Guest post from Dan Garfield, Chief Technology Evangelist, Codefresh and Scott Rigby, Developer Experience, Weaveworks

On November 13th, 2020 the Stable and Incubator Helm chart repositories will be deprecated and all Helm-related images will no longer be available from GCR. Users who do not switch image locations to their new homes and update any chart from the stable/incubator repos to their new homes will potentially run into issues. This is especially important for Helm 2 users because Tiller’s location is also changing and failing to update this would cause Helm releases/rollbacks to fail if Tiller restarts.

This process of deprecation was announced and started over a year ago but many are still using the main repo and images.

Why these changes are happening

Helm has been popular, so popular that the cost of maintaining a centralized repository has grown beyond our means. The team at Google has been kind enough to host our community Chart repos and images for the last few years but the time has come to find a new home. For the past year, Helm has been moving to a more distributed model with repos hosted by the community. For example, https://chartcenter.io and https://artifacthub.io/ where most packages can be tracked. Additionally, the folks at Github have graciously opened their container registry for us to store our open source images, including Tiller. 

What needs to be done before November 13th to avoid potential downtime or other issues

Readiness Checklist

  • Update all charts from stable/incubator with their new locations. You can find a list of migrated charts in this Github issue
  • For Helm 2 users
    • Update Tiller image location
    • OR upgrade to Helm 3 which no longer requires Tiller (Recommended)

Instructions

  1. Upgrade to Helm 3

Upgrading to Helm 3 will remove the server side component of Helm, Tiller and is a very straight forward and safe process. 

To help you migrate we suggest these resources.

The Helm team is also hosting a Helm 2 to Helm 3 virtual workshop on October 21st

  1. If necessary to stay on Helm 2, get the Tiller image from its new home

Tiller images can currently be found on Docker hub and are planned to be added in other locations. You can follow the related Github issues 8343 and 8346. At the time of this writing a new Helm 2.x client release is planned with a new default location. Please note that as Helm 2 will not receive security patches, you will want to migrate as soon as possible to Helm 3.

3) Update stable/incubator charts

Many maintainers have already migrated their charts to new homes. You can track the chart migration progress here. Once you’ve identified simply add and reference the new repository in your next upgrade using the usual `helm upgrade [RELEASE NAME] [HELM CHART]` syntax.

Note: Be sure to upgrade the chart with all the parameters you normally need as this does not preserve additional flags used during installation.

For example if I had stable/kibana installed, I need to first add the new repo with `helm repo add elastic https://helm.elastic.co` and then `helm upgrade kibana elastic/kibana` (assuming I had no other parameters). 

An issue is currently underway to help track chart history after the stable/incubator repos are removed. 

Conclusion

It’s important to complete any migration before November 13th to avoid any potential issues in your existing clusters (especially image pull backoff errors). In the meantime, the community keeps growing, and we’d love to see you there!

  • Join the discussion in Kubernetes Slack:
    • for questions and just to hang out
    • for discussing PRs, code, and bugs
  • Hang out at the Public Developer Call: Thursday, 9:30 Pacific via Zoom
  • Test, debug, and help migrate charts: GitHub/helm/charts