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The Little Story How Helm Was Born

Helm is one year old!

Helm was born on October 15th, 2015 and quite a journey for Helm has been there since then.

Let me tell my story how the Helm project was born from my personal experience and involvement.

It all started at Deis off-site in October 2015, where we had the internal Hackathon. I just started working for Deis only few weeks ago and was happy finally to meet the brains behind Deis PaaS project.

Let's skip the boring part and jump straight to Hackathon. :)


So at Hackathon we were told to assemble small teams of 2-4 guys, I was siting next to Matt Butcher and Jack Francis for the whole day already, so we looked to each other and we said OK, let's make a team.

We started to discuss what we should work on? I was working on Kube-Solo prototype with xhyve (it is built on top of Hypervisor.framework) and showed that to guys, Jack had just been working on some Node.js project and Matt on Glide. So we got puzzled, we all had nice ideas, what we should make from them, and then it became clear we need a Package manager for Kubernetes, as there is no so easy way to install a set of Kubernetes manifests in one go.

Hmm, also would be nice to share them between team members or community, and ideas just started to bump to our heads.

So for the next 1.5 days we had a fun off white-boarding our ideas, and making some prototypes. Matt wrote the client kph which will interact with Jack's written package management server k8space, I worked on the first chart.

Also we put together a design document which looks really similar to today's Helm.

I was testing all that stuff on my Mac with the Kube-Solo App prototype help which allowed to boot CoreOS VM with Kubernetes in a less than a minute, as no VirtualBox or any other virtualisation software was needed.

We had real fun working on soon to be named Helm The Package Manager for Kubernetes.

And also we needed a tool for Deis Workflow (at the time it had a name Deis v2) for an easy install on to Kubernetes, and Helm looked as right tool for it, and of course it was mentioned at project presentation.

The day after

So October 14th was the day to present our project, and for our big surprise we WON!!! It was WOW, we did it, what's next.

Next morning Gabe Monroy Deis CTO brings us for a coffee (ah Boulder has so many nice coffee shops) and tells us that our Hackathon project has been approved by the leadership team and it will become the real Deis project. You should seen our eyes then hehe.

So next of course was to pick the right name for the project, which end up as Helm (a tiller or wheel for steering a ship or boat). Also the server side was ditched (it is back in Helm v2 as Tiller), Homebrew git repository model was picked to store charts for an easy charts sharing and etc.

The small team was formed with Matt Butcher leading it, and guys started to work very hard. And we had something to show at the first KubeCon. :)


And today Helm is a part of Kubernetes project, recently Helm v2 alpha 5 was released, and there is big community behind it, which makes me proud to be involved (even I did not do real programming there) in such project.

And Helm of course is used to install Deis Workflow PaaS as intended to be and many other projects uses it too.

Let Helm guide you through the Kubernetes ocean of containers :)

This story is written by me, untouched by any editor and came with the love from my heart.

Also you must read the blog post Happy 1st Birthday Helm written by Matt Butcher.

Rimantas (Rimas) Mocevicius

Cloud Native, Kubernetes, Co-founder of Helm, CKA, kubectl: Command-Line Kubernetes in a Nutshell and CoreOS Essentials books author, Kubernaut at JFrog

Vilnius, Lithuaniahttps://rimusz.net