1. Overview of Helm and Its Importance in Kubernetes
  2. Installing Helm and Setting Up Your First Chart
  3. Understanding Helm Charts
  4. Customizing Helm Charts with Values
  5. Installing and Managing Applications with Helm
  6. Creating Custom Helm Charts
  7. Advanced Helm Features
  8. Securing Helm Releases
  9. Integrating Helm with CI/CD Pipelines
  10. Automating Helm Releases with GitOps
  11. Troubleshooting Helm Deployments
  12. Best Practices for Helm Usage

Introduction

Having explored the world of pre-built charts, it’s time to take the reins and craft your own Helm charts. In this sixth part of the “Helm for Beginners” series, we’ll guide you through the process of creating custom Helm charts for deploying applications with multiple components. Learn the art of organizing and structuring Helm charts to ensure clarity, maintainability, and reusability. Let’s empower you to become a Helm chart maestro!

Creating a Custom Helm Chart

1. Initiating a New Chart:
– Use the Helm CLI to create a new custom chart. Choose a meaningful name for your chart.

helm create my-custom-chart

2. Understanding the Chart Structure:
– Explore the structure of the newly created chart. Key files like `Chart.yaml` and `values.yaml` provide metadata and default configuration.

3. Adding Components:
– Extend your chart by adding components such as deployments, services, and ingresses. Leverage the `templates` directory for Kubernetes manifest templates.

# Example deployment.yaml template
apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
metadata:
  name: {{ .Release.Name }}-deployment
spec:
  replicas: {{ .Values.replicaCount }}
  template:
    spec:
      containers:
        - name: {{ .Chart.Name }}
          image: "{{ .Values.image.repository }}:{{ .Values.image.tag }}"

4. Defining Dependencies:
– If your application relies on other services, specify dependencies in the `requirements.yaml` file. Helm will automatically fetch and install these dependencies.

# Example requirements.yaml
dependencies:
  - name: mariadb
    version: 10.5.0
    repository: https://charts.bitnami.com/bitnami

Best Practices for Organizing Helm Charts

1. Modular Structure:
– Organize your chart in a modular fashion. Separate components into individual templates for enhanced clarity.

2. Use Subcharts Sparingly:
– While subcharts can be powerful, use them judiciously. Consider them for truly reusable components.

3. Encourage Customization:
– Design charts with customization in mind. Leverage values.yaml for user-friendly configuration.

4. Leverage Helper Functions:
– Utilize Helm’s built-in helper functions for common tasks, promoting code reuse.

Conclusion

You’ve taken a significant step in your Helm journey by creating custom charts to deploy multi-component applications. By following best practices in organization and structure, you ensure that your charts are not only functional but also maintainable and extensible. In the next parts of this series, we’ll delve into advanced Helm features, including Helm hooks for lifecycle events and securing Helm deployments. Stay tuned for more insights and hands-on guidance as you continue to master Helm!

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