Smooth sailing

CNCF’s new incubating project: Helm simplifies Kubernetes’ stormy seas

Sarah Schlothauer
© Shutterstock / Vasilyev Alexandr

Helm is joining the ranks of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s incubating projects! Welcome the new member to the incubation team and find out what makes Helm so popular with Kubernetes users.

What’s hatching? On June 1, 2018 the Cloud Native Computing Foundation voted in Helm as their next incubation-level hosted project. Previously, Helm was a sub-project under Kubernetes and it was quite popular with their userbase. According to the Kubernetes Application Survey, an impressive 64% of surveyed Kubernetes users reported that they used Helm. Helm was decisively the most used Kubernetes app management tool, so it only makes sense to give Helm the home it needs to flourish so it can continue to be a developer favorite.

Behind the wheel: What is Helm?

So, what exactly does Helm do? Take the words straight from the source: “Helm helps you manage Kubernetes applications — Helm Charts helps you define, install, and upgrade even the most complex Kubernetes application. Charts are easy to create, version, share, and publish — so start using Helm and stop the copy-and-paste madness.”

Helm keeps things simple, and we love simple almost as much as we love open source! It manages complexity with its charts, has pain-free updates, is easy to share to public and private servers, and users can rollback to any previous version of an update.

Charts are easily stored on a disk and can be fetched from repos. Ease of use is the name of the game, and Helm makes it easy to run services and apps inside Kubernetes. Using Helm, you’ll never be alone in troubled waters: it is supported and built by over 250 developers. The usage is charts is what makes Helm such a worthy tool. The charts are a collection of files that are grouped together into a searchable repo. Helm is a slick little helper that makes Kubernetes easier to run.

SEE ALSO: Kubernetes’ success confirmed: The love affair continues

The main features that CNCF listed about their new acquisition:

  • Find and use popular software packaged as Kubernetes charts
  • Share applications as Kubernetes charts
  • Create reproducible builds of your Kubernetes applications
  • Intelligently manage Kubernetes manifest files
  • Manage releases of Helm packages

Let the boasting begin! CNCF lists some milestones that prove Helm is worth keeping on the radar.

  • 330 contributors
  • 5,531 GitHub stars
  • 51 releases
  • 4,186 commits
  • 1,935 forks

The new captains: What is CNCF?

CNCF is, according to their website, “an open source software foundation dedicated to making cloud native computing universal and sustainable”. Helm will feel right at home alongside other incubating projects such as Prometheus,, Fluentd, and containerd. CNCF helps projects grow and maintain their velocity. It has a well-founded history in hosting projects with high developer interest and plenty of activity.

Besides what happens behind the computer screen, CNCF also has over 230 members, meetup groups, and a vast end user community including some big name companies that are adopting cloud technology (including Twitter, Pinterest, and ebay).

Previously, Kubernetes became the first CNCF project to graduate. The CNCF Technical Oversight Committee voted that Kubernetes is mature and resilient enough to manage containers for any company: no matter how big they are or how complex their needs may be. Maybe one day we will see Helm in a graduation gown walking down the aisle. Only time will tell!

SEE ALSO: Kubernetes: the “distributed” Linux of the cloud

Looking for something a bit more mature? Besides incubating projects, CNCF also hosts sandbox and graduated projects. If you’re looking to keep your eye on the world of open source, CNCF is a great place to bookmark and check out what projects they adopt next.

Ready to get on board and behind the wheel? Check out GitHub and get started with the Helm Quick Start guide.

Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer

All Posts by Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer is the editor for She received her Bachelor's degree from Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey. She currently lives in Frankfurt, Germany with her husband and cat where she enjoys reading, writing, and medieval reenactment. She is also the editor for Conditio Humana, an online magazine about ethics, AI, and technology.

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happy wheels
happy wheels
2 years ago

Very insightful and thought-provoking.