ArgoCD: GitOps Made Easy — Part 1

8grams
4 min readMay 6, 2023
ArgoCD

Introduction

GitOps is a modern approach to infrastructure and application management, which revolves around using Git as the single source of truth for declarative infrastructure and application code. Stemming from the concept of Infrastructure as Code (IaaC), GitOps addresses some of the challenges faced by IaaC practitioners while offering additional benefits.

This methodology has gained significant traction in recent years, thanks in part to the rise of containerization, Kubernetes, and the ever-growing need for reliable and scalable infrastructure management.

History

The term GitOps was coined by Weaveworks in 2017, building upon the ideas of continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment (CI/CD). GitOps offers several advantages over traditional IaaC, including:

  • Improved collaboration: GitOps allows multiple team members to collaborate effectively by using Git for version control, change tracking, and history. This enables better coordination and transparency across teams.
  • Enhanced security: GitOps leverages the security features of Git, such as access control and signed commits, to ensure that only authorized changes are applied to the infrastructure.
  • Increased reliability: GitOps promotes declarative configurations and automated processes, reducing the risk of human error and ensuring consistency between environments.
  • Faster recovery: GitOps enables faster recovery from failures by providing a clear history of changes and allowing for easy rollback to a previous state.

How it works

GitOps elevates Infrastructure as Code (IaaC) by addressing challenges often faced by IaaC practitioners. For example, consider these scenarios:

  • Sharing your configuration code with teammates or external collaborators.
  • Multiple individuals owning the configuration code, with one person making changes and executing them without informing others.

In addressing the challenges faced by IaaC practitioners, GitOps streamlines the management of configuration code by adhering to a set of principles:

  • Consolidate all configuration code in a single location.
  • Track the consolidated configuration code in a Git repository.
  • Disallow direct changes and execution of configurations. Instead, commit and push all changes to the Git repository.

With GitOps, a tool continuously scans the Git repository for changes to the configuration code. When an update is detected, the tool automatically executes the new configuration.

Goals

The primary goal of GitOps is to ensure that the current infrastructure aligns with the state defined in your configuration code’s Git repository. This approach eliminates inconsistencies between the running infrastructure and the configuration code. Essentially, GitOps positions the Git repository as the single source of truth for your infrastructure.

Furthermore, GitOps enables you to maintain a detailed record of infrastructure changes and the individuals responsible for making those changes.

Core Principles

The core principles of GitOps revolve around the idea of using Git as the single source of truth for managing infrastructure and application code. By leveraging Git’s robust version control, collaboration, and history tracking features, GitOps ensures a consistent, transparent, and auditable infrastructure management process. The four core principles of GitOps are:

  1. Declarative Infrastructure and Applications: In GitOps, the desired state of the infrastructure and applications is expressed using declarative language (e.g., YAML files for Kubernetes). This approach allows for a more readable and maintainable codebase while minimizing the risk of human error. Declarative configurations specify the desired outcome, rather than listing the steps to achieve it, which simplifies the management process and makes it easier to reason about the system’s state.
  2. Version Control: GitOps relies on Git as the version control system to store, track, and manage changes to the infrastructure and application code. By using Git, GitOps enables teams to collaborate efficiently, maintain a clear change history, and easily revert or roll back changes when necessary. Version control also provides an audit trail, helping teams identify who made changes and when, which is crucial for security and compliance.
  3. Automated Synchronization and Convergence: GitOps requires the use of an automated tool or process to continuously monitor the Git repository for changes and ensure the running infrastructure converges to the desired state defined in the repository. This principle promotes consistency and reduces the risk of drift between the declared state in the repository and the actual state of the running infrastructure. Any discrepancies are detected and corrected automatically, ensuring the system’s resilience and stability.
  4. Immutable Infrastructure and Observability: GitOps promotes the concept of immutable infrastructure, where infrastructure components are replaced rather than updated in-place. This approach minimizes the risk of configuration drift, enhances security, and simplifies troubleshooting. Additionally, GitOps emphasizes the importance of observability, making it easy to monitor and visualize the state of the infrastructure and applications, as well as the synchronization status between the Git repository and the running environment. This enables teams to quickly detect and resolve issues, ensuring the overall reliability of the system.

By adhering to these core principles, GitOps provides a structured and efficient approach to managing infrastructure and application code. This results in improved collaboration, enhanced security, increased reliability, and faster recovery times, making GitOps an ideal choice for modern, cloud-native environments.

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8grams

We are a DevOps Consulting Firm with a mission to empower businesses with modern DevOps practices and technologies