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gitops is a way to do Kubernetes application delivery. It works by using Git as a single source of truth for Kubernetes resources. With Git at the center of your delivery pipelines, developers can make pull requests to accelerate and simplify application deployments and operations tasks to Kubernetes.

eksctl provides an easy way to set up gitops in an existing cluster with the eksctl enable repo command.

Installing Flux

Installing Flux on the cluster is the first step towards a gitops workflow. To install it, you need a Git repository and an existing EKS cluster. Then run the following command:

eksctl enable repo --cluster=<cluster_name> --region=<region> --git-url=<git_repo> --git-email=<git_user_email>

Or use a config file:

kind: ClusterConfig

  name: cluster-21
  region: eu-north-1

# other cluster config ...

    url: ""
    branch: master
    fluxPath: "flux/"
    user: "gitops"
    email: "<username>"
    namespace: "flux"
    withHelm: true
    source: app-dev
    revision: master
eksctl enable repo -f cluster-21.yaml

Note that, by default, eksctl enable repo installs Flux Helm Operator with Helm v3 support. To disable the installation of the Helm Operator, pass the flag --with-helm=false or set git.operator.withHelm to false.

Full example:

eksctl enable repo --cluster=cluster-1 --region=eu-west-2  --git-email=<username> --namespace=flux
[ℹ]  Generating manifests
[ℹ]  Cloning
Cloning into '/var/folders/zt/sh1tk7ts24sc6dybr5z9qtfh0000gn/T/eksctl-install-flux-clone-142184188'...
[ℹ]  Writing Flux manifests
[ℹ]  Applying manifests
[ℹ]  created "Namespace/flux"
[ℹ]  created "flux:Secret/flux-git-deploy"
[ℹ]  created "flux:Deployment.apps/memcached"
[ℹ]  created "flux:ServiceAccount/flux"
[ℹ]  created ""
[ℹ]  created ""
[ℹ]  created ""
[ℹ]  created "flux:Deployment.apps/flux"
[ℹ]  created "flux:Service/memcached"
[ℹ]  created "flux:Deployment.apps/flux-helm-operator"
[ℹ]  created "flux:ServiceAccount/flux-helm-operator"
[ℹ]  created ""
[ℹ]  created ""
[ℹ]  Waiting for Helm Operator to start
[ℹ]  Helm Operator started successfully
[ℹ]  Waiting for Flux to start
[ℹ]  Flux started successfully
[ℹ]  Committing and pushing manifests to
[master ec43024] Add Initial Flux configuration
 Author: Flux <>
14 files changed, 694 insertions(+)
Enumerating objects: 11, done.
Counting objects: 100% (11/11), done.
Delta compression using up to 4 threads
Compressing objects: 100% (6/6), done.
Writing objects: 100% (6/6), 2.09 KiB | 2.09 MiB/s, done.
Total 6 (delta 3), reused 0 (delta 0)
remote: Resolving deltas: 100% (3/3), completed with 3 local objects.
   5fe1eb8..ec43024  master -> master
[ℹ]  Flux will only operate properly once it has write-access to the Git repository
[ℹ]  please configure  so that the following Flux SSH public key has write access to it
ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAABAQDYYsPuHzo1L29u3zhr4uAOF29HNyMcS8zJmOTDNZC4EiIwa5BXgg/IBDKudxQ+NBJ7mknPlNv17cqo4ncEq1xiQidfaUawwx3xxtDkZWam5nCBMXEJwkr4VXx/6QQ9Z1QGXpaFwdoVRcY/kM4NaxM54pEh5m43yeqkcpRMKraE0EgbdqFNNARN8rIEHY/giDorCrXp7e6AbzBgZSvc/in7Ul9FQhJ6K4+7QuMFpJt3O/N8KDumoTG0e5ssJGp5L1ugIqhzqvbHdmHVfnXsEvq6cR1SJtYKi2GLCscypoF3XahfjK+xGV/92a1E7X+6fHXSq+bdOKfBc4Z3f9NBwz0v

At this point Flux and the Helm Operator should be installed in the specified cluster. The only thing left to do is to give Flux write access to the repository. Configure your repository to allow write access to that ssh key, for example, through the Deploy keys if it lives in GitHub.

