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Terraform code and scripts for deploying Helm Server on a Kubernetes cluster.
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Tiller Module

This repo contains a Module for deploying Tiller (the server component of Helm) on Kubernetes clusters with Terraform. This repo is a part of the Gruntwork Infrastructure as Code Library, a collection of reusable, battle-tested, production ready infrastructure code. Read the Gruntwork Philosophy document to learn more about how Gruntwork builds production grade infrastructure code.

Quickstart Guide

The general idea is to:

  1. Deploy a Kubernetes cluster. You can use one of the following:
  2. Setup a kubectl config context that is configured to authenticate to the deployed cluster.
  3. Install the necessary prerequisites tools:
  4. Provision a Namespace and ServiceAccount to house the Tiller instance.
  5. Deploy Tiller.

You can checkout the k8s-tiller-minikube example documentation for detailed instructions on deploying against minikube.

What is in this repo

This repo provides a Gruntwork IaC Package and has the following folder structure:

  • root: The root folder contains an example of how to deploy Tiller using kubergrunt, which implements all the logic for deploying Tiller with all the security best practices.

  • modules: This folder contains the main implementation code for this Module, broken down into multiple standalone Submodules.

    The primary module is:

    • k8s-tiller: Deploy Tiller with all the security features turned on. This includes using Secrets for storing state and enabling TLS verification.

    The deployed Tiller requires TLS certificate key pairs to operate. Additionally, clients will each need to their own TLS certificate key pairs to authenticate to the deployed Tiller instance. This is based on kubergrunt model of deploying helm.

    There are also several supporting modules that help with setting up the deployment:

    • k8s-namespace: Provision a Kubernetes Namespace with a default set of RBAC roles.
    • k8s-namespace-roles: Provision a default set of RBAC roles to use in a Namespace.
    • k8s-service-account: Provision a Kubernetes ServiceAccount.
    • k8s-tiller-tls-certs: Generate a TLS Certificate Authority (CA) and using that, generate signed TLS certificate key pairs that can be used for TLS verification of Tiller. The certs are managed on the cluster using Kubernetes Secrets. NOTE: This module uses the tls provider, which means the generated certificate key pairs are stored in plain text in the Terraform state file. If you are sensitive to secrets in Terraform state, consider using kubergrunt for TLS management.
    • k8s-helm-client-tls-certs: Generate a signed TLS certificate key pair from a previously generated CA certificate key pair. This TLS key pair can be used to authenticate a helm client to access a deployed Tiller instance. NOTE: This module uses the tls provider, which means the generated certificate key pairs are stored in plain text in the Terraform state file. If you are sensitive to secrets in Terraform state, consider using kubergrunt for TLS management.
  • examples: This folder contains examples of how to use the Submodules.

  • test: Automated tests for the Submodules and examples.

What is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is an open source container management system for deploying, scaling, and managing containerized applications. Kubernetes is built by Google based on their internal proprietary container management systems (Borg and Omega). Kubernetes provides a cloud agnostic platform to deploy your containerized applications with built in support for common operational tasks such as replication, autoscaling, self-healing, and rolling deployments.

You can learn more about Kubernetes from the official documentation.

What is Helm?

Helm is a package and module manager for Kubernetes that allows you to define, install, and manage Kubernetes applications as reusable packages called Charts. Helm provides support for official charts in their repository that contains various applications such as Jenkins, MySQL, and Consul to name a few. Gruntwork uses Helm under the hood for the Kubernetes modules in this package.

For a background on Helm and its security model, check out our Helm Guide document.

What's a Module?

A Module is a canonical, reusable, best-practices definition for how to run a single piece of infrastructure, such as a database or server cluster. Each Module is written using a combination of Terraform and scripts (mostly bash) and include automated tests, documentation, and examples. It is maintained both by the open source community and companies that provide commercial support.

Instead of figuring out the details of how to run a piece of infrastructure from scratch, you can reuse existing code that has been proven in production. And instead of maintaining all that infrastructure code yourself, you can leverage the work of the Module community to pick up infrastructure improvements through a version number bump.

Who maintains this Module?

This Module and its Submodules are maintained by Gruntwork. If you are looking for help or commercial support, send an email to

Gruntwork can help with:

  • Setup, customization, and support for this Module.
  • Modules and submodules for other types of infrastructure in major cloud providers, such as VPCs, Docker clusters, databases, and continuous integration.
  • Modules and Submodules that meet compliance requirements, such as HIPAA.
  • Consulting & Training on AWS, GCP, Terraform, and DevOps.

How do I contribute to this Module?

Contributions are very welcome! Check out the Contribution Guidelines for instructions.

How is this Module versioned?

This Module follows the principles of Semantic Versioning. You can find each new release, along with the changelog, in the Releases Page.

During initial development, the major version will be 0 (e.g., 0.x.y), which indicates the code does not yet have a stable API. Once we hit 1.0.0, we will make every effort to maintain a backwards compatible API and use the MAJOR, MINOR, and PATCH versions on each release to indicate any incompatibilities.


Please see LICENSE for how the code in this repo is licensed.

Copyright © 2019 Gruntwork, Inc.

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