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Continuous Delivery (CD) FAQs

This article addresses some frequently asked questions about Harness Continuous Deployments (CD).

In this topic:


For an overview of Harness' support for platforms, methodologies, and related technologies, see Supported platforms and technologies.

What can I deploy using Harness?

Harness supports all of the most common platforms and deployment use cases.


Currently, Harness NextGen CD supports Kubernetes, Helm, and Kustomize deployments. Harness NextGen CD will soon support all of the integrations supported in Harness FirstGen.Always start with the Quickstarts in Start here. These will take you from novice to advanced Harness user in a matter of minutes.

What is a service instance in Harness?

A service is an independent unit of software you deploy through Harness CD pipelines.

This will typically map to a service in Kubernetes apps, or to an artifact you deploy in traditional VM-based apps.

Service instances represent the dynamic instantiation of a service you deploy with Harness.

For example, for a service representing a Docker image, service instances are the number of pods running the Docker image.


  • For services with more than 20 service instances - active pods or VMs for that service - additional service licenses will be counted for each 20 service instances. This typically happens when you have large monolith services.
  • See the Pricing FAQ at Harness pricing.

How does Harness calculate pricing for CD?

See Service-based licensing and usage for CD.

My definition of a service differs from the above standard definition. How will pricing work in my case?

Harness allows deployment of various custom technologies such as Terraform scripts, background jobs, and other non-specified deployments. These require custom evaluation to assess the correct Licensing model. Please contact the Harness Sales team to discuss your specific technologies and deployment use cases.

See the Pricing FAQ at Harness pricing.

Are there other mechanisms to license Harness CD beyond services?

See the Pricing FAQ at Harness pricing.

Yes, we are happy to have Harness Sales team work with you and understand the specifics of what you are trying to achieve and propose a custom licensing/pricing structure.

Do unused/stale services consume a license?

See the Pricing FAQ at Harness pricing.

Harness CD actively tracks and provides visibility into all active services that consume a license.

An active service is defined as a service that has been deployed at least once in the last 30 days. A service deemed inactive (no deployments in the last 30 days), does not consume a license.

How will I know if I am exceeding my licensed service usage?

See the Pricing FAQ at Harness pricing.

Harness CD has built-in license tracking and management dashboards that provide you real-time visibility into your license allocation and usage.

If you notice that you are nearing or exceeding your licensed services, please get in touch with Harness Sales team to plan ahead and ensure continued usage and compliance of the product.

How many users can I onboard onto Harness CD? Is there a separate pricing for Users?

Harness CD has been designed to empower your entire Engineering and DevOps organization to deploy software with agility and reliability. We do not charge for users who onboard Harness CD and manage various aspects of the deployment process, including looking through deployment summaries, reports, and dashboards. We empower users with control and visibility while pricing only for the actual ‘services’ you deploy as a team.

If I procure a certain number of service licenses on an annual contract, and realize that more licenses need to be added, am I able to procure more licenses mid-year through my current contract?

See the Pricing FAQ at Harness pricing.

Yes, Harness Sales team is happy to work with you and help fulfill any Harness-related needs, including mid-year plan upgrades and expansions.

If I procure a certain number of service licenses on an annual contract, and realize that I may no longer need as many, am I able to reduce my licenses mid-year through my current contract?

See the Pricing FAQ at Harness pricing.

While an annual contract can not be lowered mid-year through the contract, please contact us and we will be very happy to work with you. In case you are uncertain at the beginning of the contract of how many licenses should be procured - you can buy what you use today to start and expand mid-year as you use more. You can also start with a monthly contract and convert to an annual subscription.

What if I am building an open source project?

We love Open Source and are committed to supporting our Community! Contact us and we will be happy to provide you with a no restriction Plan!

What if I add more service instance infrastructure outside of Harness?

See the Pricing FAQ at Harness pricing.

If you increase the Harness-deployed service instance infrastructure outside of Harness, Harness considers this increase part of the service instance infrastructure and licensing is applied.

When is a service instance removed?

If Harness cannot find the service instance infrastructure it deployed, it removes it from the Services dashboard.

If Harness cannot connect to the service instance infrastructure, it will retry until it determines if the service instance infrastructure is still there.

If the instance/pod is in a failed state does it still count towards the service instance count?

