Cloud costs
July 11, 2023
min read

Introduction to Harness GitOps™



Welcome to the first blog post in our series on GitOps, where we explore the powerful paradigm of managing software deployment using the insights learned from factory automation.

In order to meet the demands of high scale, modern industrial automation relies on goal-driven robots to automate each step of the production process. Each robot has a goal state it seeks to implement, and these robots are chained together into a larger assembly line.

In the same way, GitOps utilizes goal-driven automation to provide software delivery automation at an industrial scale. In this introductory post, we will dive into the fundamental elements of GitOps, envisioning Kubernetes as the goal-driven robot within our software delivery factory, and how Git serves as the central repository for managing changes to the desired state.

GitOps Basics

The Agent: Updating the Desired State

In our software delivery factory, the GitOps agent acts as a goal-driven robot responsible for orchestrating the update of the desired state.

  • The agent, equipped with automation capabilities, continuously monitors the Git repository that defines the desired state of the system.

  • When changes occur within the Git repository, the agent autonomously updates the desired state to reflect the new configuration, ensuring synchronization between the factory’s processes and the system’s desired state.
  • Just as a robot follows a specific process to complete its assigned tasks, the agent adheres to the defined GitOps workflow, ensuring reliable and consistent deployments across the software factory.

Kubernetes as the Goal-Driven Robot

Within our software delivery factory, Kubernetes embodies the role of a goal-driven robot, executing the implementation of the desired state.

  • As a highly capable robotic implementer, Kubernetes constantly compares the actual state of the system with the desired state defined in Git.
  • Drawing from its repertoire of controllers and operators, Kubernetes autonomously takes actions to align the system with the desired configuration.
  • In this context, Kubernetes acts as the diligent robot, following the established process and using its declarative capabilities to manage applications and infrastructure resources within the software factory.

Git: Storing Changes in the Factory’s Logbook

Git serves as the centralized logbook within our software delivery factory, recording changes to the desired state and providing a comprehensive history.

  • Just as a factory maintains a detailed logbook to document every step and modification, Git serves as the versioned repository for all changes made to the desired state.
  • Git’s branching model allows teams to collaborate effectively by creating feature branches, reviewing changes through pull requests, and merging them into the main branch when ready.
  • With Git as the logbook, the software factory gains traceability, enabling developers, operators, and auditors to understand the history of changes, troubleshoot issues, and ensure compliance.

The Harness GitOps™ Difference

While tools like ArgoCD and Flux are widely used for GitOps implementations, they primarily focus on continuous operations, including continuous deployment and drift monitoring/remediation.

However, they do not provide built-in capabilities to orchestrate across the entire delivery pipeline. This is where Harness pipeline integration shines: offering comprehensive pipeline automation for both human and automated sections of the path to deployment.

Harnessing the power of the pipeline

Harness Pipelines enable DevOps teams to automate the end-to-end delivery process, from code commit to production deployment. We include managed Argo CD infrastructure that allows you to set up GitOps agents to manage the state of your deployments and combine that with a centralized UI and full-featured deployment pipeline. The result is a truly scalable, fully automated path to delivery that includes continuous operations via GitOps.

Harness GitOps™ PR Pipeline and rollback steps extend the pipeline to integrate with your GitOps deployments, allow you to automate gitops transitions, including manual review.

Key aspects of Harness Pipelines that differentiate it from traditional GitOps tools:

  • Human and Automated Sections: Harness Pipelines allow you to automate both human and automated sections of the deployment pipeline. This means you can define and enforce human approvals, manual gates, and release policies as part of your pipeline, ensuring proper governance and compliance. In addition, you can seamlessly integrate automated processes like tests, infrastructure provisioning, and deployment steps into the pipeline.
  • Orchestration Across Environments: With Harness, you can orchestrate deployments across multiple environments, such as development, staging, and production, ensuring consistent and controlled promotion of artifacts. Harness provides a visual interface to design and manage complex deployment workflows, making it easy to define the sequence of steps and dependencies across environments.
  • Rollbacks and Remediation: Harness Pipelines offer robust rollback and remediation capabilities. In case of issues or failures, you can easily roll back to a previously known good state or trigger automated remediation actions. This ensures that your system can quickly recover from failures and maintain high availability.
  • Observability and Monitoring: Harness provides built-in observability and monitoring features to gain insights into the deployment pipeline and application performance.
  • SAAS and Customer-Managed Options: Harness offers both SAAS (Software as a Service) and customer-managed/hosted options, providing flexibility to choose the deployment model that best suits your organization’s needs and security requirements.

