What is Helm?
In simple terms, Helm is a package manager for Kubernetes. Helm is the K8s equivalent of yum or apt. Helm deploys charts, which you can think of as a packaged application. It is a collection of all your versioned, pre-configured application resources which can be deployed as one unit. You can then deploy another version of the chart with a different set of configuration.
Helm helps in three key ways:
- Improves productivity
- Reduces the complexity of deployments of microservices
- Enables the adaptation of cloud native applications
What are Helm charts?
Helm Charts are simply Kubernetes YAML manifests combined into a single package that can be advertised to your Kubernetes clusters. Once packaged, installing a Helm Chart into your cluster is as easy as running a single helm install, which really simplifies the deployment of containerized applications.
- Templating engine
- Ease in sharing and recording
Describing a Helm chart
Helm has a certain structure when you create a new chart. To create, run “helm create YOUR-CHART-NAME”. Once this is created, the directory structure should look like:
- .helmignore: This holds all the files to ignore when packaging the chart. Similar to .gitignore, if you are familiar with git.
- Chart.yaml: This is where you put all the information about the chart you are packaging. So, for example, your version number, etc. This is where you will put all those details.
- Values.yaml: This is where you define all the values you want to inject into your templates.
- Charts: This is where you store other charts that your chart depends on. You might be calling another chart which your chart may need to function properly.
- Templates: This folder is where you put the actual manifest you are deploying with the chart. For example you might be deploying an nginx deployment that needs a service, configmap and secrets. You will have your deployment.yaml, service.yaml, config.yaml and secrets.yaml all in the template dir. They will all get their values from values.yaml from above.
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