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Helm Classic v1 is no longer supported. See kubernetes/helm instead to get Kubernetes Helm.

Helm Classic - A Kubernetes Package Manager

Helm and Deployment Manager have recently joined forces to make deploying and managing software on Kubernetes as simple as possible. The combined effort now lives in the Kubernetes GitHub organization at kubernetes/helm.

For more information about the architecture of kubernetes/helm read the architecture documentation.


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Helm Classic bootstraps your Kubernetes cluster with Charts that provide ready-to-use workloads like:

  • A Redis cluster
  • A Postgres database
  • An HAProxy edge load balancer

A Chart is a unit of Kubernetes manifests that reflect best practices as determined by the Helm Classic community. Helm Classic's architecture is heavily influenced by Homebrew.

Installing Helm Classic

From a Linux or Mac OS X client:

curl -s | bash


Grab a prebuilt binary from the latest release:

Once you've downloaded the appropriate binary for your OS and architecture, ensure that it's executable:

chmod +x helmc

And then put it on your PATH.

Migration Notes

If you are a user of the original Helm tool (versions prior to v0.7.0), take note that Helm Classic is a re-branding of that tool-- new name, same great taste!

Helm Classic is fully compatible with previously existing Helm charts!

Anyone migrating to Helm Classic from an older version should complete the following steps to fully replace their existing tool with Helm Classic. Doing so will clear the path for eventual installation of the new and improved Helm (kubernetes/helm).

First, you may optionally define a custom home directory for use by Helm Classic. If opting for this, the instruction should be added to your shell's profile.

$ HELMC_HOME=/custom/path

Next, we migrate the contents from its old location to its new location (because the default location has changed).

$ mv $(helm home) $(helmc home)

Finally, remove the old version:

$ rm $(which helm)

You may now use the new binary, helmc, just as you previously used helm. Soon, the helm name will be taken over by the new and improved Helm (kubernetes/helm) and you will be able to make use of helmc in parallel with helm for as long as you have that need.


Helm Classic requires an appropriately wired kubectl client to speak with a running Kubernetes cluster.

Using Helm Classic

To quickly install a redis cluster:

$ helmc update
---> Cloning into '$HOME/.helmc/cache/charts'...
---> Updating cache from
---> Done
$ helmc search redis
---> 	redis-cluster (redis-cluster 0.0.5) - Highly available Redis cluster with multiple sentinels and standbys.
---> 	redis-standalone (redis-standalone 0.0.1) - Standalone Redis Master
$ helmc info redis-cluster
Name: redis-cluster
Version: 0.0.5
Description: Highly available Redis cluster with multiple sentinels and standbys.
Details: This package provides a highly available Redis cluster with multiple sentinels and standbys. Note the `redis-master` pod is used for bootstrapping only and can be deleted once the cluster is up and running.
$ helmc install redis-cluster
---> No chart named "redis-cluster" in your workspace. Fetching now.
---> Fetched chart into workspace $HOME/.helmc/workspace/charts/redis-cluster
---> Running `kubectl create -f` ...
---> Done

To fetch, modify and install a chart out of your local workspace:

$ helmc update
---> Updating cache from
---> Done
$ helmc fetch redis-standalone redis
---> Fetched chart into workspace $HOME/.helmc/workspace/charts/redis
---> Done
$ helmc edit redis
$ helmc install redis
---> Running `kubectl create -f` ...
---> Done

Building the Helm Classic CLI

  • Make sure you have a kubectl client installed and configured to speak with a running Kubernetes cluster.
  • Helm Classic utilizes a containerized build and test process. Making use of the containerized development environment only requires make and a local Docker daemon or docker-machine.
git clone

cd helm-classic

make bootstrap # installs all of helm classic's dependencies

make build # generates bin/helmc binary

./bin/helmc # prints usage

# optional

make install # installs helmc system-wide

helmc # prints usage



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