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Rancher Charts

This repository contains Helm charts served by Rancher Apps & Marketplace.

New Out Of Band Release Process

Starting on 17/May/2024.

This is only valid for release-v2.* branches. Since this implementation, all teams may release each chart when they want.

Overview of the process:
  1. Assuming you have a chart ready and merged on dev-v2.* branch.
  2. On your local machine: fetch, pull and checkout to release-v2.*
  3. Create a new branch from release-v2.*
  4. Execute make forward-port
  5. Clear your release.yaml file, leave only your chart that will be released
  6. Add, Commit and push your changes to your forked repository

Attention: If you have a CRD that must be released with the chart, you should repeat Step 4. until Step 6. for the CRD chart.

  1. Create a Pull Request from your forked repository to rancher/charts pointing to release-v2.*
How to use forward-port:


make forward-port CHART=<your_chart> VERSION=<version> BRANCH=<branch_to_pull_from> UPSTREAM=<git_remote>

Script Arguments Reference:

  • CHART=Chart name, exactly the same as in /charts and /assets folder
  • VERSION=The version you want to release, the same one you would write into release.yaml
  • BRANCH=The branch where the ready chart is merged in the remote repository
  • UPSTREAM=The git remote name where the chart is present


make forward-port CHART=rancher-istio VERSION=103.3.0+up1.21.1 BRANCH=dev-v2.8 UPSTREAM=upstream

In this case, we are at branch release-v2.8, we have a new version of Istio at dev-v2.8.

The script will get all necessary changes for assets, charts, release.yaml and index.yaml and handle them all automatically.

The changes will be pulled from the remote repository, the UPSTREAM variable tells which git remote the script must pull from, in my case I renamed it to upstream, the default value is origin.

❯ git remote -v
fork (fetch)
fork (push)
upstream (fetch)
upstream (push)

New Assets Lifecycle

Starting on 17/May/2024 there is a new asset lifecycle in place.

We will keep only the relevant assets in the corresponding branch.

This means a cycle of always 3 active branches, with each branch always holding up to 2 previous versions before it.

In a nutshell:

  • release-v2.7 hold chart versions for Rancher: (2.5; 2.6; 2.7)
  • release-v2.8 hold chart versions for Rancher: (2.6; 2.7; 2.8)
  • release-v2.9 hold chart versions for Rancher: (2.7; 2.8; 2.9)

Assets Lifecycle

New Release Process Workflow

Starting on 17/May/2024 there is a new workflow for developing and releasing charts in place.

Release Workflow

Main changes from the previous workflow:

  • The development workflow is still the same however QA should test Charts from dev-v2.X branches now.
  • Instead of the Mapps team releasing Charts in Bataches and waiting for Chart development to be ready, now each team owner is responsible for the release process using make forward-port.
  • Each Chart owner must be aware of Rancher release dates and must coordinate with QA in order to have the Charts released before the Rancher release happens.


All issues must be created in the rancher/rancher repository.


  • dev-2.X branches contain charts that are under active development, to be released in an upcoming Rancher release.
  • release-v2.X branches contain charts that have already been developed, tested, and released on an existing Rancher release.

Making Changes

Since this repository uses rancher/charts-build-scripts, making changes to this repository involves three steps:

  1. Adding or modifying an existing Package tracked in the packages/ directory. Usually involves make prepare, make patch, and make clean.
  2. Running make charts to automatically generate assets used to serve a Helm repository (charts/, assets/, and index.yaml) based on the contents of packages/.
  3. [CI] Running make validate to ensure that all generated assets are up-to-date and ready to be merged.

Adding Net-New dependencies to dev-2.x

A new build artifact was introduced in v2.7.0 of Rancher, titled rancher-image-origins.txt, which denotes the source code repository (github repository) of each image used in Charts and System-Charts.

When adding new dependencies to dev-2.7+, a PR must first be raised and merged in the Rancher repository with the required changes to the pkg/image/origins.go file.

This ensures that the artifact is up-to-date with the latest images, and will prevent build failures within Rancher when attempting to generate the artifact. Changes to this file are not required when updating versions of existing dependencies.

Versioning Charts

Two kinds of charts exist in this repository. For each type the versioning is different.

  • upstream charts
  • local charts.
Upstream Charts

In this repository, all packages specify the version field in the package.yaml.

The upstream charts follow this versioning: 1.0.#+upX.Y.Z

X.Y.Z is the upstream chart's major.minor.patch

The 1.0.# versioning scheme roughly corresponds to the following rules (with exceptions):

  • Major Version: represents the Rancher minor version these charts are being released to.
    • Anything less than 100: Rancher 2.5
    • 100: Rancher 2.6
    • 101 and 102: Rancher 2.7
    • 103: Rancher 2.8
    • 104: Rancher 2.9
    • etc.
  • Minor Version: represents a release line of a given chart within a Rancher minor version.
  • Patch Version: represents a patch to a given release line of a chart within a Rancher minor version.

For more information on how package versioning works, please see docs/

Local Charts
  • For local charts, we don't follow any complex versioning scheme. Only one semver, versioning scheme x.x.x is being followed.

Rancher Version Annotations

In addition to modifying the chart version, the annotation is required for user-facing charts that show up in Rancher UI; there is no need to add the annotation to CRD charts or internal charts (like fleet).

