CI/CD in Kubernetes with ArgoCD: A Practical Guide


The intersection of Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD), Kubernetes, and ArgoCD are a powerful synergy that can streamline development and deployment processes. The inherent ability of Kubernetes to manage, scale, and operate application containers is substantially enhanced by CI/CD workflows, leading to a dynamic and highly efficient software development lifecycle.

DevOps teams are constantly exploring tools that can enhance their development and deployment workflows. One such tool, ArgoCD, has gained significant traction for its ability to create fully automated Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) within Kubernetes clusters. In this article, we’ll explore ArgoCD, its unique GitOps approach, and how you can use it to build CI/CD pipelines in Kubernetes.

Why CI/CD in Kubernetes?

There are several reasons why CI/CD practices offer even bigger benefits in a Kubernetes environment.

Cloud-Native Workflows

A cloud-native approach allows organizations to build and run scalable applications in dynamic environments such as public, private, and hybrid clouds.

Kubernetes offers a platform that simplifies the orchestration of containers, which are at the heart of a cloud-native approach. It provides a high level of abstraction that enables easy deployment, scaling, and management of applications, with constructs like pods and services. With Kubernetes, developers can automate deployment and delivery processes at the platform level, shifting the focus from managing infrastructure and tooling to developing valuable new features.

Moreover, the cloud-native workflows in Kubernetes foster a DevOps culture, where developers and operations teams work together rather than in silos. This collaboration leads to shared accountability, faster problem-solving, and ultimately, a more efficient CI/CD pipeline. Thus, Kubernetes not only simplifies the technical aspects of the CI/CD process but also fosters a collaborative culture.


Self-healing is another key feature of Kubernetes that enhances the CI/CD process. In a traditional environment, if an application or a component crashes, it requires manual intervention to bring it back up. By contrast, Kubernetes can detect failures and automatically recover the application, reducing or eliminating downtime.

Kubernetes achieves this self-healing capability through its control loops, which continuously monitor the state of the application and the environment. If it detects any discrepancy, it takes corrective actions to bring the state back to the desired one. This corrective action could be restarting a crashed application, rescheduling an application to a different node, or even scaling an application to handle increased load.

This self-healing capability reduces the need for operations teams to monitor and respond to incidents, allowing them to focus more on the delivery of new features.

Application Scalability

Kubernetes is a container orchestration platform that allows for easy scaling of applications. Containers are lightweight and start quickly, which makes it easier than ever to scale out applications.

CI/CD pipelines in Kubernetes can automatically scale applications based on the load or other predefined rules. This means applications can handle increased loads during peak times and scale down when not in use, saving resources and reducing costs.

Moreover, Kubernetes provides a declarative approach to orchestration, which means that the desired state of the application is described, and Kubernetes takes care of ensuring that the current state matches the desired state. This eliminates the need for manual intervention, making the scaling process more efficient and reliable.

Isolation with Namespaces

Kubernetes provides a feature called namespaces, which provides a level of isolation within the Kubernetes environment. This isolation is particularly useful in a CI/CD context, where different teams may be working on different features or services.

Namespaces in Kubernetes allow teams to work in isolated environments, reducing the chances of conflicts and interference. Each team can have its own namespace, where they can deploy, test, and manage their applications independently. This independence allows teams to work more efficiently and reduces the chances of conflicts and errors.

What is ArgoCD?

ArgoCD is a declarative, GitOps continuous delivery tool for Kubernetes. It follows the GitOps paradigm, which means that it uses Git as a 'single source of truth' for declarative infrastructure and applications. With ArgoCD, your desired application state is described within a Git repository, and discrepancies between the actual and desired state are automatically corrected.

ArgoCD provides a number of advantages for Kubernetes deployments. It allows for fast and easy rollbacks, as every change is versioned. It also provides a clear history of who did what and when, which can be invaluable for debugging and auditing purposes. Plus, with ArgoCD's web UI, you can visualize the state of your applications in real-time.

One of the key benefits of using ArgoCD in a Kubernetes environment is its ability to continuously monitor your application's state. This ensures that your application remains in sync with the desired state defined in your Git repository. If anything changes unexpectedly, ArgoCD will automatically correct the discrepancy.

Setting up CI/CD Pipeline in Kubernetes with ArgoCD

Let’s see how to set up a continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline in Kubernetes using ArgoCD. This process will allow you to automate the deployment of your applications, improve your deployment frequency, and reduce the rate of deployment failures.

Prerequisites for Setting up ArgoCD in Kubernetes

Before we start setting up ArgoCD in Kubernetes, there are a few prerequisites you need to fulfill:

  • A working Kubernetes cluster: You can set up a Kubernetes cluster on a cloud provider like Google Cloud, AWS, or Azure, or you can set it up locally using tools like Minikube or KIND.
  • Install ArgoCD: You can install ArgoCD on your Kubernetes cluster using a simple Helm chart or by using the ArgoCD CLI.
  • A Git repository: You need a Git repository where your application's code and Kubernetes configuration files will be stored. This is where ArgoCD will pull your desired state from.
  • Basic understanding of Kubernetes and GitOps: It's crucial to have a basic understanding of Kubernetes concepts like pods, services, and deployments, and GitOps principles.

Creating a CI/CD Pipeline with ArgoCD

Now that we have the prerequisites out of the way, let's start setting up our CI/CD pipeline.
Our application in ArgoCD represents a folder or a repository in Git that contains Kubernetes manifests. We need to provide ArgoCD with the repository's URL, the path to the manifests, and the cluster's details. Once this is done, ArgoCD will pull the desired state from the repository and start synchronizing it with the Kubernetes cluster.
Next, we set up our CI/CD pipeline. This involves creating a pipeline configuration file, which outlines the steps that the pipeline will take when a change is pushed to the Git repository. These steps typically include building the application, running tests, and deploying the application to the Kubernetes cluster.

Deploying a Sample Application Using ArgoCD

Finally, let's deploy a sample application using ArgoCD. You can use this sample application provided in the ArgoCD documentation.
Once we have our application set up in ArgoCD, we can trigger the deployment process. We do this by pushing changes to our Git repository. When ArgoCD detects these changes, it starts synchronizing the state of our Kubernetes cluster with the desired state specified in the Git repository.
During the deployment process, we can monitor the status of our application through the ArgoCD dashboard. Here, we can see the status of our application's components, like pods, services, and deployments. We can also view logs, events, and other details.
Post-deployment, ArgoCD will continuously monitor the Git repository for any changes. If a change is detected, ArgoCD will automatically synchronize the state of the Kubernetes cluster with the desired state from the Git repository. This ensures that our application is always running in the desired state, leading to improved reliability and consistency.


The intersection of Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD), Kubernetes, and ArgoCD are a powerful synergy that can streamline development and deployment processes. The inherent ability of Kubernetes to manage, scale, and operate application containers is substantially enhanced by CI/CD workflows, leading to a dynamic and highly efficient software development lifecycle.

ArgoCD, with its robust features and GitOps approach, provides an effective mechanism for handling Kubernetes deployments, while ensuring synchronization between the actual and the desired state of applications. This improves reliability and consistency in deployments while improving the developer experience. We hope you will find this useful as you take your first steps to fully automated CI/CD in Kubernetes, GitOps style.

User Comments

1 comment
Barbara Howard's picture

I also appreciated the mention of how Kubernetes fosters a DevOps culture. The idea is to promote collaboration between developers and operations teams, leading to shared responsibility and faster problem resolution, consistent with the principles of DevOps. Recognizing that Kubernetes also contributes to a more efficient CI/CD process and collaborative culture is an important point.

February 3, 2024 - 4:56am

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