$ kubectl get pods --namespace flux

CLI arguments for eksctl enable repo

Flag Default value Type Required Use
--cluster string required name of the EKS cluster
--region string required AWS region
--git-url string required SSH URL of the Git repository to be used for GitOps
--git-branch master string optional Git branch to be used for GitOps
--git-email string required Email to use as Git committer
--git-user Flux string optional Username to use as Git committer
--git-private-ssh-key-path string optional Optional path to the private SSH key to use with Git
--git-paths string optional Relative paths within the Git repo for Flux to locate Kubernetes manifests
--git-label flux string optional Git label to keep track of Flux's sync progress; this is equivalent to overriding --git-sync-tag and --git-notes-ref in Flux
--git-flux-subdir flux/ string optional Directory within the Git repository where to commit the Flux manifests
--namespace flux string optional Cluster namespace where to install Flux and the Helm Operator
--with-helm true boolean optional Install the Helm Operator
--commit-operator-manifests true boolean optional Commit and push Flux manifests to the Git repo on install
--read-only false boolean optional Configure Flux in read-only mode and create the deploy key in read-only mode (only for Github)
--additional-flux-args string optional Additional command line arguments for the Flux daemon
--additional-helm-operator-args string optional Additional command line arguments for the Helm Operator

Adding a workload

To deploy a new workload on the cluster using gitops just add a kubernetes manifest to the repository. After a few minutes you should see the resources appearing in the cluster.

Installing a Quickstart profile in your cluster

Configuring gitops can be done easily with eksctl. The command eksctl enable profile takes an existing EKS cluster and an empty repository and sets them up with gitops and a specified Quick Start profile. This means that with one command the cluster will have all the components provided by the Quick Start profile installed in the cluster and you can enjoy the advantages of gitops moving forward.

The basic command usage looks like this:

eksctl enable profile --cluster <cluster-name> --region <region> --git-url=<url_to_your_repo> --git-email=<your-email> app-dev
or with a config file (in this case taken from the examples directory):

eksctl enable profile --config-file=example/21-eks-quickstart-app-dev.yaml

This command will create a temporary clone of the specified repository and then it will follow these steps:

  1. add the component manifests of the Quick Start profile to your repository inside the base/ folder
  2. commit the Quick Start files and push the changes to the origin remote
  3. Flux will install the components from the base/ folder into your cluster


eksctl enable profile --cluster production-cluster --region eu-north-1 --git-email=<username> app-dev
Cloning into '/tmp/gitops-repos/flux-test-3'...
Resolving deltas: 100% (37/37), done.
[ℹ]  cloning repository "":master
Cloning into '/tmp/quickstart-365477450'...
Resolving deltas: 100% (53/53), done.
[ℹ]  processing template files in repository
[ℹ]  writing new manifests to "/tmp/gitops-repos/flux-test-3/base"
[master d0810f7] Add app-dev quickstart components
 Author: Flux <>
 27 files changed, 1207 insertions(+)
 create mode 100644 base/LICENSE
 create mode 100644 base/
 create mode 100644 base/amazon-cloudwatch/cloudwatch-agent-configmap.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/amazon-cloudwatch/cloudwatch-agent-daemonset.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/amazon-cloudwatch/cloudwatch-agent-rbac.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/amazon-cloudwatch/fluentd-configmap-cluster-info.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/amazon-cloudwatch/fluentd-configmap-fluentd-config.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/amazon-cloudwatch/fluentd-daemonset.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/amazon-cloudwatch/fluentd-rbac.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/demo/helm-release.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/kube-system/alb-ingress-controller-deployment.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/kube-system/alb-ingress-controller-rbac.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/kube-system/cluster-autoscaler-deployment.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/kube-system/cluster-autoscaler-rbac.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/kubernetes-dashboard/dashboard-metrics-scraper-deployment.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/kubernetes-dashboard/dashboard-metrics-scraper-service.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/kubernetes-dashboard/kubernetes-dashboard-configmap.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/kubernetes-dashboard/kubernetes-dashboard-deployment.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/kubernetes-dashboard/kubernetes-dashboard-rbac.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/kubernetes-dashboard/kubernetes-dashboard-secrets.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/kubernetes-dashboard/kubernetes-dashboard-service.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/monitoring/metrics-server.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/monitoring/prometheus-operator.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/namespaces/amazon-cloudwatch.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/namespaces/demo.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/namespaces/kubernetes-dashboard.yaml
 create mode 100644 base/namespaces/monitoring.yaml
Counting objects: 36, done.
Delta compression using up to 4 threads.
Compressing objects: 100% (27/27), done.
Writing objects: 100% (36/36), 11.17 KiB | 3.72 MiB/s, done.
Total 36 (delta 8), reused 27 (delta 8)
remote: Resolving deltas: 100% (8/8), done.
   0985830..d0810f7  master -> master

