ArgoCD Image Updater


ArgoCD Image Updater is a tool that works in concert with ArgoCD to update images automatically in your Kubernetes cluster based on a set of rules. Its primary limitation is it requires you use either Helm or Kustomize to deploy your application, as it uses properties of those tools to update the image.

But since Kustomize is so lightweight, it’s actually straightforward to (ab)use it to make ArgoCD Image Updater work for you.


For starters, I run k8s at home. I don’t want to be spending time thinking about updating most of the things I deploy, I just want them to be at the latest and greatest.

Also, for some containers I run that I build myself, I like to just point them at Previously I just used imagePullPolicy: Always and relied on unattended-upgrades rebooting a node to make updates happen. This was…not particularly speedy or robust, though.


Start by installing ArgoCD Image Updater as you’d like in your cluster. Method 1 is straightforwad, requires minimal setup, and works for me(TM).

Now, pick any of your deployed app folders. For this walkthrough, I’ll be using my pfapi deployment. Inside the pfapi folder, create a file, kustomization.yaml like so:

  - deployment.pfapi.yaml
  - ingress.pfapi.yaml
  - sealedsecret.db-creds.yaml
  - service.pfapi.yaml

You want to list out all constituent yaml files for this app, with the exception of namespace and of course the kustomization.yaml file itself.

Now, you’ll need to make some changes to the Argo Application. You can do so in the GUI or, if you’re using the app-of-apps pattern, by adding the following to the Application:

kind: Application
  name: pfapi
  namespace: argocd
  annotations: digest main git
spec: # omitted for brevity, no changes required

At a minimum, the first two annotations must be configured. The first lists any and all images in this app you want Image Updater to check on. The second says to look for the latest digest on the given tag, and use that to enforce updates. This way, tags that are continually pushed to will be updated whenever they change.

The latter two are for the git write-back method, which isn’t mandatory but helps with the GitOps approach to manifests.

Now, commit your changes, push, and sync. Assuming you’re setup like I am, you’ll see a .argocd-source-pfapi.yaml file in the pfapi folder. This is where it stores the image override.

There are other update strategies too – see the docs for more info.

Future work

I intend to automate the setup. It would be fairly straightforward to write a script using yq to do most of the setup.

I’ll also likely do some things with CDK8S to enable setting this up more easily.


There you have it! The Kustomize requirement, while initially off-putting is actually painless.

And now, you have auto-updating apps in your k8s cluster, configured however you like.

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