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Cover image for πŸ”₯Our TOP 13 DEPLOYMENT & TEMPLATING tools for KUBERNETES πŸš€
Philip Miglinci for Glasskube

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TL;DR πŸ”

Feeling a bit lost in the Kubernetes deployment and packaging tool jungle? Don't worry!
We've got your back with a comprehensive cheat sheet. Dive into our curated list, breaking down each tool, its purpose, and a user-friendliness rating to make your Kubernetes journey a breeze.
Say goodbye to overwhelm and hello to clarity with our go-to guide! πŸŒπŸš€

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Glasskube Github

Tool Lizenz GitHub Stars Ease of Use UI Commercial Support Templating Deployment
cdk8s Apache 2.0 3.9k ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ❌ βœ… βœ… ❌
kubectl Apache 2.0 2.6k ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ❌ ❌ ❌ βœ…
Glasskube LGPL.v3 152 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ βœ… βœ… βœ… βœ…
Helm Apache 2.0 25.3k ⭐⭐⭐ ❌ ❌ βœ… βœ…
Kustomize Apache 2.0 10.2k ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ❌ ❌ βœ… βœ…
Flux Apache 2.0 5.5k ⭐⭐⭐ βœ… βœ… ❌ βœ…
Argo CD Apache 2.0 14.9k ⭐⭐⭐⭐ βœ… ❌ ❌ βœ…
Timoni Apache 2.0 981 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ❌ ❌ βœ… ❌
Carvel Apache 2.0 325 ⭐⭐⭐ ❌ ❌ βœ… ❌
Pulumi Apache 2.0 18.4k ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ❌ βœ… βœ… ❌
Terraform BSL 39.8k ⭐ βœ… βœ… βœ… βœ…
Tanka with Jsonnet MIT 2.1k ⭐⭐ ❌ ❌ βœ… ❌
Dhall Apache 2.0 600 ⭐⭐⭐ ❌ ❌ βœ… ❌

cdk8s: Where Kubernetes Meets Familiar Programming Languages

GitHub logo cdk8s-team / cdk8s

Define Kubernetes native apps and abstractions using object-oriented programming

Cloud Development Kit for Kubernetes


View on Construct Hub

cdk8s is an open-source software development framework for defining Kubernetes applications and reusable abstractions using familiar programming languages and rich object-oriented APIs. cdk8s apps synthesize into standard Kubernetes manifests which can be applied to any Kubernetes cluster.

cdk8s is a Cloud Native Computing Foundation Sandbox Project, built with ❀️ at AWS. We encourage you to try it out, leave feedback, and jump in to help!



This project consists of multiple packages, maintained and released via the following repositories:

  • cdk8s - Core library. For historical reasons note that the cdk8s package is maintained in the cdk8s-team/cdk8s-core repository.
  • cdk8s-cli - Command-Line interface.
  • cdk8s-plus - High-Level constructs for Kubernetes core.

The current repository acts as an umbrella repository for cross module concerns, as well as the deployment of…

What it is: Cloud Development Kit for Kubernetes (cdk8s) lets you write Kubernetes Manifests / Helm-charts in an object orientated way.
You can easily extend existing classes, use interfaces and make sure you don't have to repeat yourself.
All your code will get compiled to yaml resources which than can easily deployed to your cluster.

Strengths: Beginner-friendly, object-oriented APIs, integrates with AWS CDK.

Ease of Use: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

kubectl: The Swiss Army Knife for Kubernetes Deployments

GitHub logo kubernetes / kubectl

Issue tracker and mirror of kubectl code


kubectl logo

Build Status GoDoc

The repo is used to track issues for the kubectl cli distributed with It also contains packages intended for use by client programs. E.g. these packages are vendored into for use in the kubectl cli client. That client will eventually move here too.

Contribution Requirements

  • Full unit-test coverage.

  • Go tools compliant (go get, go test, etc.). It needs to be vendorable somewhere else.

  • No dependence on Dependence on other repositories is fine.

  • Code must be usefully commented Not only for developers on the project, but also for external users of these packages.

  • When reviewing PRs, you are encouraged to use Golang's code review comments page.

