December 21, 2022

Complete Guide for GitOps on Kubernetes

Table of Contents

Key takeaway

GitOps enhances Kubernetes deployments by using Git as a single source of truth for infrastructure and application code. This guide explains the synergy between GitOps and Kubernetes, covering best practices and benefits, including simplified management and automated updates, to streamline CI/CD processes.

GitOps started as a budding working skeleton just a couple of years ago but has since become an industry requisite. It became prominent in 2017-2018 as a deployment process for vendors, ecosystems, and communities.

On the other hand, Kubernetes shows why we must continue investing in open-source technologies. As an integral part of the modern enterprise IT world, Kubernetes has developed into an effective standard for executing container-based, cloud-native applications at scale. Its open-sourcing has made it essential to cloud-native computing.

Today, we’ll look at how GitOps and Kubernetes go together like cookies and cream as part of continuous delivery (CD) and integration (CI).

Understanding GitOps

Let’s start with a quick GitOps intro. By its name, we already know that GitOps incorporates both Git and operations. Google defines it as follows: “GitOps is an operational framework that connects DevOps best practices for infrastructure automation, including version control, collaboration, compliance, and CI/CD, to those used for application development.”

The need for GitOps principles began with accountability and automation. It uses automation, software agents, and a single source of truth to find anomalies between what’s deployed and what’s in source control. Git repositories store the declarative system state, thereby making it easier to monitor and log as it centers development and operations tasks around security and compliance in the deployment pipeline. GitOps best practices are widely accepted in many development teams, particularly for cloud infrastructure.

Let’s Discuss DevOps and Implementing GitOps 

GitOps is usually perceived as a subset of DevOps, when in fact it’s quite different. GitOps deals with a specific system operations procedure connected to the software Git. Although GitOps and DevOps do share some principles and goals, a few notable differences exist:

To conclude this comparison, GitOps is a revolutionized practice that evolved while adopting DevOps. GitOps and DevOps don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. You can have a DevOps culture without using GitOps principles, but not the other way around. Although its underlying principles aren't new or too different from DevOps, GitOps offers a practical application of several continuous deployment elements.

Role and Benefits of GitOps Kubernetes

GitOps provides enterprises with the assurances they want, while deploying code from a Git repository to a production Kubernetes cluster. Moreover, it simplifies the complexity of Kubernetes and containers. Many organizations have streamlined their DevOps practice to GitOps over the years after considering its benefits.

First, let’s understand a version control system. Source control, or version control, is defined as the practice of managing and tracking changes to software code. GitOps treats each piece of software or cloud infrastructure in a runtime environment as one or more files in a version-controlled system, with a program running automatically to harmonize version control and the runtime environment's state. Kubernetes, as an orchestration platform, plays a vital role in helping GitOps achieve this, supporting your teams’ pull requests.

The usage of software agents in GitOps can alert any divergence between Git and what's operating in a Kubernetes cluster. Furthermore, if there’s a difference, then Kubernetes reconcilers automatically update or rollback the cluster, depending on the circumstance. This method works particularly well with Kubernetes because its suggested setup process is declarative (using YAML manifests).

Kubernetes GitOps Checklist

1. Kubernetes

The adoption of a core technology for containers and infrastructure management is a must. This helps organizations manage workflows efficiently, accelerate application development, and get to market demand faster. In addition to coordinating containers, Kubernetes can also manage hardware and offers essential middleware elements for managing data.

2. Team Knowledge and Culture 

To increase the adoption of DevOps/GitOps in the organization, the development team must be aware and willing to become accustomed to new knowledge and way forward. Give the team enough room for experimentation, trials, mistakes, and training to understand new workflows, tools, and techniques. 

3. GitOps Pipeline 

Note three crucial things here. First, it’s not the CI system conducting the deployment. Second, a GitOps agent (such as Harness Continuous Deployment) should be deployed in the Kubernetes clusters (Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS), Bare Metal, OpenShift, etc.). Last but not least, we introduce a configuration repository that will declare the state in which we want that environment to be.

4. Delivery

The process of implementing and upholding security, compliance, and operational best practices or regulations in the software delivery pipeline is known as trusted delivery. These barriers are implemented utilizing policy-as-code and take the form of codified policies in the software development lifecycle.

A Look at Harness Continuous Delivery, a GitOps Kubernetes Operator

Engineering and DevOps teams can now release applications more quickly, safely, and securely with the help of the Harness CD-as-a-service platform. Harness released its CD open-source version in addition to its CI platform, and both are currently freely downloadable and accessible under an open-source license. Moreover, it's now free and accessible under a source-available license. Developers can deploy, validate, and automatically roll back Kubernetes and other cloud-native apps on any public or private cloud architecture of their choice using Harness, a cutting-edge self-service solution that supports the latest CI/CD best practices.

Harness CD aims to securely release your modifications into your production environment. Employing a recreate approach involves killing all of the Pods and replacing them, instead of doing it incrementally with a rolling strategy. Kubernetes may deploy very quickly, but this results in downtime. Because most of us have ongoing workloads, having any downtime would be counterproductive. With Kubernetes' immediacy, it may seem illogical to resist deploying as quickly as possible, yet this is needed for confidence.

Take Development to the Next Level with GitOps on Kubernetes

GitOps is a new and promising arena in the industry that makes CI/CD simple and effortless for our developers and architects. With the rise of IaC, its logical evolution into GitOps prioritizes Git as the single source of truth. The vast complexities of CI/CD pipelines and authorization processes are eliminated due to the impeccable coordination between Git and the target system. This declarative target system is the most crucial requirement for GitOps, because without this the practice can only be partially implemented. Here’s where GitOps for Kubernetes steps in and helps solve the puzzle.

100% of the Harness CI/CD source code is now readily accessible via open source. With no license or use fees, users can quickly and effortlessly get started with Harness CI/CD to build an agile production environment. A simple upgrade approach is scaling to more enterprise-grade services and SaaS plans. To learn more about how Harness can elevate your continuous deployment and the future of Kubernetes, sign up to learn more!

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Continuous Delivery & GitOps