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Helm

Helm automates deployments on OpenShift and complements Kubernetes Operators for a spectrum of use cases

What is Helm?

Helm is a package and install manager that standardizes and simplifies packaging and deployment of containerized applications with Kubernetes, anywhere in the hybrid cloud.

Helm lets developers package their applications so that they can be easily shared and deployed by anyone in their organization and beyond. Helm can also be used to automate day-1 tasks like installation and basic configuration management for setting up the applications, and some day-2 operations like performing some simple upgrades and rollbacks.

Why should I use Helm to package and automate applications for Kubernetes?

Agility


Help streamline and integrate into GitOps and CI/CD efforts. It provides agility with automatic deployment and simple, consistent upgrades.

Simplicity


Make automation generally available to developers for frequently deployed applications, simplifying deployment.

Consistency


Automate manual tasks reducing deployment time significantly and reduce chances of error during deployment.

Self-service


Helm makes it easy to spin up applications, tools and services for a developer. Select, configure, and deploy an application, a tool or a service from an approved catalog.

Ease of distribution


Helm can be used to package and share applications with ease, lending scalability to applications.

Reusability


Makes the development and testing process quicker, while refining your CI/CD strategy by building new, or using existing Helm Charts, for different environments.

 

Using Helm With Red Hat OpenShift

Both custom and ISV-supported workloads and applications can be deployed on Red Hat OpenShift using Helm Charts. This helps  with interoperability and support of cloud-native applications from ISVs, great user experience in deploying and managing ISV apps along with best practices compliance for deployment.

The OpenShift web console can be used to select and install a chart from the Helm charts listed in the Developer Catalog, as well as adding custom Helm chart repositories. Helm releases can be created, upgraded, rolled back, and uninstalled using these charts. The Helm CLI is  integrated with the web terminal in the OpenShift web console making it easy to visualize, browse, and manage information regarding projects.

Listen to a short talk from Discover Financial Services on building an enterprise Helm chart repository and managing Helm charts on Red Hat OpenShift:

 

Streamlining the Openshift developer experience by building an enterprise Helm chart repository

 

But what about Kubernetes Operators?

A Kubernetes Operator is a method of deploying, and managing a Kubernetes-native application. It simplifies deployment, and lifecycle management (e.g. scale in-out, update, upgrade, backup, restores, manage data integrity). Operators run in a loop, continuously checking the application status and can determine if the application is running according to the configuration defined by the software developer, and automatically make necessary changes to comply with defined and desired configuration.

 

 

When do I use Helm Charts vs. Operators?

Objective
Red Hat Recommendation
Application requires automation of day-1 tasks (installation) and some simple day-2 tasks (e.g. straightforward updating from one version to the next)
Helm
Application needs simple updates, but does not need a lot of automation for day-2 ops
Helm
Maintaining or customizing an application deployed by a Helm chart requires manual steps (outside of the Helm CLI) by the user
Operator
Application requires advanced day-2 tasks, (e.g. auto-tuning, backup and recovery in case of failure, sequenced orchestration steps for updates or reconfiguration or intelligent scaling)
Operator

*As best practice: Anytime an update or a reconfiguration would require manual steps using kubectl, use Operators.

Learn more about Helm and Red Hat OpenShift

Learning scenario

Learn more and try Helm 3 on Red Hat OpenShift.

Certification

If you depend on tools with Helm charts, encourage your software providers to certify with us.

Blog

Helm and Operators on OpenShift