  • Packages in this repository should aspire to implement sensible, small interfaces and import a limited set of dependencies.

Community, discussion, contribution, and support

See this document for how to reach the maintainers of this…

What it is: Meet the command-line hero! kubectl is Kubernetes' official command-line interface.
It's your go-to tool for applying configurations, managing clusters, and handling everything Kubernetes from the terminal.
Using kubectl edit you can even directly edit and modify resources. (NOT RECOMMENDED)

Strengths: Standard, versatile, direct control over resources.

Ease of Use: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Glasskube: The simple Path to Kubernetes Deployment

GitHub logo glasskube / operator

🧊 Glasskube Apps Operator

GitHub Repo stars Docker Pulls license Docs Artifact Hub

Glasskube Logo

Kubernetes Operator

Open Source Tools on autopilot

Getting started Β»

Explore our website Β»

GitHub Docker Hub Artifact Hub LinkedIn

⭐️ Why Glasskube?

Turn on autopilot and deploy and manage Open Source Tools fully automated on Kubernetes. Our Open Source Glasskube Operator is the simplest and fastest way to manage all your favorite Open Source Tools and the related infrastructure components like databases, caches, and keep them up to date without manual hassle.

✨ Features

  • πŸ‘Œ Easy installation with little to no configuration
  • βœ… Automatic setup of databases and caches
  • πŸ”„ Automate and schedule version updates and patches
  • πŸ—“οΈ Scheduled database backups
  • βš™οΈ Interface for simple SMTP configuration

πŸ—„οΈ Table Of Contents

πŸš€ Quick Start

The Glasskube operator is simply deployed via Helm. To install the Open Source Tool simply apply the Custom…

What it is: Glasskube is your window into transparent Kubernetes deployments.
It pre-packages popular open-source apps and components and abstracts them via custom resources.
Glasskube utilizes a Kubernetes operator to install components in the correct namespaces and directly make sure apps and components are probably connected and configured.

Strengths: User-friendly, transparent deployment, emphasis on simplicity.

Ease of Use: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Helm: Kubernetes Package Manager

GitHub logo helm / helm

The Kubernetes Package Manager


Build Status Go Report Card GoDoc CII Best Practices

Helm is a tool for managing Charts. Charts are packages of pre-configured Kubernetes resources.

Use Helm to:

  • Find and use popular software packaged as Helm Charts to run in Kubernetes
  • Share your own applications as Helm Charts
  • Create reproducible builds of your Kubernetes applications
  • Intelligently manage your Kubernetes manifest files
  • Manage releases of Helm packages

Helm in a Handbasket

Helm is a tool that streamlines installing and managing Kubernetes applications Think of it like apt/yum/homebrew for Kubernetes.

  • Helm renders your templates and communicates with the Kubernetes API
  • Helm runs on your laptop, CI/CD, or wherever you want it to run.
  • Charts are Helm packages that contain at least two things
    • A description of the package (Chart.yaml)
    • One or more templates, which contain Kubernetes manifest files
  • Charts can be stored on disk, or fetched from remote chart repositories (like Debian or RedHat packages)


Binary downloads of the…

What it is: Helm is a common package manager for Kubernetes.
It simplifies complex app deployments by packaging them into "charts" that can be shared and deployed.

Strengths: Package management, community charts, versioning.

Ease of Use: ⭐⭐⭐

Kustomize: Tailoring Kubernetes Configurations Like a Pro

GitHub logo kubernetes-sigs / kustomize

Customization of kubernetes YAML configurations


kustomize lets you customize raw, template-free YAML files for multiple purposes, leaving the original YAML untouched and usable as is.

kustomize targets kubernetes; it understands and can patch kubernetes style API objects. It's like make, in that what it does is declared in a file and it's like sed, in that it emits edited text.

This tool is sponsored by sig-cli (KEP).

