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GitOps: ArgoCD vs FluxCD

Unnati Mishra

Unnati Mishra

Getting Started with GitOps

In the fast-paced world of software development, organizations are constantly seeking ways to streamline processes and improve efficiency through automation. The shift from waterfall models to hyper-agile methodologies, coupled with the adoption of microservices architecture, has led to much faster software releases. GitOps has emerged as a powerful approach to enable this rapid deployment cycle, implementing a control-loop pattern often seen in Kubernetes.

GitOps offers a more consistent and reliable way to handle infrastructure and deployment. In this blog, we'll explore what GitOps is, why it's gaining popularity among DevOps teams, and take a closer look at popular GitOps tools like Argo CD and Flux CD.

What is GitOps?

GitOps, a combination of 'Git' and 'Operations', is an approach to continuous deployment for cloud-native applications. It uses Git as the single source of truth for declarative infrastructure and applications. This means storing and managing all configuration files that describe how our application should be deployed and run in Git repositories.

The core principle of GitOps is treating everything - from application code to infrastructure - as code that can be version-controlled and managed using Git. When changes are needed, instead of manually executing commands or scripts, we make changes to our Git repository. A controller then detects these changes and applies them to our infrastructure.

Benefits of GitOps

  • Consistency and Reliability: With GitOps, the entire system configuration is stored in version control, providing a clear, auditable record of what should be deployed.

  • Faster Recovery and Easier Rollbacks: In case of issues, rolling back to a previous state is as simple as reverting to a previous commit in the Git history.

  • Security: Git's central point of control allows for strict access controls and enforced code reviews before changes are applied.

  • Improved Developer Experience: Developers can use familiar Git workflows to manage infrastructure, bridging the gap between development and operations.

  • Visibility and Traceability: All changes are recorded in Git, providing a clear record of who changed what and when.

  • Increased Automation: Pushing changes to Git can automatically trigger deployments, reducing manual work and speeding up processes.

  • Environment Consistency: GitOps makes it easier to maintain consistency between different environments (development, staging, production).

  • Increased Productivity: DORA's research suggests teams can ship 30-100 times more changes per day, increasing overall development output by 2-3 times.

  • Availability: With all configuration data in Git, organizations can easily deploy the same Kubernetes platform across different environments, leading to better availability.

Argo CD vs Flux CD

When implementing GitOps for Kubernetes, two popular tools stand out: Argo CD and Flux CD. Both are excellent choices, but they have some differences. Here's a comparison of their features:

FeatureArgo CDFlux CD
UIRich web-based UICapacitor GUI dashboard
Helm supportNativeVia Helm Operator
Kustomize supportNativeNative
Sync MechanismAutomatic syncController-based sync
Rollback capabilitiesYesYes
Health statusYesRelies on Kubernetes status
Image UpdaterAdd-onBuilt-in
Advanced Deployment StrategiesIntegrated with Argo rolloutsSupported via Flagger

Comparison between ArgoCD and FluxCD

In the next section, we will have a look at a quick demo of Argo CD and Flux CD.

Argo CD

In this quick demo of Argo CD we will go through the step-by-step process of Argo CD installation on kubernetes cluster. We will use Argo CD to deploy a sample guestbook application.


Kubernetes cluster

Kubectl installed and configured.

Configuration of the git repository

Argo CD Installation

To install Argo CD, we need to have a Kubernetes cluster and kubectl installed and configured. You can check out the guide to install kubectl here.

Create a namespace for Argo CD

kubectl create namespace argocd

Install Argo CD

kubectl apply -n argocd -f

Access the Argo CD api server

Port-forward the Argo CD server service

kubectl port-forward svc/argocd-server -n argocd 8080:443

Get the initial password of the admin user to authenticate

kubectl -n argocd get secret argocd-initial-admin-secret -o jsonpath="{.data.password}" | base64 -d

Use this password to log into the Argo CD UI using username admin at the forwarded port on the localhost, in this example, it is http://localhost:8080

Argo CD UI
Argo CD UI

Deploy a sample application - guestbook

To deploy an app, we need to create an Application object. The spec will have information such as the source of the Kubernetes manifests to deploy the application, destination Kubernetes cluster, namespace, and sync policy. You can also provide more image updater specs via annotations. In this example, we are not using an image updater.

apiVersion: kind: Application metadata: name: guestbook namespace: argocd spec: project: default source: repoURL: targetRevision: HEAD path: guestbook destination: server: https://kubernetes.default.svc namespace: guestbook syncPolicy: automated: prune: true selfHeal: true syncOptions: - CreateNamespace=true

Create the application

kubectl apply -f application.yaml
Argo CD UI
Argo CD UI

After applying the Argo CD application, the Argo CD controller will automatically monitor and apply the changes in the cluster. You can monitor this from the UI or

kubectl get apps -n argocd

Flux CD

In this demo of Flux CD we will understand its installation. We will use flux CD to deploy the ‘fleet-infa’ repository.


