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Deploy a Helm Chart using CD Community Edition

CD Community Edition Basics

Harness CD Community Edition (CDCE) is the 100% free, source-available, self-managed edition of Harness CD that is designed for developers to deploy cloud-native services at the fastest velocity possible. A comparison of the features between CDCE and the Harness CD SaaS plans is available on the Harness CD Pricing page. Developers can run CDCE on Docker or Kubernetes and then use CDCE to automate deployments to Kubernetes, Serverless Functions and many more deployment platforms. The harness-cd-community repo houses these docker-compose and helm chart installers.

As shown in the figure below, we will perform the following steps in this tutorial.

  1. Install CDCE on Docker or Kubernetes.
  2. Create a helm CD pipeline using the Terraform Provider.
  3. Install a delegate on the Kubernetes cluster where the helm chart will be deployed to.
  4. Deploy the helm chart using by running the pipelines.
  5. Verify the health of your deployed application.

Tutorial

Install CD Community Edition

Prerequisite

Ensure that you have the Docker runtime installed on your host. If not, use one of the following options to install Docker:

Now, you also need to make sure that you have enough resources to run the CD Community Edition.

  • 2+ CPUs
  • 3GB+ of free memory

If you are also running the Kubernetes embedded in the same Docker Desktop, then additional resources are needed since the embedded Kubernetes also consumes resources.

  • 3+ CPUs
  • 5GB+ of free memory

Finally, since you will be installing delegates at locations different than the machine hosting CDCE Docker app, you will need to make sure that your CDCE Docker app can correctly generate URLs for these remote delegates to talk to. You can do so by setting an environment variable HARNESS_HOST with public IP of the laptop/VM where CDCE Docker cluster is installed. For example:

export HARNESS_HOST="192.168.0.1"

If this variable is not set, then the default value of host.docker.internal is used.

Install CDCE on Docker

Now you can install the CDCE by executing the following commands.

git clone https://github.com/harness/harness-cd-community.git
cd harness-cd-community/docker-compose/harness

We can explictly pull the docker images first.

docker compose pull

Now let's start the CD Community Edition.

docker compose up -d

Since multiple microservices need to come up, let's wait for 300 seconds before checking the health of the install.

docker compose run --rm proxy wait-for-it.sh ng-manager:7090 -t 300

Now we can see that all the various microservices are up and runnning.

docker compose ps

Open http://localhost/#/signup (if your browser is running inside the host VM) or http://HARNESS_HOST/#/signup (if your browser is running outside the host VM) and complete the registration form. Now your Harness CDCE account along with the first (admin) user is created. If you have already completed this step, then login to CDCE at http://localhost/#/signin or http://HARNESS_HOST/#/signin.

Note that you can temporarily shut down CDCE if needed and bring it back up using the previous up command.

docker compose down

Create Helm CD Pipeline with Terraform Provider

Now that Harness CDCE is up and running, we can create a CD pipeline that will deploy a helm chart onto a different Kubernetes cluster (usually known as the deployment target or infrastructure). You can always set this up in the pipeline studio which will also include creating other Harness resources like service, environment and connectors. Instead, we will use the popular Harness Terraform Provider to automate this process for us. Instructions for onboarding an new application into Harness using Terraform are available below.

Onboard with Terraform for Harness CDCE

Onboard with Terraform Provider

The Harness Terraform Provider enables automated lifecycle management of the Harness Platform using Terraform. You can onboard onto Harness on day 1 and also make day 2 changes using tthis Provider. Currently the following Harness resources can be managed via the Provider.

  • Organizations
  • Projects
  • Connectors
  • Services
  • Environments
  • Infrastructure Definitions
  • Pipelines
  • Permissions
  • Secrets

This tutorial shows you how to manage all the above resources except Permissions and Secrets.