Build Status Go Report Card

kubectl integration

To find the kustomize version embedded in recent versions of kubectl, run kubectl version:

> kubectl version --short --client
Client Version: v1.26.0
Kustomize Version: v4.5.7
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The kustomize build flow at v2.0.3 was added to kubectl v1.14. The kustomize flow in kubectl remained frozen at v2.0.3 until kubectl v1.21 which updated it to v4.0.5. It will be updated on a regular basis going forward, and such updates will be reflected in the Kubernetes release…

What it is: Kustomize is part of kubectl and helps you to not duplicate your Kubernetes manifests.
You can reuse the same resources in multiple kustomizations and apply patches to modify only specific values.
You can also create reusable components to better organize your kustomize projects.

Strengths: Config customization, simplicity, integrates with GitOps.

Ease of Use: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Flux: GitOps Magic for Continuous Delivery

GitHub logo fluxcd / flux2

Open and extensible continuous delivery solution for Kubernetes. Powered by GitOps Toolkit.

Flux version 2

release CII Best Practices OpenSSF Scorecard FOSSA Status Artifact HUB SLSA 3

Flux is a tool for keeping Kubernetes clusters in sync with sources of configuration (like Git repositories and OCI artifacts) and automating updates to configuration when there is new code to deploy.

Flux version 2 ("v2") is built from the ground up to use Kubernetes' API extension system, and to integrate with Prometheus and other core components of the Kubernetes ecosystem. In version 2, Flux supports multi-tenancy and support for syncing an arbitrary number of Git repositories, among other long-requested features.

Flux v2 is constructed with the GitOps Toolkit, a set of composable APIs and specialized tools for building Continuous Delivery on top of Kubernetes.

Flux is a Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) project, used in production by various organisations and cloud providers.

Quickstart and documentation

To get started check out this guide on how to bootstrap Flux on Kubernetes and deploy a…

What it is: Flux is a complete CD solution for Kubernetes.
It syncs your Kubernetes cluster with Manifests stored in a git repository.
It also has controllers for kustomizations and helm repositories which interact with the Kubernetes api by packaging helm in helm-controller.
With weaveworks there is also an UI and commercial support available.

Strengths: GitOps, automated syncing, continuous delivery.

Ease of Use: ⭐⭐⭐

Argo CD: The Maestro of GitOps

GitHub logo argoproj / argo-cd

Declarative Continuous Deployment for Kubernetes

Releases: Release Version Artifact HUB SLSA 3

Code: Integration tests codecov CII Best Practices OpenSSF Scorecard FOSSA Status

Social: Twitter Follow Slack LinkedIn

Argo CD - Declarative Continuous Delivery for Kubernetes

What is Argo CD?

Argo CD is a declarative, GitOps continuous delivery tool for Kubernetes.

Argo CD UI

Argo CD Demo

Why Argo CD?

  1. Application definitions, configurations, and environments should be declarative and version controlled.
  2. Application deployment and lifecycle management should be automated, auditable, and easy to understand.

Who uses Argo CD?

Official Argo CD user list


To learn more about Argo CD go to the complete documentation Check live demo at


Contribution, Discussion and Support

You can reach the Argo CD community and developers via the following channels:

Participation in the Argo CD project is governed by the CNCF Code of Conduct

Blogs and Presentations

  1. Awesome-Argo: A Curated List of…

What it is: Argo CD is an alternative to flux with a stronger focus on a user interface to sync your manifests to your cluster.
It also follows the declarative approach where manifests should be stored in a git repository.

Strengths: GitOps, continuous delivery, declarative configuration.

Ease of Use: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Timoni: Simplicity in Kubernetes Deployment

GitHub logo stefanprodan / timoni

Timoni is a package manager for Kubernetes, powered by CUE and inspired by Helm.


Sponsor this release platforms build license SLSA 3

Timoni is a package manager for Kubernetes powered by CUE and inspired by Helm.

The Timoni project strives to improve the UX of authoring Kubernetes configs Instead of mingling Go templates with YAML like Helm or layering YAML on top of each-other like Kustomize, Timoni relies on cuelang's type safety, code generation and data validation features to offer a better experience of creating, packaging and delivering apps to Kubernetes.


Note that Timoni in under active development and is still in its infancy. The APIs and command-line interface may change in a backwards incompatible manner.

