SaaS products are popular among developers because they offer many benefits, including the ability to pay for only what you use, the flexibility to scale up or down as needed, and the convenience of being able to access your data and applications from anywhere.
Amid the recent boom in the popularity of containers and Kubernetes, several tools have emerged to help manage these technologies, including the Helm package manager. Helm repository by JFrog is one example.
In this article, we’ll take a look at what Helm is and how it can be used to streamline the management of your SaaS product.
What Is Helm?
Helm is a tool for managing Kubernetes applications. It allows you to define, install, and upgrade your application with a single command.
Helm is similar to apt or yum in the Linux world, or Homebrew on macOS. However, Helm has some features that make it particularly well-suited for managing Kubernetes applications:
- Helm packages are called charts. A chart is a collection of files that describe a related set of Kubernetes resources.
- Charts can be dependencies of other charts. This allows you to modularize your application into distinct parts (e.g., frontend, backend, database) and makes it easy to install only the parts you need.
- Charts can be versioned and signed. This allows you to verify the integrity of a chart and verify that it hasn’t been tampered with.
- Helm runs on your laptop, CI/CD server, or wherever you want it to run. Unlike some other Kubernetes management tools, Helm does not require a central server or database.
How Can Helm Help You Streamline the Management of Your SaaS Product?
There are several ways in which Helm can help you streamline the management of your SaaS product.
First, Helm can be used to manage multiple Kubernetes environments (e.g., development, staging, production) from a single place. This is possible because Helm charts can be parameterized.
For example, you could have a single Helm chart for your entire SaaS product, with parameters that specify the environment (e.g., development, staging, production) and the region (e.g., us-west-1, us-east-1).
This would allow you to deploy your SaaS product to multiple environments and regions with a single command.
Second, Helm can be used to automate the rollout of new features and bug fixes. This is possible because Helm charts can be versioned.
For example, let’s say you have a Helm chart for your frontend that is currently at version 1.0.0. You can deploy a new version (e.g., 1.0.1) of the chart with a single command, and Helm will automatically update the frontend pods in your Kubernetes cluster.
This can be a major time-saver, particularly if you are constantly iterating on your SaaS product.
Third, Helm can be used to manage the lifecycle of your SaaS product’s dependencies. This is possible because Helm charts can be dependencies of other charts.
For example, if your SaaS product depends on a database, you can deploy the database using a Helm chart that is specified as a dependency in your SaaS product’s Helm chart.
This ensures that the database is always deployed and up-to-date, and it also makes it easy to install or upgrade the database without affecting your SaaS product.
Last, Helm can be used to share your SaaS product with others. This is possible because Helm charts can be published to public or private chart repositories.
For example, you could publish your SaaS product’s Helm chart to a public chart repository such as GitHub or JFrog Artifactory. This would allow others to easily install and use your SaaS product.
Helm is a valuable tool for streamlining the management of your SaaS product. By using Helm, you can manage multiple Kubernetes environments from a single place, automate the rollout of new features and bug fixes, manage the lifecycle of your SaaS product’s dependencies, and share your SaaS product with others.
If you’re not using Helm to manage your Kubernetes applications, you should definitely consider it. It can make your life a lot easier!