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Arnold is a generic tool to deploy dockerized applications to Kubernetes with Ansible. It was built by France Université Numérique to ease its infrastructure deployment.


Arnold has been designed as a suite of Ansible playbooks and Kubernetes object definition templates (Jinja2). We take advantage of the k8s Ansible modules to make Ansible talk with Kubernetes.


  • Docker: we use docker to develop and run Arnold. This is a strict requirement to use this project.
  • Kubectl: This CLI is used to communicate with the running Kubernetes instance you will use.
  • curl is required by Arnold's CLI.


  • k3d: This tool is used to setup and run a lightweight Kubernetes cluster, in order to have a local environment (it is required to complete below's quickstart instructions to avoid depending on an existing Kubernetes cluster).
  • gnupg to encrypt Ansible vaults passwords and collaborate with your team.

Quick start for Arnold's users

Install Arnold

Arnold is a shell script that can be downloaded from its repository and installed somewhere in your $PATH. In the following, we choose to install it in the user space using the ${HOME}/.local/bin directory:

# Download & install Arnold script somewhere in your ${PATH}
$ mkdir -p ${HOME}/.local/bin/ && \
    curl > ${HOME}/.local/bin/arnold && \
    chmod +x ${HOME}/.local/bin/arnold

If the ${HOME}/.local/bin directory is not in your ${PATH}, you can add it by editing your shell configuration file (${HOME}/.bashrc or ${HOME}/.zshrc) and copy/paste the following export command:

# Add this to your shell configuration (if not already done)
export PATH="${HOME}/.local/bin:${PATH}"

Bootstrap a project

Arnold provides a command to setup a new project from scratch. In the following example, we consider that you want to create a namespace for the hd-inc customer (aka Happy Days Incorporated) in a development environment (you will find more details on the customer and environment concepts in the documentation).

# Create the project's directory
$ mkdir myproject && cd myproject
$ arnold -c hd-inc -e development setup

Your project's tree should look like a base Ansible's project:

└── group_vars
    ├── common
    └── customer
        └── hd-inc
            ├── development
            │   ├── main.yml
            │   └── secrets
            │       └── databases.vault.yml
            └── main.yml

6 directories, 3 files

We will now edit our customer definition file to describe which application we want to deploy:

# group_vars/customer/hd-inc/main.yml
# Variables specific to the hd-inc customer
project_display_name: "Happy Days Incorporated ({{ env_type }})"
project_description: "HD-Inc applications in {{ env_type }} environment."

  - name: hello

Now, let's deploy this project! You can either do it on an existing Kubernetes cluster, or on a local environment on your workstation.

  • To deploy on an existing Kubernetes cluster, please refer to Authenticating against an existing cluster

  • To deploy on a local environment, assuming you have the k3d dependency installed, you just have to run make cluster. After a while, a local k3d cluster should be up and running.

After that, you can run the following command to deploy your application:

The bootstrap command will ask your confirmation to create a new namespace, please proceed by pressing the enter key from your keyboard.

$ arnold -c hd-inc -e development bootstrap

And voilà! You have deployed your first application in a k8s project using Arnold 🎉

We can check that our pods are running using the kubectl CLI:

# List created pods
$ kubectl get pods -n development-hd-inc

The output should look like the following:

NAME                     READY     STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
redirect-nginx-1-qrmrd   1/1       Running   0          4m

Our pod is running. Yata!

Arnold offers many more refinements and possibilities. We invite you to read our documentation to explore Arnold's features and dig deeper in its usage.

Quick start for Arnold's developers

Build Arnold

First things first: you'll need to clone this repository to start playing with Arnold:

$ cd path/to/working/directory
$ git clone

As we heavily rely on Ansible and Kubernetes, we've cooked a Docker container image that bundles Ansible and Arnold's playbooks (you have already installed Docker on your machine right?). You can build this image with a little helper we provide:

$ cd arnold
$ make build && make build-dev

If everything goes well, you must have built Arnold's Docker images. You can check their availability via:

$ docker images arnold
REPOSITORY          TAG                 IMAGE ID            CREATED             SIZE
arnold              5.21.2              0d37702fd3e8        4 days ago          322MB
arnold              5.21.2-dev          cd799128fbf6        4 days ago          370MB

While the development image (noted 5.21.2-dev in this build) contains development tools (quality checks as linters and test runners), the production image (noted 5.21.2 in this build) only contains Ansible and Arnold's playbooks.

Run a local Kubernetes cluster

You'll need to ensure that you have Kubernetes instance that will be used to deploy your services. For development or testing purpose, we recommend you to use the make cluster command to start a local minimalist cluster to work with (don't do it now, please read the next paragraph first).

Before starting the cluster, make sure that your system meets the following requirements:

  1. To run ElasticSearch (you'll probably have an application that will use it), you will need to ensure that your kernel's vm.max_map_count parameter is at least 262144:
$ sudo sysctl -w vm/max_map_count=262144

Now that you've configured your system, you can safely start a cluster via:

$ make cluster


Now that you have a working Kubernetes cluster, let's have fun (sic!) by creating a project for a customer in a particular environment with the arnold script:

# Activate development environment
$ source bin/activate

# Run the bootstrap command for the eugene customer in development environment
$ bin/arnold -c eugene -e development -a hello bootstrap

Tadaaa! Arnold has created a new Kubernetes namespace called eugene-development with the hello application up and running. You can check this using the oc CLI:

# List namespaces
$ kubectl get namespace

# Get created pods
$ kubectl get pods -n eugene-development

Going further

By following this quick start guide, you only scratched the surface of Arnold's capabilities. We invite you to read the project's documentation (see below), to know more about Arnold's core features such as:

  • multiple client/environment configurations support
  • blue/green deployment strategy
  • application discovery (add your own applications easily)
  • ...


The full documentation of the project is available in this repository (see ./docs) (and also in readthedocs soon).


Please, see the CONTRIBUTING file.

Contributor Code of Conduct

Please note that this project is released with a Contributor Code of Conduct. By participating in this project you agree to abide by its terms. See CODE_OF_CONDUCT file.


The code in this repository is licensed under the MIT license terms unless otherwise noted.

Please see LICENSE for details.