Get Started

To get started with Timoni please visit the documentation website at


  • Module - App definition containing Kubernetes CUE templates and configuration schema, distributed as OCI artifacts.
  • Instance - App instantiation referencing the module and workloads deployed on a Kubernetes cluster.
  • Bundle - App composition bundling multiple modules and…

What it is: Timoni is an alternative to helm that.
It uses the nomenclature "bundle" to package applications. It also aims to manage the life cycle of applications and its CRDs.
It uses the CUE data validation language.

Strengths: User-friendly, streamlined deployment, minimal learning curve.

Ease of Use: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Carvel: The Swiss Army Knife for Kubernetes Configuration

GitHub logo carvel-dev / carvel

Carvel provides a set of reliable, single-purpose, composable tools that aid in your application building, configuration, and deployment to Kubernetes. This repo contains information regarding the Carvel open-source community.


OpenSSF Best Practices


Carvel provides a set of reliable, single-purpose, composable tools that aid in your application building, configuration, and deployment to Kubernetes.

This is a list of repos associated with the Carvel project.

  • ytt - Template and overlay Kubernetes configuration via YAML structures, not text documents
  • kapp - Install, upgrade, and delete multiple Kubernetes resources as one "application"
  • kbld - Build or reference container images in Kubernetes configuration in an immutable way
  • imgpkg - Bundle and relocate application configuration (with images) via Docker registries
  • kapp-controller - Capture application deployment workflow in App CRD. Reliable GitOps experience powered by kapp.
  • vendir - Declaratively state what files should be in a directory.
  • secretgen-controller - Provides CRDs to specify what secrets need to be on a cluster (generated or not).





See what's planned in our backlog.



What it is: Carvel is your all-in-one toolkit for managing Kubernetes configurations. It offers a suite of tools, including ytt for templating and kapp for deploying applications.
Think of it as a Swiss Army Knife for fine-tuning your Kubernetes setup.

Strengths: Comprehensive toolkit, powerful templating, configuration management.

Ease of Use: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Pulumi: Kubernetes Deployments with a Dash of Code

GitHub logo pulumi / pulumi

Pulumi - Infrastructure as Code in any programming language. Build infrastructure intuitively on any cloud using familiar languages πŸš€

Slack GitHub Discussions NPM version Python version NuGet version GoDoc License Gitpod ready-to-code

Pulumi's Infrastructure as Code SDK is the easiest way to build and deploy infrastructure, of any architecture and on any cloud, using programming languages that you already know and love. Code and ship infrastructure faster with your favorite languages and tools, and embed IaC anywhere with Automation API.

Simply write code in your favorite language and Pulumi automatically provisions and manages your resources on AWS Azure Google Cloud Platform Kubernetes, and 120+ providers using an infrastructure-as-code approach. Skip the YAML, and use standard language features like loops, functions, classes, and package management that you already know and love.

For example, create three web servers:

const aws = require("@pulumi/aws");
const sg = new aws.ec2.SecurityGroup("web-sg", {
    ingress: [{ protocol: "tcp", fromPort: 80, toPort: 80, cidrBlocks: [""
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What it is: Pulumi brings a unique twist to Kubernetes deployments by allowing you to define infrastructure as code using your favorite programming languages.
It can we used as an alternative to cdk8s.

Strengths: Infrastructure as code, multi-language support, easy to integrate.

Ease of Use: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Terraform: Infrastructure as Code for Kubernetes

GitHub logo hashicorp / terraform

Terraform enables you to safely and predictably create, change, and improve infrastructure. It is a source-available tool that codifies APIs into declarative configuration files that can be shared amongst team members, treated as code, edited, reviewed, and versioned.



Terraform is a tool for building, changing, and versioning infrastructure safely and efficiently. Terraform can manage existing and popular service providers as well as custom in-house solutions.

The key features of Terraform are:

  • Infrastructure as Code: Infrastructure is described using a high-level configuration syntax. This allows a blueprint of your datacenter to be versioned and treated as you would any other code. Additionally, infrastructure can be shared and re-used.

  • Execution Plans: Terraform has a "planning" step where it generates an execution plan. The execution plan shows what Terraform will do when you call apply. This lets you avoid any surprises when Terraform manipulates infrastructure.

