Seeking Insights: Implementing GitOps on DigitalOcean Kubernetes Clusters

Can anyone share their experience implementing GitOps workflows on DigitalOcean Kubernetes clusters? What tools and best practices did you find most effective in managing, application deployments and infrastructure configuration using GitOps principles?

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Bobby Iliev
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February 24, 2024


Implementing GitOps workflows on DigitalOcean Kubernetes clusters can significantly simplify your deployment processes, ensuring a more manageable, transparent, and scalable infrastructure. Here’s a focused approach using one of the most popular tools in the GitOps space: Argo CD. This tool automates the deployment of applications to Kubernetes, maintaining the desired state specified in a Git repository.


  • A DigitalOcean Kubernetes (DOKS) cluster
  • kubectl configured to communicate with your DOKS cluster
  • A Git repository with your Kubernetes manifests

Step 1: Install Argo CD

First, install Argo CD on your DOKS cluster. This can be done via a single command using kubectl:

kubectl create namespace argocd
kubectl apply -n argocd -f

This command creates a new namespace for Argo CD and applies the Argo CD installation manifests.

Step 2: Access Argo CD UI

To access the Argo CD UI, you’ll need to change the Argo CD server service from ClusterIP to LoadBalancer:

kubectl patch svc argocd-server -n argocd -p '{"spec": {"type": "LoadBalancer"}}'

Wait a few moments, then retrieve the external IP:

kubectl get svc argocd-server -n argocd

Step 3: Log in to Argo CD

The initial password for the admin account is auto-generated and stored as a pod name. Retrieve it with:

kubectl get pods -n argocd -l -o name | cut -d'/' -f 2

Use the Argo CD CLI or UI to log in. If using the CLI:

argocd login <ARGOCD_SERVER_IP>

Replace <ARGOCD_SERVER_IP> with the external IP from earlier. Use admin as the username and the retrieved pod name as the password.

Step 4: Create an Application in Argo CD

Now, let’s create an application in Argo CD that points to your Git repository. This can be done via the Argo CD CLI or UI. Here’s how you might do it via the CLI:

argocd app create myapp \
  --repo \
  --path manifests \
  --dest-server https://kubernetes.default.svc \
  --dest-namespace default

Replace the repository URL (--repo) with your Git repository URL and --path with the directory within your repository where your Kubernetes manifests are stored.

Step 5: Sync Your Application

Finally, synchronize your application to match the desired state specified in your Git repository:

argocd app sync myapp

Best Practices

  • Repository Structure: Keep your application manifests, Helm charts, or Kustomize configurations in a dedicated repository or a distinct directory within an existing repository. This separation of concerns helps in managing changes and versioning.

  • Branching Strategy: Utilize a branching strategy (e.g., GitFlow or Trunk Based Development) that fits your team’s workflow. Typically, having a separate branch for each environment (dev, staging, production) can help manage deployments across different stages.

  • CI/CD Integration: Integrate Argo CD with your CI pipeline to automatically trigger deployments upon changes to your manifests. This could involve updating image tags in your deployment manifests after a successful build.

  • Monitoring and Alerts: Set up monitoring and alerts for your Argo CD instances and managed applications. Monitoring tools like Prometheus and Grafana can be integrated with Argo CD to track the health and performance of your deployments.



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