Codefresh at the Helm Summit 2018 conference this week unfurled a managed service that combines the open source Helm tools for deploying microservices based on containers with testing tools that validate those microservices before being deployed in a production environment.
Dan Garfield, vice president of marketing at Codefresh, says Helm Repositories, now available in beta, provides a means through which DevOps teams can make sure the applications being deployed on top of Kubernetes clusters using Helm software are validated using ephemeral Codefresh testing tools before being deployed.
The decision to make a managed service available around Helm comes on the heels of Codefresh’s move to incorporate Helm into its continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) platform. Previously, the company launched a managed container registry, which Garfield now says hosts more than 3 million container images.
Garfield says Helm is gaining in popularity as an alternative to manually configuring Docker files or using the Docker Compose tool created by Docker Inc. because it reduces the complexity associated with building and deploying multiple microservices in concert with one another.
The Helm repository is based on the open source ChartMuseum project. Garfield says Codefresh is committed to making ongoing contribution to the upstream project.
Helm Repositories is the latest in an ongoing wave of services that lift the weight of managing a DevOps environment for managing container pipelines off the shoulders of an internal IT team. By providing the mechanisms needed to deploy, for example, repositories and registries, providers of managed services such as Codefresh contend they make more internal IT resources available for application development and management—at a time when microservices are making applications more challenging to build, test and maintain.
Many IT organizations don’t have the infrastructure or expertise required available to set up the tooling needed to manage microservices. A managed service removes that issue in a way that, in many cases, also enables the developers to take more responsibility for the ongoing management of those services.
It’s not clear yet to what degree a shift to microservices will drive more organizations to rely on managed services. The number of managed service providers (MSPs) with microservices expertise is still relatively small. In fact, most of the managed services focused on application development these days are being provided directly by vendors. However, as organizations become more invested in microservices, the more they look to MSPs to centrally manage all the tooling needed for them to build applications. Historically, IT organizations have always preferred to limit the number of services providers being engaged as much as possible.
In the meantime, the rise of Kubernetes as the dominant platform on which containers are being deployed is likely to force the issue. Many internal IT organizations have a fierce amount of pride in their ability to cost-effectively manage IT. There are security and intellectual property concerns as well. But it’s also apparent that more organizations than ever in the age of the cloud are comfortable with external services providers. The issue now is determining what’s the right mix of internal and external services to rely on.