  • Resource Graph: Terraform builds a graph of all your resources, and parallelizes the creation and modification of any non-dependent resources. Because of this, Terraform builds…

What it is: Terraform is the seasoned veteran in the infrastructure-as-code realm.
It extends its prowess to Kubernetes, providing a declarative way to manage infrastructure.
If you're comfortable with HashiCorp's templating language hcl it can be valid alternative to using kustomize.

Strengths: Infrastructure as code, robust ecosystem, widely adopted.

Ease of Use: ⭐

Grafana Tanka with Jsonnet: Templating Magic for Kubernetes Configurations

GitHub logo grafana / tanka

Flexible, reusable and concise configuration for Kubernetes

Grafana Tanka Logo

Website Β· Installation Β· Tutorial

Grafana Tanka

The clean, concise and super flexible alternative to YAML for your Kubernetes cluster

  • πŸ’₯ Clean: The Jsonnet language expresses your apps more obviously than YAML ever did
  • πŸ“š Reusable: Build libraries, import them anytime and even share them on GitHub!
  • πŸ“Œ Concise: Using the Kubernetes library and abstraction, you will never see boilerplate again!
  • 🎯 Confidence: Stop guessing and use tk diff to see what exactly will happen
  • πŸ”­ Helm: Vendor in, modify, and export Helm charts reproducibly
  • πŸš€ Production ready: Tanka deploys Grafana Cloud and many more production setups

Let's kill some YAML togetherΒ Β β–Ά

πŸš€ Getting started

To get started, install Tanka first, and then follow the tutorial. This should get you on track quickly.

πŸ‘₯ Community

There are several places to connect with the Tanka community:

What it is: Grafana Tanka is another alternative to kustomize using the Jsonnet templating to create more powerful and extensible libraries of Kubernetes manifests

Strengths: Templating, reliability, dynamic configurations.

Ease of Use: ⭐⭐

Dhall: Functional Purity in Kubernetes Configuration

GitHub logo dhall-lang / dhall-kubernetes

Typecheck, template and modularize your Kubernetes definitions with Dhall


dhall-kubernetes logo

dhall-kubernetes contains Dhall bindings to Kubernetes so you can generate Kubernetes objects definitions from Dhall expressions This will let you easily typecheck, template and modularize your Kubernetes definitions.

Why do I need this

Once you build a slightly non-trivial Kubernetes setup, with many objects floating around, you'll encounter several issues:

  1. Writing the definitions in YAML is really verbose, and the actually important things don't stand out that much
  2. Ok I have a bunch of objects that'll need to be configured together, how do I share data?
  3. I'd like to reuse an object for different environments, but I cannot make it parametric..
  4. In general, I'd really love to reuse parts of some definitions in other definitions
  5. Oh no, I typoed a key and I had to wait until I pushed to the cluster to get an error back :(

The natural tendency is to reach for a templating language…

What it is: Dhall brings functional programming goodness to Kubernetes configuration as an alternative to kustomize and tanka with jsonnet.
It offers a declarative language that's both human-readable and type-safe.

Strengths: Functional programming, type safety, human-readable syntax.

Ease of Use: ⭐⭐⭐


In conclusion, the Kubernetes deployment landscape is undoubtedly vast, but armed with our comprehensive cheat sheet, you're now equipped to navigate it like a seasoned explorer.
From the simplicity of cdk8s to the coding magic of Pulumi, the Swiss Army finesse of Carvel, the templating sorcery of Jsonnet, and the functional purity of Dhall, each tool offers a unique journey in the realm of Kubernetes.
With user-friendliness ratings as your compass, embark on your deployment adventure with confidence.
Say goodbye to overwhelm and hello to clarity – you're now ready to conquer the Kubernetes universe! πŸš€πŸŒβœ¨

Glasskube Github

Top comments (1)

bcouetil profile image
Benoit COUETIL πŸ’«

Feeling a bit lost in the Kubernetes deployment and packaging tool jungle?

Yes, and it dit not help me quite much πŸ˜… I thought Helm was not on the easy side, and Kustomize proudly say they are template-free, as opposed to your βœ…...

You seem to have tested them all, that is impressive. Among these 13, which one do you use in which scenario ?