Deploy Helm Charts using GitOps on an Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes cluster


This article is for GitOps with Flux v1. GitOps with Flux v2 is now available for Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes and Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) clusters; go to the tutorial for GitOps with Flux v2. We recommend migrating to Flux v2 as soon as possible.

Support for Flux v1-based cluster configuration resources created prior to May 1, 2023 will end on May 24, 2025. Starting on May 1, 2023, you won't be able to create new Flux v1-based cluster configuration resources. Helm is an open-source packaging tool that helps you install and manage the lifecycle of Kubernetes applications. Similar to Linux package managers like APT and Yum, Helm is used to manage Kubernetes charts, which are packages of pre-configured Kubernetes resources.

This article shows you how to configure and use Helm with Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes.


Overview of using GitOps and Helm with Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes

The Helm operator provides an extension to Flux that automates Helm Chart releases. A Helm Chart release is described via a Kubernetes custom resource named HelmRelease. Flux synchronizes these resources from Git to the cluster, while the Helm operator makes sure Helm Charts are released as specified in the resources.

The example repository used in this article is structured in the following way:

├── charts
│   └── azure-arc-sample
│       ├── Chart.yaml
│       ├── templates
│       │   ├── NOTES.txt
│       │   ├── deployment.yaml
│       │   └── service.yaml
│       └── values.yaml
└── releases
    └── app.yaml

In the Git repo we have two directories: one containing a Helm Chart and one containing the releases config. In the releases directory, the app.yaml contains the HelmRelease config, shown below:

kind: HelmRelease
  name: azure-arc-sample
  namespace: arc-k8s-demo
  releaseName: arc-k8s-demo
    ref: master
    path: charts/azure-arc-sample
    serviceName: arc-k8s-demo

The Helm release config contains the following fields:

Field Description Mandatory field. Needs to follow Kubernetes naming conventions.
metadata.namespace Optional field. Determines where the release is created.
spec.releaseName Optional field. If not provided the release name will be $namespace-$name.
spec.chart.path The directory containing the chart (relative to the repository root).
spec.values User customizations of default parameter values from the Chart itself.

The options specified in the HelmRelease spec.values will override the options specified in values.yaml from the Chart source.

You can learn more about the HelmRelease in the official Helm Operator documentation.

Create a configuration

Using the Azure CLI extension for k8s-configuration, link your connected cluster to the example Git repository. Give this configuration the name azure-arc-sample and deploy the Flux operator in the arc-k8s-demo namespace.

az k8s-configuration create --name azure-arc-sample --cluster-name AzureArcTest1 --resource-group AzureArcTest --operator-instance-name flux --operator-namespace arc-k8s-demo --operator-params='--git-readonly --git-path=releases' --enable-helm-operator --helm-operator-chart-version='1.2.0' --helm-operator-params='--set helm.versions=v3' --repository-url --scope namespace --cluster-type connectedClusters

Configuration parameters

To customize the creation of the configuration, learn about additional parameters.

Validate the configuration

Using the Azure CLI, verify that the configuration was successfully created.

az k8s-configuration show --name azure-arc-sample --cluster-name AzureArcTest1 --resource-group AzureArcTest --cluster-type connectedClusters

The configuration resource is updated with compliance status, messages, and debugging information.

  "complianceStatus": {
    "complianceState": "Installed",
    "lastConfigApplied": "2019-12-05T05:34:41.481000",
    "message": "{\"OperatorMessage\":null,\"ClusterState\":null}",
    "messageLevel": "3"
  "enableHelmOperator": "True",
  "helmOperatorProperties": {
    "chartValues": "--set helm.versions=v3",
    "chartVersion": "1.2.0"
  "id": "/subscriptions/57ac26cf-a9f0-4908-b300-9a4e9a0fb205/resourceGroups/AzureArcTest/providers/Microsoft.Kubernetes/connectedClusters/AzureArcTest1/providers/Microsoft.KubernetesConfiguration/sourceControlConfigurations/azure-arc-sample",
  "name": "azure-arc-sample",
  "operatorInstanceName": "flux",
  "operatorNamespace": "arc-k8s-demo",
  "operatorParams": "--git-readonly --git-path=releases",
  "operatorScope": "namespace",
  "operatorType": "Flux",
  "provisioningState": "Succeeded",
  "repositoryPublicKey": "",
  "repositoryUrl": "",
  "resourceGroup": "AzureArcTest",
  "type": "Microsoft.KubernetesConfiguration/sourceControlConfigurations"

Validate application

Run the following command and navigate to localhost:8080 on your browser to verify that application is running.

kubectl port-forward -n arc-k8s-demo svc/arc-k8s-demo 8080:8080

Next steps

Apply cluster configurations at scale using Azure Policy.