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When we started running our apps in Kubernetes we used an “umbrella” chart, which listed each of the microservices as dependencies in one Helm chart. The “umbrella” chart worked because it allowed for using just a single command to install all the services into an environment. But as more apps got released into k8s and they demanded their own release cycle, the umbrella chart was no longer scalable. So we broke it apart, and each app was managed with it’s own CD pipeline.

Developers now had an easy way to deploy their app into staging/production, but what we didn’t have was somewhere to test the full system. A key aspect of a microservice architecture is to make sure the individual services work in isolation, but it’s also important to make sure the service works in the full system. Providing developers a way to run a multi-service environment on their own machine proved to be complicated.

We started by looking at the some of tools in the Helm ecosystem that manage environments and dependencies, like Helmfile, Helmsman, and Terraform Helm Provider. We wanted something that would allow:

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