the Helm Chart's name, release, app version and other status information. If users have the Helm CLI configured to communicate with their cluster, they can use it to check status directly.

Helm Releases


Unpublish

To unpublish the workload, click on the "unpublish button". The deployed resources on the remote clusters will be automatically removed.

Important

If the remote cluster was offline when the unpublish operation was initiated, the Controller will send this instruction to the cluster when it reconnects.