By combining GitOps principles with the powerful automation capabilities of Harness Pipelines, DevOps teams can achieve end-to-end orchestration and automation of their delivery pipelines, encompassing both human and automated steps. This enables seamless collaboration, accelerated deployment cycles, and increased confidence in the software release process.

It’s important to note that while ArgoCD and Flux are valuable GitOps tools for managing application deployments and infrastructure synchronization, Harness complements these tools by providing a comprehensive platform for pipeline automation and orchestration.

Harness Centralized GitOps UI

A centralized Argo CD UI, which provides a single interface to manage and monitor application deployments across multiple deployments, regions, clusters, and environments, offers several benefits:

  • Centralized Visibility: With a centralized Argo CD UI, you can have a consolidated view of all your deployments across different environments. This allows you to quickly assess the status of applications, monitor their health, and track any changes or issues in a centralized manner. It provides a holistic view of your entire application landscape, making it easier to identify and troubleshoot problems.
  • Simplified Management: The centralized UI simplifies the management of application deployments. Instead of navigating through multiple instances of Argo CD, you can access and control all deployments from a single interface. This streamlines administrative tasks, such as managing access controls, configuring deployment settings, and tracking deployment history.
  • Improved Collaboration: A centralized UI promotes collaboration among teams involved in the software delivery process. It provides a shared platform where development, operations, and other stakeholders can collaborate, review, and discuss application deployments. This enhances communication, reduces silos, and fosters cross-functional collaboration, leading to more efficient and effective deployments.
  • Enhanced Governance and Compliance: A centralized UI can enforce governance and compliance policies consistently across all deployments. It allows you to set standard configurations, security controls, and deployment policies, ensuring that deployments adhere to organizational standards and regulatory requirements. It provides a centralized point to monitor and enforce compliance, reducing the risk of misconfigurations and ensuring a more secure and compliant deployment process.
  • Streamlined Troubleshooting: When issues arise in application deployments, a centralized UI makes troubleshooting more efficient. It provides a single location to investigate deployment failures, review logs, and access related metrics and diagnostics. This simplifies the troubleshooting process, reduces the time to resolution, and improves overall system reliability.
  • Scalability and Efficiency: As the number of applications and environments grows, a centralized UI enables scalability and efficiency. It eliminates the need to manage multiple Argo CD instances separately, reducing administrative overhead and simplifying maintenance. This centralized approach allows you to scale your deployment operations more effectively, ensuring consistent management across all deployments.
  • Overall, a centralized Argo CD UI brings visibility, simplicity, collaboration, governance, troubleshooting capabilities, and scalability to the management of application deployments. It provides a unified platform to streamline operations, improve efficiency, and enhance the overall management and monitoring of your GitOps workflows.

Benefits of GitOps in the Software Delivery Factory

GitOps, inspired by the principles of factory automation, offers several benefits in the context of software delivery at scale:

  • Efficient and Consistent Deployments: GitOps, powered by goal-driven automation, ensures efficient and consistent deployments by automating the software delivery processes at an industrial scale.
  • Traceability and Auditing: With Git serving as the logbook, GitOps provides a detailed audit trail of changes, allowing for traceability, troubleshooting, and compliance.
  • Collaboration and Version Control: GitOps promotes collaboration among team members, allowing them to work concurrently, manage conflicts, and track changes using Git’s version control capabilities.
  • Reproducibility and Scalability: The software delivery factory, driven by GitOps, enables reproducibility and scalability in deployments, providing the ability to recreate and scale up the desired state reliably.


In this introductory blog post, we explored the concept of GitOps as a software delivery factory, emphasizing the role of the goal-driven agent, the Kubernetes robot, and Git as the factory’s logbook. By employing automation and leveraging version control, GitOps brings the benefits of industrial-scale automation to software deployments.

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