Harness performs a steady state check during deployment and requires that each instance/pod reach a healthy state.

A Kubernetes liveness probe failing later would mean the pod is restarted. Harness continues to count it as a service instance.

A Kubernetes readiness probe failing later would mean traffic is no longer routed to the pods. Harness continues to count pods in that state.

Harness does not count an instance/pod if it no longer exists. For example, if the replica count is reduced.

What deployment strategies can I use?

Harness supports all deployment strategies, such as blue/green, rolling, and canary.

See Deployment concepts and strategies.

How do I filter deployments on the Deployments page?

You can filter deployments on the the Deployments page according to multiple criteria, and save these filters as a quick way to filter deployments in the future.

How do I know which Harness Delegates were used in a deployment?

Harness displays which Delegates performed each task in the Details of each step.

Can I restrict deployments to specific User Groups?

Yes, you can enable the Role permission Pipeline Execute and then apply that Role to specific User Groups.

See Add and manage roles.

Can I deploy a service to multiple infrastructures at the same time?

Each stage has a service and target Infrastructure. If your Pipeline has multiple stages, you can deploy the same service to multiple infrastructures.

See Define your Kubernetes target infrastructure.

Can I re-run a failed deployment?

Yes, select Re-run Pipeline.


For an overview of Harness' support for platforms, methodologies, and related technologies, see Supported platforms and technologies.

What is a Harness Kubernetes deployment?

Harness takes the artifacts and Kubernetes manifests you provide and deploys them to the target Kubernetes cluster. You can simply deploy Kubernetes objects via manifests and you can provide manifests using remote sources and Helm charts.

See the Kubernetes CD quickstart and Kubernetes deployments overview.

For detailed instructions on using Kubernetes in Harness, see the Kubernetes how-tos.

What workloads can Harness deploy in a Kubernetes cluster?

See What can I deploy in Kubernetes?.

Does Harness support everything in Kubernetes?

Yes. Any standard Kubernetes features in your Kubernetes manifests will be deployed.

Harness tracks deployment status to ensure pods reach steady state before considering the deployment successful, but other, even unrelated Kubernetes features, are supported. For example, liveness, readiness, and startup probes are supported.

For Kubernetes, does Harness count only pods as a service instance (SI)? What about a ConfigMap or a Secret?

Only pods. Only pods will consume SI licenses. ConfigMaps and Secrets do not consume SI licenses.

How is Harness sure that a pod is a service instance?

Harness tracks the workloads it deploys. Harness checks every 10 minutes using the Kubernetes API to see how many pods are currently running for the given workload.

If I create a pod using Harness and keep managing it, is it still counted as a service instance?

Yes. Sidecar containers within pods (log proxy, service mesh proxy) do not consume SI licenses. Harness licenses by pod, not the number of containers in a pod.

Does Harness support OpenShift?

Yes. Harness supports DeploymentConfigRoute, and ImageStream across Canary, Blue Green, and Rolling deployment strategies. Please use apiVersion: and not apiVersion: v1.

You can leverage Kubernetes list objects as needed without modifying your YAML for Harness.

When you deploy, Harness will render the lists and show all the templated and rendered values in the log.

Harness supports:

  • List
  • NamespaceList
  • ServiceList
  • For Kubernetes deployments, these objects are supported for all deployment strategies (canary, rolling, blue/green).

If you run kubectl api-resources you should see a list of resources, and kubectl explain will work with any of these.

Can I use Helm?

Yes. Harness Kubernetes deployments support Helm v2 and v3.

Harness supports Helm charts in its Kubernetes implementation.

Harness Kubernetes deployments allow you to use your own Kubernetes manifests or a Helm chart, and Harness executes the Kubernetes API calls to build everything without Helm and Tiller needing to be installed in the target cluster.

Harness Kubernetes deployments also support all deployment strategies (canary, blue/green, rolling, and so on).

Should I use Kubernetes or Native Helm?

