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Keel - automated Kubernetes deployments for the rest of us

Keel is a tool for automating Kubernetes deployment updates. Keel is stateless, robust and lightweight.

Keel provides several key features:

  • Kubernetes and Helm providers - Keel has direct integrations with Kubernetes and Helm.

  • No CLI/API - tired of f***ctl for everything? Keel doesn't have one. Gets job done through labels, annotations, charts.

  • Semver policies - specify update policy for each deployment/Helm release individually.

  • Automatic Google Container Registry configuration - Keel automatically sets up topic and subscriptions for your deployment images by periodically scanning your environment.

  • Native, DockerHub, Quay and Azure container registry webhooks support - once webhook is received impacted deployments will be identified and updated.

  • Polling - when webhooks and pubsub aren't available - Keel can still be useful by checking Docker Registry for new tags (if current tag is semver) or same tag SHA digest change (ie: latest).

  • Notifications - out of the box Keel has Slack, Hipchat, Mattermost and standard webhook notifications, more info here


Support Keel's development by:

Warp speed quick start

To achieve warp speed, we will be using service and Minikube.

Start Minikube:

minikube start

Install customized Keel (feel free to change credentials, namespace and version tag) straight from your kubectl.

# To override default latest semver tag, add &tag=x.x.x query argument to the URL below
kubectl apply -f
# and get Keel IP:
minikube service --namespace default keel --url

We are overriding default latest semver tag with latest since it has the new UI. If you want to use latest semver, just remove the &tag=latest part from the URL.

Creating remotely accessible Keel instance

Keel can work together with webhook relay tunnels. To deploy Keel with Webhook Relay sidecar you will need to get a token, then pre-create a tunnel and:

kubectl apply -f

Now, you can access Keel remotely.

Helm quick start


You need to add this Chart repo to Helm:

helm repo add keel 
helm repo update

Install through Helm (with Helm provider enabled by default):

helm upgrade --install keel --namespace=kube-system keel/keel

If you work mostly with regular Kubernetes manifests, you can install Keel without Helm provider support:

helm upgrade --install keel --namespace=keel keel/keel --set helmProvider.enabled="false" 

To install for Helm v3, set helmProvider.version="v3" (default is "v2"):

helm install keel keel/keel --set helmProvider.version="v3" 

That's it, see Configuration section now.

Quick Start

A step-by-step guide to install Keel on your Kubernetes cluster is viewable on the Keel website:


Once Keel is deployed, you only need to specify update policy on your deployment file or Helm chart:

apiVersion: extensions/v1beta1
kind: Deployment
  name: wd
  namespace: default
    name: "wd"
  annotations: minor # <-- policy name according to poll # <-- actively query registry, otherwise defaults to webhooks
      name: wd
        app: wd        
        - image: karolisr/webhook-demo:0.0.8
          imagePullPolicy: Always            
          name: wd
          command: ["/bin/webhook-demo"]
            - containerPort: 8090

No additional configuration is required. Enabling continuous delivery for your workloads has never been this easy!


Documentation is viewable on the Keel Website:


Before starting to work on some big or medium features - raise an issue here so we can coordinate our efforts.

We use pull requests, so:

  1. Fork this repository
  2. Create a branch on your local copy with a sensible name
  3. Push to your fork and open a pull request

Developing Keel

If you wish to work on Keel itself, you will need Go 1.12+ installed. Make sure you put Keel into correct Gopath and go build (dependency management is done through dep).

To test Keel while developing:

  1. Launch a Kubernetes cluster like Minikube or Docker for Mac with Kubernetes.
  2. Change config to use it: kubectl config use-context docker-for-desktop
  3. Build Keel from cmd/keel directory.
  4. Start Keel with: keel --no-incluster. This will use Kubeconfig from your home.

Running unit tests

Get a test parser (makes output nice):

go get

To run unit tests:

make test

Running e2e tests


  • configured kubectl + kubeconfig
  • a running cluster (test suite will create testing namespaces and delete them after tests)
  • Go environment (will compile Keel before running)

Once prerequisites are ready:

make e2e
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