Choosing the Right Architecture for Argo CD

FoxuTech
2 min readDec 19, 2023

Argo CD is a popular GitOps tool for managing Kubernetes applications. While it appears simple to use, scaling GitOps practices effectively depends on the chosen architecture. This article explores three common architectures for implementing Argo CD:

1. Single Instance:

Advantages:

  • Single view for deployment activity across all clusters.
  • Single control plane, simplifying installation and maintenance.
  • Single server for easy API/CLI integration.

Disadvantages:

  • Scaling requires tuning of individual components.
  • Single point of failure for deployments.
  • Admin credentials for all clusters in one place.
  • Requires a separate “management” cluster.
  • Significant network traffic between Argo CD and clusters.

This architecture is popular for its simplicity and single view of applications. However, it has limitations regarding scalability, security, and network traffic.

Best for: Small environments with limited clusters and applications.

2. Instance Per Cluster:

Advantages:

  • Distributes load per cluster.
  • No direct external access is required.
  • Eliminates Argo CD traffic leaving the cluster.
  • An outage in one cluster won’t affect other clusters.
  • Credentials are scoped per cluster.

Disadvantages:

  • Requires maintaining multiple instances and duplicating configuration.
  • At a particular scale, each instance could still require tuning.
  • API/CLI integrations need to specify which instance.
  • Negative developer experience

This architecture improves security and reduces network traffic but requires more maintenance and has a more complex developer experience.

Best for: Environments with many clusters per environment.

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