Prerequisite

Install terraform CLI

Install the terraform CLI v1.3.x on your host machine. Run the following command to verify.

terraform -version

Get Your Harness Account ID

You will also need to provde your Harness accountId as an input parameter to the Provider. This accountId is present in every Harness URL. For example, in the following URL

https://<harness-mgr-port>/ng/#/account/6_vVHzo9Qeu9fXvj-AcQCb/settings/overview

6_vVHzo9Qeu9fXvj-AcQCb is the accountId.

Get Harness API Key Token

Login to your Harness Account and click My Profile on the left navigation. Click +API Key to create a new API key. Now click +Token to create API key token. Give the token a name and save the token that gets autogenerated when you click Apply.

Create your main.tf file

You can create your own main.tf file. For this tutorial, we will use a sample main.tf file

curl -LO https://raw.githubusercontent.com/harness-apps/developer-hub-apps/main/terraform/main.tf

Configure the Harness Provider

Open the main.tf file in a text editor and replace PUT_YOUR_HARNESS_ACCOUNTID_HERE and PUT_YOUR_API_KEY_TOKEN_HERE with your Harness accountId and API key token values respectively.

The PUT_YOUR_MANAGER_ENDPOINT_HERE value can be determined as follows:

  • For Harness SaaS, it is https://app.harness.io/gateway
  • For Harness CDCE Docker, it is http://HARNESS_HOST where HARNESS_HOST is the host IP where Harness CDCE is running. You can use localhost for HARNESS_HOST if terraform is running on the same machine.
  • For Harness CDCE Helm, it is http://HARNESS_HOST:7143 where HARNESS_HOST is the public IP of the Kubernetes node where CDCE Helm is running. You can use localhost for HARNESS_HOST if terraform is running on the same machine.

Note that if terraform CLI is running local to CDCE (either docker compose or minikube port forward onto VM), then you can use localhost and localhost:7143 for Docker and Kubernetes install options respectively.

terraform {
required_providers {
harness = {
source = "harness/harness"
}
}
}

provider "harness" {
endpoint = "PUT_YOUR_MANAGER_ENDPOINT_HERE"
account_id = "PUT_YOUR_HARNESS_ACCOUNTID_HERE"
platform_api_key = "PUT_YOUR_API_KEY_TOKEN_HERE"
}

...

Create the terraform resources

Review themain.tf file for the operations that terraform is going to execute for us. As you can see, the sample first creates a new organization as well as a new project inside that organization. It then creates a helm chart service that will be deployed to Kubernetes infrastructure running in a pre-production environment. A new pipeline is then created to make this service deployment happen.

At every step, you can use existing organizations, projects, services, environments if you so desire. We will now review the terraform resource definition for each of these resources.

Create a new organization

resource "harness_platform_organization" "org" {
name = "OrgByTF"
identifier = "orgbytf"
description = "Created through Terraform"
}

Create a new project in the organization

resource "harness_platform_project" "project" {
name = "ProjByTF"
identifier = "projbytf"
org_id = "orgbytf"
description = "Created through Terraform"
depends_on = [
harness_platform_organization.org
]
}

Create a helm connector at account level

Account-level connectors are available to all projects in all organizations. We create such a connector by not setting the org_id and project_id attributes in the terraform resource. We will use this connector to retrieve the Kubernetes manifests for the sample service we will deploy.

resource "harness_platform_connector_helm" "helmconn" {
name = "HelmConnByTF"
identifier = "helmconnbytf"
description = "Created through Terraform"
url = "https://charts.bitnami.com/bitnami"
}

Create a service inside the project

This service will use the above Helm connector to deploy a Helm Chart. We are using the wildfly helm chart available at https://charts.bitnami.com/bitnami as the sample service for this tutorial.