Harness includes both Kubernetes and Helm deployments, and you can use Helm charts in both. Here's the difference:

  • Harness Kubernetes deployments allow you to use your own Kubernetes manifests or a Helm chart (remote or local), and Harness executes the Kubernetes API calls to build everything without Helm and Tiller needing to be installed in the target cluster.
    Harness Kubernetes deployments also support all deployment strategies (canary, blue/green, rolling, and so on).
  • For Harness Native Helm deployments, you must always have Helm and Tiller (for Helm v2) running on one pod in your target cluster. Tiller makes the API calls to Kubernetes in these cases. You can perform a Rolling deployment strategy only (no canary or blue/green). For Harness Native Helm v3 deployments, you no longer need Tiller, but you are still limited to the Rolling deployment strategy.
    • Versioning: Harness Kubernetes deployments version all objects, such as ConfigMaps and secrets. Native Helm does not.
    • Rollback: Harness Kubernetes deployments will roll back to the last successful version. Native Helm will not. If you did two bad Native Helm deployments, the second one will roll back to the first. Harness will roll back to the last successful version.

Can I deploy Helm charts without adding an artifact source to Harness?


Harness Kubernetes deployments using Helm charts can involve adding your artifact (image) to Harness in addition to your chart. The chart refers to the artifact you added to Harness (through its values.yaml file). During deployment, Harness deploys the artifact you added to Harness and uses the chart to manage it.

In addition to this method, you can also deploy the Helm chart without adding your artifact to Harness. Instead, the Helm chart identifies the artifact. Harness installs the chart, gets the artifact from the repo, and then installs the artifact. We call this a Helm chart deployment.

See Deploy helm charts.

Can I run Kubernetes jobs?

Yes. In Harness Kubernetes deployments, you define jobs in the Harness Service Manifests. Next you add the Apply step to your Harness workflow to execute the job.

See Run Kubernetes jobs.

Can I deploy a Kubernetes resources using CRDs?

Yes. Harness supports all Kubernetes default resources, such as pods, deployments, StatefulSets, DaemonSets, etc. For these resources, Harness supports steady state checking, versioning, displays instances on Harness dashboards, performs rollback, and other enterprise features.

In addition, Harness provides many of the same features for Kubernetes custom resource deployments using Custom Resource Definitions (CRDs). CRDs are resources you create that extend the Kubernetes API to support your application.


Harness supports CRDs for both Kubernetes and OpenShift. There is no difference in their custom resource implementation.

Can I deploy resources outside of the main Kubernetes workload?

Yes. By default, the Harness Kubernetes workflow will deploy all of the resources you have set up in the Service Manifests section.

In some cases, you might have resources that you do not want to deploy as part of the main workflow deployment, but want to apply as another step in the workflow. For example, you might want to deploy an additional resource only after Harness has verified the deployment of the main resources in the Service Manifests section.

workflows include an Apply step that allows you to deploy any resource you have set up in the Service Manifests section.

See Deploy manifests separately using the Apply step.

Can I ignore a manifest during deployment?

You might have manifest files for resources that you do not want to deploy as part of the main deployment.

Instead, you tell Harness to ignore these files and then apply them separately using the Harness Kubernetes Apply step.

Or you can simply ignore them until you wish to deploy them as part of the main deployment.

See Ignore a manifest file during deployment.

Can I pull an image from a private registry?

Typically, If the Docker artifact source is in a private registry, Harness has access to that registry using the credentials set up in the Harness Artifact connector.

If some cases, your Kubernetes cluster might not have the permissions needed to access a private Docker registry. For these cases, the values.yaml file added in the Service Manifests section must contain dockercfg: <+artifact.imagePullSecret> . This key will import the credentials from the Docker credentials file in the artifact.

See Pull an image from a private registry for Kubernetes.

Can I use remote sources for my manifests?

You can use your Git repo for the configuration files in Manifests and Harness uses them at runtime. You have the following options for remote files:

  • Kubernetes Specs in YAML format - These files are simply the YAML manifest files stored on a remote Git repo. See Add Kubernetes manifests.
  • Helm Chart from Helm Repository - Helm charts files stored in standard Helm syntax in YAML on a remote Helm repo. See Helm CD quickstart.
  • Kustomization Configuration — kustomization.yaml files stored on a remote Git repo. See Kustomize quickstart.
  • OpenShift Template — OpenShift params file from a Git repo.

Remote files can also use Go templating.

Do you support Go templating for Kubernetes manifests?

Yes. you can use Go templating and Harness built-in variables in combination in your Manifests files.

See Example Kubernetes manifests using Go templating.

Can I provision Kubernetes infrastructure?