Flux will pick up the changes in the repository with the Quick Start components and deploy them to the cluster. After a couple of minutes the pods should appear in the cluster:

$ kubectl get pods --all-namespaces
NAMESPACE              NAME                                                      READY   STATUS                       RESTARTS   AGE
amazon-cloudwatch      cloudwatch-agent-qtdmc                                    1/1     Running                      0           4m28s
amazon-cloudwatch      fluentd-cloudwatch-4rwwr                                  1/1     Running                      0           4m28s
demo                   podinfo-75b8547f78-56dll                                  1/1     Running                      0          103s
flux                   flux-56b5664cdd-nfzx2                                     1/1     Running                      0          11m
flux                   flux-helm-operator-6bc7c85bb5-l2nzn                       1/1     Running                      0          11m
flux                   memcached-958f745c-dqllc                                  1/1     Running                      0          11m
kube-system            alb-ingress-controller-6b64bcbbd8-6l7kf                   1/1     Running                      0          4m28s
kube-system            aws-node-l49ct                                            1/1     Running                      0          14m
kube-system            cluster-autoscaler-5b8c96cd98-26z5f                       1/1     Running                      0          4m28s
kube-system            coredns-7d7755744b-4jkp6                                  1/1     Running                      0          21m
kube-system            coredns-7d7755744b-ls5d9                                  1/1     Running                      0          21m
kube-system            kube-proxy-wllff                                          1/1     Running                      0          14m
kubernetes-dashboard   dashboard-metrics-scraper-f7b5dbf7d-rm5z7                 1/1     Running                      0          4m28s
kubernetes-dashboard   kubernetes-dashboard-7447f48f55-94rhg                     1/1     Running                      0          4m28s
monitoring             alertmanager-prometheus-operator-alertmanager-0           2/2     Running                      0          78s
monitoring             metrics-server-7dfc675884-q9qps                           1/1     Running                      0          4m24s
monitoring             prometheus-operator-grafana-9bb769cf-pjk4r                2/2     Running                      0          89s
monitoring             prometheus-operator-kube-state-metrics-79f476bff6-r9m2s   1/1     Running                      0          89s
monitoring             prometheus-operator-operator-58fcb66576-6dwpg             1/1     Running                      0          89s
monitoring             prometheus-operator-prometheus-node-exporter-tllwl        1/1     Running                      0          89s
monitoring             prometheus-prometheus-operator-prometheus-0               3/3     Running                      1          72s

All CLI arguments:

Flag Default value Type Required Use
--cluster string required Name of the EKS cluster
--region string required AWS region where the cluster exists
--profile-source string required Name or URL of the Quickstart profile. For example, app-dev
string required Same as --profile-source
--profile-revision master string optional Git Branch of the Quickstart profile repository
--git-url string required URL
--git-branch master string optional Git branch
--git-user Flux string optional Username to use to commit to the Gitops repo
--git-email string required Email to use to commit to the Gitops repo
--git-private-ssh-key-path string optional Optional path to the private SSH key to use with the gitops repo

Further reading

To learn more about gitops and Flux, check the Flux documentation.