resource "harness_platform_service" "service" {
name = "ServiceByTF"
identifier = "servicebytf"
description = "Created through Terraform"
org_id = "orgbytf"
project_id = "projbytf"
yaml = <<-EOT
...
EOT

depends_on = [
harness_platform_project.project
]
}

Create a Kubernetes connector at account level

We will deploy the service defined earlier to the Kubernetes cluster associated with this connector. This connector will inherit the permissions of a delegate named firstk8sdel which you can install using the Kubernetes delegate instructions from Install Delegate

resource "harness_platform_connector_kubernetes" "k8sconn" {
name = "K8SConnByTF"
identifier = "k8sconnbytf"
description = "Created through Terraform"

inherit_from_delegate {
delegate_selectors = ["firstk8sdel"]
}
}

Create an environment in the project

Create an environment inside the project that refers to the Kubernetes connector we defined in the previous step. Environments can be of PreProduction or Production types and we will use the former for this example.

resource "harness_platform_environment" "env" {
name = "EnvByTF"
identifier = "envbytf"
org_id = "orgbytf"
project_id = "projbytf"
tags = []
type = "PreProduction"
yaml = <<-EOT
...
EOT

depends_on = [
harness_platform_project.project
]
}

Create a infrastructure definition in the environment

Create a infrastructure definition in the environment we just created.

resource "harness_platform_infrastructure" "infra" {
name = "InfraByTF"
identifier = "infrabytf"
org_id = "orgbytf"
project_id = "projbytf"
env_id = "envbytf"
type = "KubernetesDirect"
deployment_type = "Kubernetes"
yaml = <<-EOT
...
EOT

depends_on = [
harness_platform_environment.env
]
}

Create a pipeline inside the project

Every run of this pipeline will deploy a particular version of the service onto the Kubernetes cluster.

resource "harness_platform_pipeline" "pipeline" {
name = "PipelineByTF"
identifier = "pipelinebytf"
org_id = "orgbytf"
project_id = "projbytf"

yaml = <<-EOT
...
EOT

depends_on = [
harness_platform_infrastructure.infra
]
}

Run terraform init, plan and apply

Initialize terraform. This will download the Harness Provider onto your machine.

terraform init

Run the following step to see exactly the changes terraform is going to make on your behalf.

terraform plan

Finally, run this step to make terraform onboard your resources onto the Harness Platform.

terraform apply

When prompted by terraform if you want to continue with the apply step, type yes and then you will see output similar to the following.

harness_platform_connector_kubernetes.k8sconn: Creating...
harness_platform_organization.org: Creating...
harness_platform_connector_helm.helmconn: Creating...
harness_platform_connector_helm.helmconn: Creation complete after 2s [id=helmconnbytf]
harness_platform_organization.org: Creation complete after 2s [id=orgbytf]
harness_platform_connector_kubernetes.k8sconn: Creation complete after 2s [id=k8sconnbytf]
harness_platform_project.project: Creating...
harness_platform_project.project: Creation complete after 2s [id=projbytf]
harness_platform_service.service: Creating...
harness_platform_environment.env: Creating...
harness_platform_environment.env: Creation complete after 1s [id=envbytf]
harness_platform_service.service: Creation complete after 1s [id=servicebytf]
harness_platform_infrastructure.infra: Creating...
harness_platform_infrastructure.infra: Creation complete after 3s [id=infrabytf]
harness_platform_pipeline.pipeline: Creating...
harness_platform_pipeline.pipeline: Creation complete after 5s [id=pipelinebytf]

Apply complete! Resources: 8 added, 0 changed, 0 destroyed.

Verify and run pipeline on Harness UI

On Harness UI, you can go to Account Settings --> Organizations to see the new organization. Click View Projects to see the new project. Click the project and go into the "Continuous Delivery" module. When you click Pipelines now, you can see the new pipeline has been created. You can run this pipeline as long as you have previously installed a delegate with name firstk8sdel using the Kubernetes delegate instructions from Install Delegate. As previously shown, you can change the delegate name to any other delegate you may have installed by editing the Kubernetes connector resource of the main.tf file.

