A few months ago, I wrote an article "Understanding GitOps: The Latest Tools and Philosophies" for the New Stack. In that blog post, I went over the basics of what GitOps is all about and the key facts as of today.

So what is GitOps and why would we want to use it? In its simplest form, GitOps is the principle of defining all of our resources in Git. Meaning, anything that we could possibly push to a Git repository and keep version controlled, we should.

Why do we want to learn about GitOps and implement it in our organisation?

There are different ways to duplicate steps on different machines. We could either go ahead and press different buttons, and detail the process of us setting everything up, or we could go ahead and define our Infrastructure as Code, Kubernetes resources through declarative YAML files and so on.

Using the declarative way to define our resources makes our infrastructure pro-active rather than reactive. This about, instead of zipping through different TV channels, you tell your TV that every Saturday morning at 10 AM you want to watch a cooking show by person x. Ultimately, your TV is going to take care of making that happen.

The main problem with the imperative approach of setting up our resources is that we cannot accurately recreate the same steps. UIs change, buttons move, so how can we ensure that we press the same buttons always.

Additionally, setting up resources the manual way is extremely risky. How do you ensure people do not break things, that the security is correct and the networking is in place?

So how does GitOps actually work?

The two most popular tools right now for GitOps best practices are Flux CD and Argo CD. In both cases, you will install an agent inside your cluster. This agent is then responsible for monitoring your resources.


The desired state of your resources will be defined in Git. Whenever anything changes to your desired state, the Agent will pull the new resources from Git and deploy them to your Kubernetes Cluster. You can call it magic or really good engineering work 🙂

Now why is there a pull model instead of a push model?

The pull model makes it possible for the agent to deploy new images from inside the cluster; they are pulling information into the cluster rather than the cluster having to allow new information being pushed in from the outside. The latter would open the cluster for new security risks.

Getting Started

In this example, we are going to be using Argo CD to install resources in our cluster. Why are we using Argo and not Flux? I am familiar with Argo but not so familiar with Flux. Additionally, Argo has a really nice UI that will help us understand what is actually happening within our cluster.

Separately, ArgoCD just launched its version 2.0. Note that I will be trying out their 2.0 version for the first time. https://www.cncf.io/blog/2021/04/07/argo-cd-2-0-released/

Documentation: https://argoproj.github.io/argo-cd/

So, let's get started.

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