Helm OCI support in JFrog Artifactory

Helm and Artifactory logos in a cloud

If you’re building apps to run on Kubernetes, chances are you’re using Helm. If you fall into that category, we have good news for you: Helm users will now benefit from JFrog Artifactory’s support of Helm OCI registries in JFrog Artifactory.

JFrog’s expanded Helm OCI support

Since the release of Helm v3.8.0, the Helm client has been wrapping Charts with OCI by default. This is primarily to help address performance issues with large Helm repositories, which used to require users to download a large index.yaml of the whole repository just to get one Chart. By wrapping your Helm Chart in OCI, Helm repositories can now use OCI APIs instead, including the OCI index/tagging structure, which is much easier and more efficient.

Artifactory, which has supported Helm with dedicated repositories for many years, will now allow you to choose which flavor of Helm repo you want to create: good old Helm (which we refer to as “legacy Helm”) or Helm OCI. You’ll also get set-me-up instructions tailored to both options.

Regardless of which Helm repository type you leverage, Artifactory’s unified package search experience will show both Helm and Helm OCI results in queries, while the artifact search will allow you to segment your search to each repository type (Helm & Helm OCI).

In addition, account admins can control the UX flow. Artifactory will default to offer Helm OCI when creating new repositories, but can be switched to show the legacy Helm option first.

Alternatives to storing charts in Helm repositories

At this point you might be asking yourself, “Couldn’t I just upload Helm OCI to my existing OCI repositories?” The answer is: yes, you could, but you’d miss out on the Helm client set-me-up instructions and dedicated icons that help you visually identify the contents of the repository. The artifacts will also be identified in Artifactory as “OCI” and not “Helm OCI” in the artifact tree view, which is less clearly organized and searchable.

Along those lines, you could technically upload any OCI artifact into the Helm OCI repo. The issue with that scenario is that it would be under the Helm OCI repository, making the context less clear for other users searching for artifacts. For that reason, we recommend against doing this.

Learn more

For more on Helm OCI support in Artifactory, be sure to check out the Helm OCI documentation. Not an Artifactory user, but want to try out Helm OCI repositories? Sign up for a free trial.