Run terraform destroy

This is as simple as the command below.

terraform destroy

Install Kubernetes Delegate

We now need to install a delegate named firstk8sdel on the Kubernetes cluster that is the deployment target. Note that if you installed the CDCE on a Kubernetes cluster then you can reuse the same cluster as this deployment cluster. However, the cluster should have enough underlying resources to run CDCE (in namespace harness), a delegate (in namespace harness-delegate-ng) and the helm chart you will be deploying (in the namespace of your choice) via CDCE.

Install Delegate for Harness CDCE

Install Delegate

What is a Delegate?

Harness Delegate is a lightweight worker process that is installed on your infrastructure and communicates only via outbound HTTP/HTTPS to the Harness Platform. This enables the Harness Platform to leverage the delegate for executing the CI/CD and other tasks on your behalf, without any of your secrets leaving your network.

You can install the Harness Delegate on either Docker or Kubernetes.

Install Delegate

Create New Delegate Token

Login to the Harness Platform and go to Account Settings -> Account Resources -> Delegates. Click on the Tokens tab. Click +New Token and give your token a name `firstdeltoken`. When you click Apply, a new token is generated for you. Click on the copy button to copy and store the token in a temporary file for now. You will provide this token as an input parameter in the next delegation installation step. The delegate will use this token to authenticate with the Harness Platform.

Get Your Harness Account ID

Along with the delegate token, you will also need to provde your Harness accountId as an input parameter to the delegate installation. This accountId is present in every Harness URL. For example, in the following URL

https://app.harness.io/ng/#/account/6_vVHzo9Qeu9fXvj-AcQCb/settings/overview

6_vVHzo9Qeu9fXvj-AcQCb is the accountId.

Now you are ready to install the delegate on either Docker or Kubernetes.

Prerequisite

Ensure that you have the Docker runtime installed on your host. If not, use one of the following options to install Docker:

Install on Docker

Now you can install the delegate using the following command.

docker run -d --name="firstdockerdel" --cpus="0.5" --memory="2g" \
-e DELEGATE_NAME=firstdockerdel \
-e NEXT_GEN=true \
-e DELEGATE_TYPE=DOCKER \
-e ACCOUNT_ID=PUT_YOUR_HARNESS_ACCOUNTID_HERE \
-e DELEGATE_TOKEN=PUT_YOUR_DELEGATE_TOKEN_HERE \
-e MANAGER_HOST_AND_PORT=PUT_YOUR_MANAGER_HOST_AND_PORT_HERE \
harness/delegate:22.11.77436

PUT_YOUR_MANAGER_HOST_AND_PORT_HERE should be replaced by the Harness Manager Endpoint noted below. For Harness SaaS accounts, you can find your Harness Cluster Location in the Account Overview page under Account Settings section of the left navigation. For Harness CDCE, the endpoint varies based on the Docker vs. Helm installation options.

Harness Cluster LocationHarness Manager Endpoint on Harness Cluster
SaaS prod-1https://app.harness.io
SaaS prod-2https://app.harness.io/gratis
SaaS prod-3https://app3.harness.io
CDCE Dockerhttp://<HARNESS_HOST> if Docker Delegate is remote to CDCE or http://host.docker.internal if Docker Delegate is on same host as CDCE
CDCE Helmhttp://<HARNESS_HOST>:7143 where HARNESS_HOST is the public IP of the Kubernetes node where CDCE Helm is running

Verify Docker Delegate Connectivity

Click Continue and in a few moments after the health checks pass, your Docker Delegate will be available for you to leverage. Click Done and can verify your new Delegate is on the list.

Delegate Available

You can now route communication to external systems in Harness connectors and pipelines by simply selecting this delegate via a delegate selector.

Run Pipeline to Deploy Helm Chart

Login to Harness CDCE UI and click into the Project. Click on the pipeline and then click Run. You will see that the wildfly helm chart from https://charts.bitnami.com/bitnami will be pulled by the delegate you had installed and it will deploy into the default namespace of the Kubernetes cluster. You can always change the helm chart and its deployment namespace to your own application.