Yes, you can use Terraform. You can provision the target Kubernetes infrastructure as part of a pre-deployment setup in your stage. When the Pipeline runs, it builds your Kubernetes infrastructure first, and then deploys to the new infrastructure.

See Terraform provisioning with Harness.

What deployment strategies can I use with Kubernetes?

You can use canary, rolling, and blue/green. See:

Can I select namespaces during deployment?

Yes. You can select namespaces on the fly using Harness variables that are evaluated at runtime.

Do you support Kustomize?

Yes. Harness supports Kustomize kustomizations in your Kubernetes deployments. You can use overlays, multibase, plugins, sealed secrets, and so on, just as you would in any native kustomization.

See Kustomize quickstart.

Can I use Ingress traffic routing?

Yes. You can route traffic using the Ingress rules defined in your Harness Kubernetes manifests.

Can I scale my pods up and down?

Yes. When you deploy a Kubernetes workload using Harness, you set the number of pods you want in your manifests and in the deployment steps.

With the Scale step, you can scale this number of running pods up or down, by count or percentage.

See Scale Kubernetes pods.

How do I delete Kubernetes resources?

Harness includes a Delegate step to remove any deployed Kubernetes resources.

See Delete Kubernetes resources.

Can I use Helm 3 with Kubernetes?

Yes. You can use Helm 3 charts.

You can select Helm 3 when you create the service, or upgrade Helm 2 to Helm 3.

See Deploy Helm charts.

Can I use Helm Chart Hooks in Kubernetes deployments?

Yes. You can use Helm chart hooks in your Kubernetes deployments to intervene at specific points in a release cycle.

You use a Harness Kubernetes Canary or Blue Green deployment and apply the hooks flexibly with the Apply step.

A Harness Kubernetes deployment runs kubectl apply for manifest files. There is no Tiller involved in this process because Harness is not running any Helm commands.


For an overview of Harness' support for platforms, methodologies, and related technologies, see Supported platforms and technologies.

How does Harness support Terraform?

Harness lets you use Terraform to provision infrastructure as part of your deployment process. Harness can provision any resource that is supported by a Terraform provider or plugin.

You can use Harness with Terraform in two ways:

  • Target Infra Provisioning: provision the target infrastructure for a deployment, and then deploy to that provisioned infrastructure.
  • Non-target Provisioning: provision any resources other than the target infrastructure for the deployment.

You can do both in the same stage if you want.

For an overview of the process see Terraform provisioning with Harness

See the following Terraform how-tos:

Do I need to deploy an application to use Terraform?

You do not need to deploy artifacts through Harness services to use Terraform provisioning in a workflow. You can use Terraform to provision infrastructure without deploying any artifact.

See the following Terraform how-tos:

Are Harness service instances counted with Terraform provisioning?

Harness service instances (SIs) are not consumed and no additional licensing is required when a Harness pipeline uses Terraform to provision resources. When Harness deploys artifacts through Harness services to the provisioned infrastructure in the same pipeline, SI licensing is consumed.

What deployment strategies can I use Terraform with?

You can use Terraform with all strategies.

Can I perform a Terraform dry run?

Yes. The Terraform Plan and Terraform Apply steps can be executed as a dry run, just like running the terraform plan command.

First, you add the Terraform Plan step and define the Terraform script for it to use.

Next, you add the Terraform Apply step, select Inherit from Plan in Configuration Type, and reference the Terraform Plan step using the same Provisioner Identifier.

Can I remove resources provisioned with Terraform?

Yes. You can add a Terraform Destroy step to remove any provisioned infrastructure, just like running the terraform destroy command. See destroy from Terraform.

See Remove provisioned infrastructure with the Terraform Destroy step.

Harness Configure as Code

For an overview of Harness' support for platforms, methodologies, and related technologies, see Supported platforms and technologies.

Can I create my deployments using YAML?

Yes. Harness allows you to configure settings such as pipelines, triggers, connectors, environments, and services in Harness by using YAML. You can use YAML to achieve any configuration for which you would use the Harness platform GUI.

See Harness YAML quickstart.

Harness Git Experience

For an overview of Harness' support for platforms, methodologies, and related technologies, see Supported platforms and technologies.

Can I sync my Harness project with my repo?

