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Argo™ CD (preview)

For Elastisys Managed Services Customers

You can order Managed Argo™ CD by filing a service ticket.

This is a preview feature. For more information, please read ToS 9.1 Preview Features.


You cannot ask Argo CD to create a Namespace. This also means that you cannot template the Namespace in ApplicationSets.

Why? See ADR-0042

Argo CD Deployment Model
Argo CD on Compliant Kubernetes Deployment Model
This help you build a mental model of how to levarage Argo CD for deploying your application.

This page will help you succeed in connecting to Argo CD application which meets your security and compliance requirements.

Getting Access

Your administrator will set up the authentication inside Compliant Kubernetes, which will give you access to ArgoCD UI.

Follow the Go-Live Checklist

You should be all set. Before going into production, don't forget to go through the go-live checklist.

CK8S Argo CD Release Notes

Check out the release notes for the Argo CD setup that runs in Compliant Kubernetes environments!

Secret Management

Secret values should never be stored in plain-text in code repositories. The following sections will describe two supported approaches on how Application Developers can do secret management with Elastisys Managed Argo CD.

With Helm Secrets

Argo CD can be configured to decrypt files encrypted with sops using Helm Secrets. To be able to use Helm-secrets with Argo CD, you will need to contact your Platform Administrator requesting that you want to use this feature and for which OIDC group, users or ServiceAccounts (otherwise the Application Developer group used for accessing the cluster is assumed). Once your Platform Administrator has approved your request, you should be able to create and manage a Kubernetes Secret resource in the argocd-system namespace as instructed below.

The following steps will show how to get started with encrypting files using sops and gpg, storing the encrypted files in a Helm chart, and lastly deploying the Helm chart with Argo CD.

  1. Generate a new GPG key-pair (make sure not to add a passphrase as otherwise Argo CD will not be able to use the key) and then export the private key. The following example will create a GPG key and export the private key to a file named private.asc:

    gpg --batch --rfc4880 --passphrase '' --quick-generate-key "" default default
    fpr=$(gpg --with-colons --list-keys "" | awk -F: '$1 == "fpr" {print $10; exit}')
    gpg --output "private.asc" --armor --export-secret-key $fpr
  2. For Argo CD to be able to use this key for decrypting sops encrypted values files in your Helm charts, you will need to create a Kubernetes Secret in the argocd-system namespace named helm-secrets-private-keys. This secret will then be mounted and read by the Argo CD repo server. Create the Secret using the private key file created in the previous step:

    kubectl -n argocd-system create secret generic helm-secrets-private-keys --from-file=key.asc=$PRIVATE_KEY_FILE --dry-run=client -oyaml | \
        kubectl label -f- -oyaml --dry-run=client --local | \
        kubectl create -f-

    Deploy the Secret:

    kubectl create -f helm-secrets-private-keys.yaml


    Once your Platform Administrator has enabled Helm-secrets with Argo CD, the Argo CD repo server pod will not be able to initialize if this secret does not exist. Check pods in the argocd-system namespace after creating the secret to confirm that the secret got mounted properly by the repo server:

    $ kubectl get pods -n argocd-system -l
    NAME                                  READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
    argocd-repo-server-77fd58b498-kjm95   1/1     Running   0          3m45s
  3. Create a .sops.yaml file in the Helm chart in which you want to use Helm Secrets. Add your GPG public key to this file. You can get the public key with:

    gpg --list-key ""

    The .sops.yaml file should look something like this:

    - pgp: <public-gpg-key>
  4. Create a values file in your Helm chart repository and put values that should be encrypted into this file:

    touch secrets.yaml

    These values can then be referenced in templates as any other Helm values.

  5. Encrypt the values file using sops (as long as there is a .sops.yaml file in the same folder containing your public GPG key you do not have to specify the GPG key when running the following command):

    sops --encrypt --in-place secrets.yaml

    To test using the now encrypted secrets.yaml file together with the Helm chart, install the Helm Secrets plugin, and then run the following from the root folder of the Helm chart to template the Helm chart:

    helm template . --values secrets://secrets.yaml
  6. The file secrets.yaml can now safely be stored in a code repository as long as it is encrypted.


    To edit values in the encrypted values file, you can use sops which will open the file in clear text in a configured editor:

    sops secrets.yaml

    There is also a VSCode plugin which can simplify editing sops encrypted files directly in the VSCode editor.


    Add a pre-commit hook to ensure to not push files containing sensitive data that are not encrypted with sops.

  7. In Argo CD, when you create your Application, add the secret values file (secrets.yaml) as follow:


    Here, secrets.yaml is the relative path and name of the file containing encrypted values.

With SealedSecrets

The following steps assumes SealedSecrets is installed in the cluster. For installing SealedSecrets in a Compliant Kubernetes cluster, refer to the self-managed guide. You will need to contact your Platform Administrator requesting that you want to use SealedSecrets together with Argo CD.

  1. Create a SealedSecret, the following steps will create a SealedSecret for the namespace in the current Kubernetes context:

    export SEALED_SECRETS_CONTROLLER_NAMESPACE=sealed-secrets # set this to the namespace in which the controller is running in
    export SECRET_VALUE=<secret-data> # this will be a value that should be encrypted/sealed
    export KEY=foo # the key used for referencing SECRET_VALUE in the secret
    kubectl create secret generic mysecret --dry-run=client --from-literal=$KEY=$SECRET_VALUE -o yaml | \
        kubeseal --format yaml > mysealedsecret.yaml


    With SealedSecrets it is possible to set a scope of a secret. By default this scope is set to strict in which the SealedSecret controller uses the name and namespace of the secret as attributes during encryption, hence, the SealedSecret needs to be created with the same values for these attributes if the controller is to be able to decrypt the SealedSecret. It is possible to change the scope with the --scope flag for kubeseal, refer to the official documentation for SealedSecrets for possible scopes.

  2. The generated SealedSecret manifest file mysealedsecret.yaml will contain the encrypted $SECRET_VALUE and is safe to store on, for example, GitHub. Push this manifest file to the repository containing the rest of your application manifests.

  3. Deploy the application containing the SealedSecret with Argo CD as any other application.

Can I use HashiCorp Vault for secret management?

Currently, Elastisys Managed Argo CD does not support using HashiCorp's Vault for secret management in Argo CD, and there is no plan to support it, here are some of the reasoning behind this decision:

Further Reading