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03 Dec 2019
| By AlphaBravo Engineering | Categories: Automation, CNCF, Kubernetes

Helm: The package manager for Kubernetes.

As second follow up to our post “CNCF Spotlight: The Top 5 Cloud-Native ProjectsThat We Love”, we take a deeper dive into Helm, The package manager for Kubernetes. 

So what is Helm? Helm helps you manage Kubernetes applications — Helm Charts help you define, install, and upgrade even the most complex Kubernetes application.

Charts are easy to create, version, share, and publish. The latest version of Helm is maintained by the CNCF – in collaboration with Microsoft, Google, Bitnami and the Helm contributor community.

The latest version of Helm is maintained by the CNCF – in collaboration with Microsoft, Google, Bitnami and the Helm contributor community.

Key Highlights

  • Simple to Deploy: Easily deploy complex software solution to Kubernetes with a single command.
  • High quality, open-source maintained charts: Leverage the well maintained, public helm chart repositories. You can choose from “stable”, or, if you are feeling a bit more adventurous, the “incubator” charts.
  • Package and version control your own apps: You can write helm charts for your own applications and even reference sub charts to be deployed as part of the solution. This allows you make write your software infrastructure as code and to track changes to your deployments easily via SCM.

Getting started with Helm.

Prerequisites:

The following prerequisites are required for a successful and properly secured use of Helm.

  • A Kubernetes cluster
  • Deciding what security configurations to apply to your installation, if any
  • Installing and configuring Helm.

Install Kubernetes or have access to a cluster

  • You must have Kubernetes installed. For the latest release of Helm, we recommend the latest stable release of Kubernetes, which in most cases is the second-latest minor release.
  • You should also have a local configured copy of kubectl.

NOTE: Kubernetes versions prior to 1.6 have limited or no support for role-based access controls (RBAC).

From the Binary Releases

Every release of Helm provides binary releases for a variety of OSes. These binary versions can be manually downloaded and installed.

  1. Download your desired version
  2. Unpack it (tar -zxvf helm-v3.0.0-linux-amd64.tgz)
  3. Find the helm binary in the unpacked directory, and move it to its desired destination (mv linux-amd64/helm /usr/local/bin/helm

From there, you should be able to run the client: helm help.

From Homebrew (macOS)

Members of the Kubernetes community have contributed a Helm formula build to Homebrew. This formula is generally up to date.

brew install helm

(Note: There is also a formula for emacs-helm, which is a different project.)

From Chocolatey (Windows)

Members of the Kubernetes community have contributed a Helm package build to Chocolatey. This package is generally up to date.

choco install kubernetes-helm

From Script

Helm now has an installer script that will automatically grab the latest version of Helm and install it locally.

You can fetch that script, and then execute it locally. It’s well documented so that you can read through it and understand what it is doing before you run it.

$ curl

https://raw.githubusercontent.com/helm/helm/master/scripts/get-helm-3 > get_helm.sh

$ chmod 700 get_helm.sh

$ ./get_helm.sh

Yes, you can curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/helm/helm/master/scripts/get-helm-3 | bash if you want to live on the edge.

From Source (Linux, macOS)

Building Helm from source is slightly more work, but is the best way to go if you want to test the latest (pre-release) Helm version.

You must have a working Go environment with dep installed.

$ cd $GOPATH

$ mkdir -p src/helm.sh

$ cd src/helm.sh

$ git clone https://github.com/helm/helm.git

$ cd helm

$ make

If required, it will first install dependencies, rebuild the vendor/ tree, and validate configuration. It will then compile helm and place it in bin/helm.

 

In most cases, installation is as simple as getting a pre-built helm binary. 

Once you have the Helm Client successfully installed, you can move on to using Helm to manage charts!