On October 15th, 2015, the project now known as Helm was born. Only one year later, the Helm community joined the Kubernetes organization as Helm 2 was fast approaching. In June 2018, the Helm community joined the CNCF as an incubating project.
Fast forward to today, and Helm 3 is nearing its first alpha release. Helm 1 began as an open source project created by Deis. We were a small startup company acquired by Microsoft in the spring of 2017.
Our other open source project – also called Deis – had a tool called deisctlthat was used for (among other things) installing and operating the Deis platform on a Fleet cluster. Fleet was one of the first “container orchestrator” platforms to exist at the time. In mid-2015, we decided to shift gears, and the foundation of Deis (now re-named “Deis Workflow”) moved from Fleet to Kubernetes.
One of the first things we had to rewrite was the installation tool, deisctl. We used this tool to install and manage Deis Workflow on a Fleet cluster. Modeled after package managers like Homebrew, apt, and yum, the focus of Helm 1 was to make it easy for users to package and install their applications on Kubernetes.
We officially announced Helm in 2015 at the inaugural KubeCon in San Francisco. Our first attempt at Helm worked, but had its fair share of limitations. It took a set of Kubernetes manifests – sprinkled with generators as YAML front-matter – and loaded the generated results into Kubernetes.