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Streamline Kubernetes Workflows with Cloudsmith

May 30 2024/kubernetes/3 min read
Use Cloudsmith to store your Helm charts alongside your Docker images thanks to Cloudsmith’s support for multi-format repositories. This gives you a unified platform for all your K8s needs, ensuring all your dependencies are stored, managed, and delivered from a single, secure source. 

Among the 30+ package formats that Cloudsmith supports, Helm Charts are particularly popular. Cloudsmith serves millions of Helm charts annually, with the number of customers using Cloudsmith as a Helm repository growing every month. These users leverage our support of Helm alongside our container registry to deploy and manage their Kubernetes clusters. 

Given Cloudsmith’s universal package support, a common question we encounter is whether our container registries can host Helm Charts. This is an insightful question and one we wanted to provide some background on along with our answer. 

The short answer is, you can use Cloudsmith to store your Helm charts alongside your Docker images thanks to Cloudsmith’s support for multi-format repositories. This gives you a unified platform for all your K8s needs, ensuring all your dependencies are stored, managed, and delivered from a single, secure source.  

Now a bit more on the specifics. 

Before OCI there was…?

With the release of Helm v3.8.0, storing Helm Charts in OCI registries became the default (before v3.8.0, it was experimental). Kubernetes clusters rely on a container registry to source images, so it made sense that developers would be interested in a single place to store Helm Charts alongside container images. The Open Container Initiative Distribution Specification defines an API protocol to facilitate and standardize the distribution of content, and it’s designed to be agnostic of content types. 

Previous to Helm v3.8.0, Helm supported Chart Repositories. Now, if you were a Kubernetes user, you needed to set up a container registry and a Chart Repository to manage your clusters fully. Two things to manage and maintain, and of course - less is always more! 

Cloudsmith’s Helm Repository

Cloudsmith added support for Helm Charts in 2019, and we have built on and enriched that support over the years. Cloudsmith offers Chart Repositories for both public and private repositories. Some of the key features of Cloudsmith’s support for Helm include:

  • Provenance: Cloudsmith fully supports both the verification and generation of Helm provenance files. 
  • Proxying and caching from upstream repositories: You can configure upstream Helm repositories that you wish to use for charts that are not available in your Cloudsmith repository. In addition, you can also choose to cache any requested charts for future use.
  • License scanning: For public Helm charts, Cloudsmith will scan for licenses, and then lets you build policies on what licenses are allowed for use within your organization. 

Check out Cloudsmith’s help documentation to learn more about Cloudsmith’s support of Helm. And because Cloudsmith’s repositories are fully multi-format, you can store your Helm charts and container images in the same Cloudsmith repository. One location to rule them all (so to speak). 

Migrating Helm Charts into Cloudsmith

So what does it mean for users that Cloudsmith is a Chart Repository for Helm charts? The great news is, nothing! Cloudsmith is a fully featured Helm repository, we simply don’t use OCI as the storage mechanism under the hood.

To migrate Helm Charts to Cloudsmith from an OCI registry, it’s as simple as using helm pull, and then pushing the chart to a Cloudsmith repository!

Let's take a look at this in action: 

Suppose we have a Helm Chart in an OCI registry (we can use Nginx as an example here). We can pull this chart with helm pull as follows:

Ok, great. we have pulled this chart successfully. Now it really is as simple as pushing this Chart to Cloudsmith using the Cloudsmith CLI and the cloudsmith push command:


We can then see the Helm Chart in our Cloudsmith repository, and of course any other artifacts we have there (Multi-Format goodness, yay!): 

How Cloudsmith helps you streamline K8s workflows

Because Cloudsmith is a universal artifact management solution with multi-format repository support, you can use Cloudsmith to store your container images and Helm Charts alongside each other in one repository, streamlining your K8s workflow with a single source to secure, host and distribute the workflow dependencies. 

So what are you waiting for? Join the growing number of customers who use Cloudsmith to make their Kubernetes lives easier :-) 

Happy Clustering! 

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