Self Hosting Temporal: To Kubernetes or Not To Kubernetes?



Open Source Temporal users often ask about the optimal deployment strategy — the right answer varies depending on Kubernetes expertise, tooling preferences, and intended cluster size. We hosted a discussion between Temporal's Kubernetes experts: Derek Wilson, Ryland Goldstein, Dominik Tornow, and Tihomir Surdilovic.

If you are attending Kubecon in Los Angeles, Temporal will be hosting a happy hour on Oct 13 and 14th! Sign up to our mailing list to get details!

Video: To Kubernetes or not to Kubernetes

Show notes

  • Baseline Context
    • #1 goal of Helm is for packaging apps
    • People use helm charts to "grab and go"
    • We use helm charts to template
    • K8s has resources, no notion of application
  • Is Kubernetes a good platform for deploying Temporal?
    • Yes for Temporal core service roles - History, Matching, Frontend, Worker
    • No for Cassandra and ElasticSearch
    • "any general purpose container orchestration solution that allows cross container communication eg Kubernetes”
  • Is Helm a good tool for deploying Temporal on Kubernetes?
    • Pros: Popular, Lots of PRs
    • Cons: Hard to make changes, Go templates not a great fit for YAML
      • Doesn't fit Immutable Infra concept
    • Helm is fine if you generate the manifests and incorporate them into your production deployment pipeline for only the temporal server components
    • Use helm-template, dont use helm to manage deployments
  • Alternatives to Helm
    • Rancher
    • Kustomize: good for merging yml, not programmatic infra
    • Programming langs → configuration
      • Cue - types are values, values form lattices
      • Jsonnet - freeform, declarative, modeled after Google config lang
        • use OPA for validating generated manifests
    • Ytt
    • Kapp
    • 1 yaml file - kubectl apply
  • Alternatives to Kubernetes

Helm Charts

As a result of this discussion, Dominik is leading an effort to clarify our provided Helm charts so that they are easy to extend, rather than catering to every possible need. Watch that repo for updates and join our Slack to get involved!


If you'd like to test run Temporal with Kubernetes locally, see Tiho's recent video on running Temporal with Minikube:

Video: Run Temporal locally on Docker and Minikube