General guidelines when releasing a new version of a user-facing chart:

  1. Ensure the chart has the annotation with a lower and upper bound, such as >= 2.6.0-0 < 2.7.0-0.

    • This indicates that a fresh install of the chart should be allowed in any version of Rancher over 2.6.0-0 and below 2.7.0-0 line.

    • It should be freshly installable in 2.6.0+, but should not be freshly installable in Rancher 2.7.0+. The lower bound is particularly useful for charts that will not work in an older version of Rancher, e.g. >= 2.6.2-0 < 2.7.0-0 indicates that this chart should only be freshly installable in Rancher 2.6.2+, but should not be freshly installable in Rancher 2.7.0+.

    • If you do this, it is also recommended that you modify the previously released chart to have < 2.6.2-0. For instructions on how to modify existing charts, see docs/

  2. Ensure the chart has the annotation with a lower and upper bound, such as >= 1.16.0-0 < 1.25.0-0.

    • This indicates that a fresh install of the chart should be allowed in a cluster with any version of Kubernetes over 1.16.0 and below 1.25.0 line. It should be freshly installable in a 1.16.0+ cluster, but should not be freshly installable in 1.25.0+.

Versioning FAQ

  1. Do we directly backport charts to previous Rancher minor versions (e.g. make 100.x.x available in Rancher 2.5)?

    • No, we do not. If a fix needs to go to both Rancher 2.5 and v2.6, we just release a new chart in each branch. Then, we forward-port the one released in the release-v2.5 branch to release-v2.6.

    • If a fix that went into Rancher 2.6 needs to be backported to Rancher 2.5, it will be the developer's responsibility to bump the chart version in dev-v2.5, copy back the changes, and release a new chart following the Rancher 2.5 versioning scheme to release-v2.5.

  2. If Rancher 2.5 releases Monitoring 14.5.100 and 16.6.0 and Rancher 2.6 releases Monitoring 100.0.0+up14.5.100 and 100.0.1+up16.6.0, how do we prevent users from "downgrading" from 16.6.0 to 100.0.0+up14.5.100 on a helm upgrade after upgrading Rancher minor versions?

    • Currently, this is unavoidable. There is an expectation that users should look at the upstream annotation on the chart version (e.g. +upX.Y.Z), read the Rancher minor version release notes, or consult the chart's or before performing an upgrade on their applications after migrating to a new Rancher minor version.

    • We are still looking for a better way to mitigate this kind of risk.

  3. For Rancher version annotations, why don't we need to add the lower bound all the time?

    • Each Rancher minor version has its dedicated chart release branch (e.g. release-v2.5, release-v2.6, etc.), so a chart designed for Rancher 2.6.x will never be available or show up in Rancher 2.5.x; therefore, we do not need to worry about setting a lower bound of > 2.5.99-0 on all charts.

Supporting Images in Airgap

Currently, the scripts used to generate the rancher-images.txt (used for mirroring a private registry in a air-gapped Rancher setup) rely on values.yaml files in charts that nest all image repository and tags used by the Helm chart under repository and tag fields.

For example:

image: org/repo:v0.0.0 # will not be picked up

    # will be picked up, even though it is nested under*
    repository: org/repo
    tag: v0.0.0
    os: windows # optional, takes in a comma-delimited list of supported OSs. By default, the OS is assumed to be "linux" but you can specify "windows" or "linux,windows" as well.

Therefore, any charts that are committed into this repository must nest references to Docker images in this format within each chart's values.yaml; if an upstream chart you are referencing does not follow this format, it is recommended that you refactor the chart's values.yaml to look like this:

    repository: rancher/mirrored-jimmidyson-configmap-reload
    tag: v0.4.0
    repository: rancher/mirrored-fluent-fluent-bit
    tag: 1.7.9
    repository: rancher/mirrored-fluent-fluent-bit
    tag: 1.7.9-debug
    repository: rancher/mirrored-banzaicloud-fluentd
    tag: v1.12.4-alpine-1
    os: "windows"
    repository: rancher/fluent-bit
    tag: 1.7.4

Pull Request rules

Please create your Pull Request title following this rule:

[dev-v2.X] <chart> <version> <action>
[release-v2.X] <chart> <version> <action>

A working example:

[dev-v2.8] rancher-istio 103.2.0+up1.19.6 update
  • <chart>: The full name of the charts exactly how it is written under /charts folder
  • <version>: The full version of the chart, exactly how it is written under release.yaml
  • <action>: update; remove; add

What you should keep in mind for releasing charts:

  • Each Pull Request should only modify one chart with its dependencies.
  • Each chart version in release.yaml DOES NOT modify an already released chart. If so, stop and modify the versions so that it releases a net-new chart.
  • Each chart version in release.yaml IS exactly 1 more patch or minor version than the last released chart version. If not, stop and modify the versions so that it releases a net-new chart.
Chart.yaml and index.yaml
  • The index.yaml file has an entry for your new chart version.
  • The index.yaml entries for each chart matches the Chart.yaml for each chart.
  • Each chart has ALL required annotations
    • kube-version annotation
    • rancher-version annotation
    • permits-os annotation (indicates Windows and/or Linux)