Environments and namespaces

Every Garden project has one or more environments that are defined in the project level Garden configuration. Teams often define environments such as dev, ci, and prod.

Each environment can be broken down into several "namespaces", and each Garden run operates in a specific namespace. (This is not to be confused with a Kubernetes Namespace resource, although you will often use the same name for your Garden namespace and your Kubernetes Namespace.)

To specify which Garden namespace to use, you can use either of the following:

  • Set a specific namespace using the CLI with the --env flag and prepending the namespace to the environment name using the following format --env <namespace>.<environment>

  • Specify the default namespace in your Garden configuration file, using the defaultNamespace field under the environments specification.

Using namespaces

You can use namespaces in various ways. Some common use cases include

  • Unique namespaces per developer: These are typically long-running and belong to the same environment (e.g. dev).

  • Ephemeral namespaces for each CI run: These are deleted after the run completes.

  • Short-lived preview namespaces for each pull request: These are created when the pull request is opened, updated on every push, and deleted when the pull request is closed.

An opinionated guide on using namespaces

Below is an opinionated guide on configuring environments and namespaces and the corresponding config.

  1. Add any of dev, ci, preview and prod environments to your project.

  2. For namespaces in the dev environment, template in the user’s name.

  3. For namespaces in the ci environment, template in the build number from your CI runner.

  4. For namespaces in the preview environment, template in the PR number.

  5. Use a deterministic namespace for your prod environment.

  6. In the kubernetes provider config, set namespace: ${environment.namespace}. This ensures the Kubernetes namespace corresponds to the Garden namespace.

  7. Define your namespace names as variables so that you can, for example, re-use them in hostnames to ensure each instance of your project has a unique hostname.

The example configuration for this setup would look as follows:

apiVersion: garden.io/v1
kind: Project
name: my-project
defaultEnvironment: dev
id: <cloud-id>
domain: <cloud-domain>

  ci-env-name: my-project-ci-${local.env.BUILD_NUMBER || 0} # <--- Depends on your CI provider
  prev-env-name: my-project-preview-${local.env.PR_NUMBER || 0} # <--- Depends on your CI provider
  dev-env-name: my-project-${local.username}

  - name: ci
    defaultNamespace: ${var.ci-env-name}
      hostname: ${var.ci-env-name}.ci.<my-company>.com # <--- Use this in your service config to ensure unique hostnames per instance
  - name: preview
    defaultNamespace: ${var.prev-env-name}
      hostname: ${var.prev-env-name}.preview.<my-company>.com
  - name: dev
    defaultNamespace: ${var.dev-env-name}
      hostname: ${var.dev-env-name}.dev.<my-company>.com
  - name: prod
    defaultNamespace: my-project
      hostname: app.<my-company>.com

  - name: kubernetes
    namespace: ${environment.namespace} # <--- Ensure the K8s namespace matches the Garden namespace
    defaultHostname: ${var.hostname}
    # ...

This allows each developer to get a unique namespace and a unique hostname for each deploy. Some further notes:

  • The dev-env-name namespace will be something like my-project-janedoe so each developer has a unique namespace per project.

  • The hostname variable can be re-used in the action configuration. When using the container deploy type, you can e.g. set hostname: my-service.${var.hostname} under the spec.ingresses[].hostname field. A similar approach can be used for other action types.

This serves as a good base for naming your hostnames and namespaces, but you can tweak it further to meet your specific needs. For example, at Garden we use a similar scheme for our CI and preview environments, but we use the PR or build number as a further unique identifier.

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