Helm 2.0 stable release!

17 Nov 2016

Kubernetes Helm, the package manager for Kubernetes, has released the 2.0.0 version of software. Helm 2 gives teams the tools to collaborate when creating, installing, and managing applications inside of Kubernetes.

With Helm you can…

  • Find pre-packaged software (charts) to install and use
  • Easily create and host your own packages
  • Install packages into any Kubernetes cluster
  • Query the cluster to see what packages are installed and running
  • Update, delete, rollback, or view the history of installed packages

Helm includes two components: The Helm CLI tool, and an in-cluster release manager named Tiller. The Tiller component is responsible for tracking and managing installed packages.

Helm was the missing piece that enabled us to deploy our healthcare application to Kubernetes in a HIPAA-compliant way. It's also made our development/acceptance infrastructure much easier to manage. -- Sean Knox, Director of Engineering, Able Health

Helm Charts

Helm packages are called "charts" (the nautical term for a map). Helm charts gather all of the underlying Kubernetes resources required for an application, into a versionable, shareable and verifiable unit. Charts may also be hosted on any web server for maximum flexibility for operators wishing to manage their own repositories. In addition to maintaining the Helm tools, the team also maintains the official Kubernetes Charts project.

When it comes to deploying services in Kubernetes, Helm charts can capture expert knowledge and best practices. When you install a chart from the Kubernetes stable repository, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel or muck with configurations — it just works. -- Adnan Abdulhussein, Software Engineer, Bitnami.

There are over two dozen ready-to-use charts with dozens more in the quality control queue.

Two official repositories for charts exist today:

  • "stable": This repository comes built-in to Helm, and contains a number of ready-to-use applications, such as MariaDB, RedMine, and Jenkins.
  • "incubator": This repository contains charts that use cutting-edge Kubernetes features. While such charts may not work on all clusters, they are available for those testing advanced Kubernetes usage.

The source code for both of these repositories is at https://github.com/kubernetes/charts.

The public-facing chart repositories are there for everyone to use. But the technology driving Helm can be employed just as easily on-premises or behind a firewall.

At Help.com we've been able to utilize Helm to quickly create and manage deployments of stateful clusters like Couchbase, Postgres, Redis and Elasticsearch. The time savings has been significant and we're excited to see where else we can begin to use it. --Mike Johnson, Senior DevOps Engineer, Help.com

The Future of Helm

Helm developers are excited to hit a major stability watermark, but we’re not done. In the next phase of development, Helm will see new features targeted toward security, ease of chart development, and release cycle management. Features on the roadmap include:

  • Helm plugins
  • Starter packs for chart developers
  • Chart verification tests
  • Upgrade preview mode
  • Enhanced security
  • More authentication options

The Helm 2.0.x branch will contain bug fixes only. The 2.1 branch will contain new features. These two branches will be maintained concurrently.

Kubernetes represents the best of Google’s server technology. We built Helm to make that power easy for developers to harness. -- Matt Butcher, Project Co-Founder, Deis, Inc.

Relation of Helm 2 to Helm Classic

In November 2015, Deis released the first version of Helm. Modeled on the OSX software installer Homebrew, the original Helm was designed to help individual developers create packages of Kubernetes resources, and deploy them into a cluster.

In January of 2016, Deis’ core Helm team joined forces with Google, Skippbox, and (shortly thereafter) Bitnami to produce a new version of Helm that shifted emphasis from individuals to teams. Along the way, we applied many of the lessons we’d learned. The result is a tool that not only makes teamwork a central value, but also one designed to meet the needs of a burgeoning community of Kubernetes users who are installing sophisticated applications.

Getting Started

Getting started with Helm is as simple as downloading the CLI tool and running helm init. Install the helm binary and follow the quickstart guide to install your first package.

Join the Community

The Helm community is warm and welcoming and there are many ways to participate!

Posted in Helm, Annoucement

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