Yes. You can sync your Harness project with a Git repo. The Harness project can be synced with one repo and the connectors used in the project can be synced in the same repo or separately with other repos or branches.

See Harness Git Experience overview.

Uncommon deployment platforms

Harness provides deployment support for all of the major artifact, approval, provisioner, and cloud platforms.

Harness also supports uncommon, custom platforms using platform agnostic connectors and Custom triggers.

For an overview of Harness' support for platforms, methodologies, and related technologies, see Supported platforms and technologies.

What is a Harness custom deployment?

Harness provides deployment support for all of the major platforms.

In some cases, you might be using a platform that does not have first class support in Harness. For these situations, Harness provides a custom deployment option.

Custom deployments use shell scripts to connect to target platforms, obtain target host information, and execute deployment steps.

Harness entities

For an overview of Harness entities, see Learn Harness' key concepts.

What are organizations and projects?

Harness organizations (orgs) allow you to group projects that share the same goal. For example, all projects for a business unit or division.

Within each org you can add several Harness projects.

A Harness project contains Harness pipelines, users, and resources that share the same goal. For example, a project could represent a business unit, division, or simply a development project for an app.

Think of projects as a common space for managing teams working on similar technologies. A space where the team can work independently and not need to bother account admins or even org admins when new entities like connectors, delegates, or secrets are needed.

Much like account-level roles, project members can be assigned project admin, member, and viewer roles

What is a Harness pipeline?

Typically, a pipeline is an end-to-end process that delivers a new version of your software. But a pipeline can be much more: a pipeline can be a cyclical process that includes integration, delivery, operations, testing, deployment, real-time changes, and monitoring.

For example, a pipeline can use the CI module to build, test, and push code, and then a CD module to deploy the artifact to your production infrastructure.

What's a Harness stage?

A stage is a subset of a pipeline that contains the logic to perform one major segment of the pipeline process. Stages are based on the different milestones of your pipeline, such as building, approving, and delivering.

Some stages, like a deploy stage, use strategies that automatically add the necessary steps.

What are services in Harness?

A service represents your microservices and other workloads logically.

A service is a logical entity to be deployed, monitored, or changed independently.

What are service definitions?

When a service is added to the stage in a pipeline, you define its service definition. Service definitions represent the real artifacts, manifests, and variables of a service. They are the actual files and variable values.

You can also propagate and override a service in subsequent stages by selecting its name in that stage's service settings.

What artifacts does Harness support?

Harness supports all of the common repos.

See Connect to an artifact repo.

What's a Harness environment?

Environments represent your deployment targets logically (QA, production, and so on). You can add the same environment to as many stages as you need.

What are Harness infrastructure definitions?

Infrastructure definitions represent an environment's infrastructure physically. They are the actual clusters, hosts, and so on.

What are Harness connectors?

Connectors contain the information necessary to integrate and work with third-party tools.

Harness uses connectors at pipeline runtime to authenticate and perform operations with a third-party tool.

For example, a GitHub connector authenticates with a GitHub account and repo and fetches files as part of a build or deploy stage in a pipeline.

See Harness Connectors how-tos.

Secrets management

For an overview of Harness' support for platforms, methodologies, and related technologies, see Supported platforms and technologies.

How does Harness manage secrets?

Harness includes built-in secrets management to store your encrypted secrets, such as access keys, and use them in your Harness account. Harness integrates will all popular secrets managers.

See Harness secrets management overview.

Harness variables expressions

Harness includes built-in expressions to identify settings.

See Built-in Harness variables reference.

Most settings in Harness pipelines allow you to use fixed values, runtime inputs, and expressions.

See Fixed values, runtime inputs, and expressions.

Can I reference settings using expressions?

Yes. Everything in Harness can be referenced by a fully qualified name (FQN). The FQN is the path to a setting in the YAML definition of your pipeline.

See Built-in Harness variables reference.

Can I enter values at runtime?

Yes. You can use runtime Inputs to set placeholders for values that will be provided when you start a pipeline execution.

See Fixed values, runtime inputs, and expressions.

Can I evaluate values at run time?

Yes. With expressions, you can use Harness input, output, and execution variables in a setting.

All of these variables represent settings and values in the pipeline before and during execution.

At run time, Harness will replace the variable with the runtime value.

See Fixed Values, runtime inputs, and expressions.