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InfoQ Homepage News Komodor's Dashboard Brings Improved Debugging to Helm

Komodor's Dashboard Brings Improved Debugging to Helm

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Komodor has announced the availability of a new open-source dashboard for Helm, the Kubernetes package manager.

Helm is one of the most popular ways to package and deploy Kubernetes applications, already being used by 70% of Kubernetes users when it became a graduate CNCF project in 2020. However, as one of the key benefits of Helm is to abstract away many of the complexities of deploying applications on Kubernetes, debugging and troubleshooting can be difficult with the CLI tool. In response to this, and to fulfil the need for a simple yet holistic tool for managing Helm, Komodor has released an open-source UI (user interface) for Helm - named Helm Dashboard.

Helm Dashboard allows developers to quickly understand the status of Helm releases, with an intuitive interface showing the health of both the releases and the Kubernetes resources created and managed by those Helm charts. The Dashboard provides visibility of common issues such as image version errors, resource limit problems and misconfiguration of secrets - all frequent problems encountered by Helm users which can be hard to debug with the CLI.

 "Helm is super powerful and all of our customers are using it – but it is very hard to understand because it does so many things: templating, packaging, controlling. It is simply a nightmare when things go wrong." - Itiel Shwartz, CTO and co-founder of Komodor

The design of Helm Dashboard provides a comprehensive UI to visualise the intricacies of charts installed in production environments, and with multiple revisions, with all the challenges that brings. Revision history is available in Helm Dashboard, allowing users to get a sense of release trajectory, easily answering questions such as when a release was last rolled out, how long did it last for before being upgraded, and whether there were any problems with recent rollouts.

A focus on being able to see a simple view of what has changed between releases of a Helm chart is also a key differentiator for the Helm Dashboard. The UI provides a diff that changes in real-time when upgrading a Helm chart - so users can see exactly what changes will be applied when the chart is upgraded - before confirming it.

Helm Dashboard also provides integrations - allowing coupled access to external tools useful in the development and deployment of Helm charts, such as security and vulnerability scanners. Tools such as Trivy from Aqua Security or Checkov from Bridgecrew can be integrated directly into the Helm Dashboard.

Helm Dashboard compares favourably to other options such as Kubeapps from VMware (a comparable open-source alternative), and Rancher which brings more enterprise functionality such as user authentication in a well thought-out Web-based interface. GitOps tools such as ArgoCD also provide Helm functionality, but wrapped up in declarative Continuous Delivery package. However, one of the stated aims for Helm Dashboard is to provide an interface that is not attached to a larger commercial product, and hence is packaged simply as a lightweight GUI dashboard.

Helm Dashboard is installable as a Helm plugin, and is available on GitHub now.

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