Installing components from a Quickstart profile on a specific directory without pushing

To install the components from a Quickstart profile in a specified folder without committing and pushing to a Gitops repo the generate profile command can be used:

eksctl generate profile --cluster=<cluster-name> --region=<region> --profile-source --profile-path <output_directory>

For example:

Cloning into '/tmp/cluster-21-086715755'...
remote: Enumerating objects: 10, done.
remote: Counting objects: 100% (10/10), done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (10/10), done.
remote: Total 187 (delta 2), reused 8 (delta 0), pack-reused 177
Receiving objects: 100% (187/187), 45.18 KiB | 616.00 KiB/s, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (86/86), done.
Already on 'master'
Your branch is up to date with 'origin/master'.
[ℹ]  cloning repository "":master
Cloning into '/tmp/quickstart-424579534'...
remote: Enumerating objects: 214, done.
remote: Total 214 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0), pack-reused 214
Receiving objects: 100% (214/214), 57.06 KiB | 446.00 KiB/s, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (93/93), done.
Already on 'master'
Your branch is up to date with 'origin/master'.
[ℹ]  processing template files in repository
[ℹ]  writing new manifests to "base/"

$ tree my-gitops-repo/base
$ tree base/
├── amazon-cloudwatch
│   ├── cloudwatch-agent-configmap.yaml
│   ├── cloudwatch-agent-daemonset.yaml
│   ├── cloudwatch-agent-rbac.yaml
│   ├── fluentd-configmap-cluster-info.yaml
│   ├── fluentd-configmap-fluentd-config.yaml
│   ├── fluentd-daemonset.yaml
│   └── fluentd-rbac.yaml
├── demo
│   └── helm-release.yaml
├── kubernetes-dashboard
│   ├── dashboard-metrics-scraper-deployment.yaml
│   ├── dashboard-metrics-scraper-service.yaml
│   ├── kubernetes-dashboard-configmap.yaml
│   ├── kubernetes-dashboard-deployment.yaml
│   ├── kubernetes-dashboard-rbac.yaml
│   ├── kubernetes-dashboard-secrets.yaml
│   └── kubernetes-dashboard-service.yaml
├── kube-system
│   ├── alb-ingress-controller-deployment.yaml
│   ├── alb-ingress-controller-rbac.yaml
│   ├── cluster-autoscaler-deployment.yaml
│   └── cluster-autoscaler-rbac.yaml
├── monitoring
│   ├── metrics-server.yaml
│   └── prometheus-operator.yaml
├── namespaces
│   ├── amazon-cloudwatch.yaml
│   ├── demo.yaml
│   ├── kubernetes-dashboard.yaml
│   └── monitoring.yaml
cd my-gitops-repo/
git add .
git commit -m "Add component templates"
git push origin master

After a few minutes, Flux and Helm should have installed all the components in your cluster.

Creating your own Quick Start profile

A Quick Start profile is a Git repository that contains Kubernetes manifests that can be installed in a cluster using gitops (through Flux).

These manifests, will probably need some information about the cluster they will be installed in, such as the cluster name or the AWS region. That's why they are templated using Go templates.

The variables that can be templated are shown below:

Name Template
cluster name {{ .ClusterName }}
cluster region {{ .Region }}

For example, we could create a config map using these variables:

apiVersion: v1
data: {{ .ClusterName }}
  logs.region: {{ .Region }}
kind: ConfigMap
  name: cluster-info
  namespace: my-namespace

Write this into a file with the extension *.yaml.tmpl and commit it to your Quick Start repository. Files with this extension get processed by eksctl before committing them to the user's gitops repository, while the rest get copied unmodified.

Regarding the folder structure inside the Quick Start repository, we recommend using a folder for each namespace and one file per Kubernetes resource.

├── kube-system
│   ├── ingress-controller-deployment.yaml.tmpl
│   └── ingress-controller-rbac.yaml.tmpl
└── alerting
    ├── alerting-app-deployment.yaml
    ├── alerting-app-service.yaml.tmpl
    ├── monitoring-sidecar-deployment.yaml
    ├── monitoring-sidecar-service.yaml.tmpl
    ├── cluster-info-configmap.yaml.tmpl
    └── alerting-namespace.yaml

Note that some files have the extension *.yaml while others have *.yaml.tmpl. The last ones are the ones that can contain template actions while the former are plain yaml files.

These files can now be committed and pushed to your Quick Start repository, for example

cd repository-name/
git add .
git commit -m "Add component templates"
git push origin master

Now that the templates are in the remote repository, the Quick Start is ready to be used with eksctl enable profile:

eksctl enable profile --cluster team1 --region eu-west-1 --git-url --git-email <username>

In this example we provide as the Quick Start profile and as the gitops repository that is connected to the Flux instance in the cluster named cluster1.

For a full example of a Quick Start profile, check out App Dev.