  • Kubernetes Cluster

  • GitHub Personal Access Token. If you need help generating GitHub token check out this guide.


Bootstrap Flux CD on a Kubernetes Cluster.

Deploy a sample application using Flux.

Customize the application configuration through Kustomize patches.

Install the Flux CLI

The Flux command-line interface (CLI) is used to bootstrap and interact with Flux CD

curl -s | sudo bash

Export Your Credentials

Export your GitHub personal access token and username.

export GITHUB_TOKEN=<your-token> export GITHUB_USER=<your-username>

Check Your Kubernetes Cluster

Ensure your cluster is ready for Flux by running:

flux check --pre

Flux Installation

To bootstrap using a GitHub repository, run:

flux bootstrap github \ --owner=$GITHUB_USER \ --repository=fleet-infra \ --branch=main \ --path=./clusters/my-cluster \ --personal

Clone the Git Repository

Clone the fleet-infra repository to your local machine:

git clone$GITHUB_USER/fleet-infra cd fleet-infra

Add podinfo Repository to Flux

Create a git repository manifest pointing to the podinfo repository’s master branch:

flux create source git podinfo \ --url= \ --branch=master \ --interval=1m \ --export > ./clusters/my-cluster/podinfo-source.yaml

Commit and push the podinfo-source.yaml file to the fleet-infra repository:

git add -A && git commit -m "Add podinfo GitRepository" git push

Deploy podinfo Application

Create a Kustomization manifest to deploy the podinfo application:

flux create kustomization podinfo \ --target-namespace=default \ --source=podinfo \ --path="./kustomize" \ --prune=true \ --wait=true \ --interval=30m \ --retry-interval=2m \ --health-check-timeout=3m \ --export > ./clusters/my-cluster/podinfo-kustomization.yaml

Commit and push the podinfo-kustomization.yaml file to the repository:

git add -A && git commit -m "Add podinfo Kustomization" git push

Watch Flux Sync the Application

Use the flux get command to watch the podinfo app:

flux get kustomizations --watch

Verify the Deployment

Check if podinfo has been deployed on your cluster:

kubectl -n default get deployments,services

GitOps best practices

  • Git Workflows: Separate application repositories from git workflow repositories. Also, avoid using long-lived branches from different environments.

  • Simplify your Kubernetes files: Use tools like Kustomize and Helm to make your Kubernetes files simpler and easier to manage. Use both together to avoid repeating yourself.

  • Handle secrets carefully: Do not use your passwords or secrets directly in your Git files even if they are encrypted. Instead, use tools that can fetch secrets when needed.

  • Separate Build and Deployment Processes: Separate your build process from your deployment process. Let your CI system build and test your app and then let GitOps handle the build and put it in a server.

Ephemeral Environments using GitOps

Ephemeral environments, also known as preview environments, are short-lived environments that allow developers to test and preview changes in a production-like environment before merging them into the main branch.

These environments are typically created automatically when a pull request is opened and destroyed when the pull request is closed.

In the context of Kubernetes, tools like Argo CD and Flux CD can automate the creation and management of ephemeral environments, making it easier to implement this practice in a GitOps workflow. For more information on how to implement preview environments on Kubernetes with Argo CD, check out this guide by Piotr Minkowski.


GitOps is a game-changer for managing infrastructure and applications. It boosts consistency, reliability, collaboration, and workflow. Tools like Argo CD and Flux CD exemplify how GitOps streamlines deployment and enhances efficiency. Our comparison shows the strengths and specific use cases of both tools, highlighting how they make GitOps implementation seamless and effective.

Ready to enhance your DevOps workflow? Our expert team can help you implement GitOps with the right tools tailored to your needs. Contact us today to streamline your infrastructure and improve deployment efficiency.

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